Anthony Martial Nets Hat Trick for Man United in Vital Win vs. Sheffield United

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It was Anthony Martial's day for Manchester United.

The French striker scored the first hat trick of his career–and the first Man United hat trick since Robin van Persie's in 2013–in a key 3-0 victory over Sheffield United at an empty Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Martial scored in the seventh, 44th and 74th minutes, bringing him even with Marcus Rashford for the team lead on the season. It was Rashford that set Martial up for his first, whipping a ball to the near post, where Martial turned it home.

The two nearly combined for another minutes later, with goalkeeper David de Gea springing Rashford down the left with a pinpoint long pass. Rashford timed his throughball to Martial perfectly, but instead of having a go at goal, Martial tried to return it to Rashford with a square ball, and the English striker couldn't get a clean strike on it.

Nevertheless, Martial padded the lead just before halftime, firing home off Aaron Wan-Bissaka's cross from the left.

It was Rashford that served up Martial's third, with a deft pass to split the defense before Martial lobbed the goalkeeper to complete the hat trick.

The win is a key one for United, which still holds high hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League and is now unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions. It put the club provisionally two points away from Chelsea in fourth place, with the Blues having a date with Manchester City on Thursday. It also allowed the club to keep pace with Wolves, with both level on points in fifth, while putting four points of separation between United and Spurs and putting Sheffield United five points behind the Red Devils.