Sunday, August 9, 2020

Manchester United are still in a mess

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 25 Apr 2019

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Manchester United suffered a 2-0 home defeat against arch-rivals Manchester City in the big Manchester derby on Wednesday night at Old Trafford. The game seemed to split opinion amongst United fans.

Most wanted to see a reaction after the terrible display Everton on Sunday. However, there was also a sense of not wanting to help bitter-rivals Liverpool in the title race. There seemed no mixed feelings amongst the players. They produced an improved display from Sunday’s but still lost the game.

The painful truth is that they are light years behind their rivals. The Red Devils were simply just not good enough to compete with City on the pitch, even after they lost midfield lynch pin Fernandinho through injury in the second half.

The new bounce hid the reality of United’s situation

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s success as interim United boss seemed to paper over the cracks for a few months. In fact, it is quite extraordinary that the men from Manchester are still just three points off the Champions League spots after a terrible start to the campaign.

However, it seems main the reason for that was the new boss bounce that Solskjaer’s appointment provided the team and fans. Since the Norwegian’s permanent appointment, results have slipped and shown him what a massive job he has on his hands returning the Red Devils to glory.

Massive changes in personnel needed this summer

There are very few players that United fans would want to keep from the current group of players. Even the normally reliable David De Gea has struggled for form this season, making uncharacteristic mistakes.

Paul Pogba’s spike of form during Solskjaer’s early days as United boss now seem a distant memory. The French midfielder looks like his head is somewhere else. Maybe the rumours of a move to Real Madrid have got to him. Whatever it is, he is about as much a use as a chocolate teapot to United at the minute.

Arguably United’s top performer against City, that wasn’t hard, was England striker Marcus Rashford. The youngster kept going and looked like one of the few threats to the City defence. However, like so many games of late, it just did not work out for him. Fatigue may be a factor in his recent unconvincing form.

Then there is big money striker Romelu Lukaku, who came off the bench in the second half of the derby. His biggest impact was firing an effort well off target from long-range. He moved to United to develop. Instead, he has regressed from the striker who terrorised poor defences in an Everton shirt.

There are many other players who are simply not good enough or off form at the club. It would take too long to name them all. However, I would challenge anybody to name a player who is truly top class in the current United team.

United need to sign the right players this summer

The strange thing about the current season is that United are still in the race for the Champions League spots this season. The Red Devils are odds of 6/1 to finish in the top-four, with Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal shorter odds.

United’s recent form suggests that they are highly unlikely to finish in the Champions League spots this season. Failure to make the top-four will affect the sort of players the Red Devils can attract in the summer transfer window.

With such a disjointed squad of players, Solskjaer and those in charge of the club’s transfers need to bring in the right players. The club can obviously not just jettison the whole squad, as tempting as it may be.

Therefore, the club needs to target players who will strengthen in vital positions. If they can do that then it will be a step in the right direction. However, the team is still in a mess and only time will tell if Solskjaer has what it takes to turn things around at Old Trafford.

Is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the man to take Manchester United in the right direction?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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