The Red Devils drew with Southampton on Saturday, an obvious improvement from their loss to Crystal Palace the previous week.
An improvement, yes, but, only because it wasn’t a loss. It wasn’t a loss because United were just lucky.
This particular result means that they have only won two of the last 13 matches they have played across all competitions. What a stunningly awful statistic, considering that this is Manchester United, one of the most premier soccer clubs in the world.
Why are the Red Devils in a seemingly overwhelming tailspin?
From what I can tell from at least their first four matches this season is that they keep repeating the same mistakes.
Put in a better way, the same issues keep re-emerging in every game, and Solksjaer seems unable to identify and fix them.
Which problems are these you might be wondering?
The same problems they demonstrated during their loss to the Eagles the previous week.
- Ineffective Attack
The lack of depth and experience in this team is quite apparent, and more so, when it comes to the attack.
Lukaku’s and Sanchez’ departure has left big shoes to be filled, and Rashford just isn’t cut out for the job at the moment.
Just like in the game against Crystal Palace, on Saturday we saw a Rashford who was unsure of himself in front of goal, who made the wrong passes and squandered a couple of scoring opportunities.
In the last 3 games, after his brace against Chelsea in the opening match of the season, the 21-year-old has been unable to score despite having 12 shots at goal.
Daniel James, one of the Devils’ most recent signings, has been a sigh of relief at the front- having brought his goal tally to three goals in four games after the Saturday match. However, he’s still young, and his form is bound to dip and peak throughout the season. When his performance lulls, will the likes of Rashford and Martial be ready to pick up the slack?
Jesse Lingard seems to be out of Solksjaer’s attacking equation. He was left out of the starting lineup against Southampton, with Solksjaer opting to put Pereira in his place. Lingard’s shockingly horrific performance against Crystal Palace is definitely what has put him in the docks, and we might not know for how long.
Luckily though, he has something to look forward to as Gareth Southgate has picked him to be a member of the England squad that will face Bulgaria and Kosovo this December in the Euro 2020 qualification rounds.
As if Manchester United does not have enough problems at the moment, Martial is facing some injury problems, and we do not know if he’ll be able to play in the next few matches.
Sad…just sad! I really like Martial.
- Pogba Problems
At the beginning of the season, the only problem anyone really had with Pogba was that he missed a penalty.
But, the frustrations that Red Devils fans had with the central midfielder last season have reared their ugly heads once again in the last two matches.
Against Crystal Palace, his error and later slip-ups by the defense, allowed van Aanholt to score the late winner.
In the game against Southampton, his performance alternated between flashes of glory and silly mistakes that stopped Man-U from winning the game fair and square.
He was uncomfortable with the pace of the game from the beginning, hence, his constant dispossession of the ball throughout the game. In some instances, even in his own half, can you believe it?!
We also saw a variety of over-shot and misfired passes, amongst other glaring mistakes.
What in the world was going on with Pogba on Saturday? A total and complete lack of concentration from what we could all gather.
But, in the midst of that chaos, he was still integral to his team’s most compelling attacks and managed to create four chances for the Devils, more than any other man in his team.
Weird….how can you be your team’s worst player, and with the same breath, the best?
It’s such a shame because he is supposed to be the experienced one there, bringing in the depth and the consistency that his team so badly needs right now.
However, this kind of inconsistency can dearly cost Solksjaer’s team down the line.
He needs to move already, seeing as he’s not feeling the Manchester United vibe anymore. Yes, the transfer rumors are still buzzing!
Oh, yeah, and now, he’s injured…the rain is beating Manchester United a bit too hard these days.
- Defensive woes
This is a theme that has become consistent in every game that the Devils play.
It has become apparent that Victor Lindelof’s weak spot is aerial duels. He lost the ball to Schlupp during the Palace match, and Ayew took advantage of this to score the opener for the Eagles.
Against Southampton, he was out-jumped by Jannik Vestergaard, who then scored the equalizer for The Saints, and got them back into the game.
What does this tell us? It should tell us that:
a) Solksjaer needs another solution to aerial duels in his backline
b) Bissaka and Maguire need to be constantly aware of this weakness, and offer more support to Lindelof. A total of £130 million, and they cannot be bothered to help offer more cover for the central-back. What a waste! What a phenomenally gigantic waste!
United’s game is against a strong Leicester that is currently third in the standings. The Foxes have won 2 and drawn an equal number in their last four matches this season. Not a single loss!
It’s highly doubtful that United will cause Leicester’s first loss of the season. We’ll just have to wait and see.