Manchester United face Juventus in the Champions League knowing their chances of victory are slim. Jose Mourinho’s claim that games against Valencia and Young Boys are more important speaks volumes about where the club are at.
But light, finally, is beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel. In Martial, they have a golden boy ready to become a golden man.
Back in the summer, his days at Manchester United looked numbered. He wanted out – and Mourinho wanted him sold. A parting of the ways, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich coveting him, looked in the offing.
But United’s decision to keep him has paid off. Spectacularly.
It would not be an understatement to say that, on his day, Martial ranks as one of the trickiest wingers in the game.
He has the pace of a sprinter, the shooting of a marksman and the dribbling of Giggs.
So, should he emulate the Wales international tonight, United may be able to pull something off.
In 2003, United travelled to Juventus knowing they would face a huge test of their mettle.
Just weeks previously they had fought their way to a 2-1 win. West Brown and Ruud van Nistelrooy produced the goods on that occasion.
But the match in Turin belonged to Giggs.
He went into the match being linked, somewhat ambitiously, with a United exit. Inter Milan were deemed the early frontrunners for his signature.
Some felt the Welshman’s best days were behind him. And that was the motivation he needed.
Giggs scored twice that night, running experienced defenders such as Lilian Thuram, Gianluca Zambrotta and Paulo Montero ragged.
It was a performance that proved key. Giggs never looked back, going on to win six more Premier League titles. He also helped them scoop the Champions League title in 2008.
So tonight is Martial’s time to shine.
He is still a work in progress but it is a project United are treating with excitement. His potential, at just 22, is frightening.
The Red Devils can do the impossible tonight with him in their ranks.
Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci may be straight from the Harvard school of defending but even they might find him impossible to stop.
Juventus thought they had Giggs on a leash and look what he did. Should Martial do the same, United’s season will take a very different, and very positive, twist.