Sunday, May 19, 2019

Tottenham game is the first real test of Solskjaer’s United reign

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 11 Jan 2019

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The whole atmosphere has changed at Manchester United since the interim appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as boss. The Norwegian is a club icon and his return to the club has seen the Red Devils fortunes improve immensely. However, on Sunday, Solskjaer’s United take a trip to face high flying Tottenham at Wembley. The game is a massive test of the new bosses revived team and his managerial acumen.

Winning record could be in doubt

A trip to Tottenham is a tough game for most teams in the league. At one stage this season, the team from north London looked to be title challengers. Some still believe that they are still outsiders for the title.

However, Manchester United will be heading to the capital in good spirits, having recorded five straight wins in all competitions. United have also been prolific since Solskjaer’s appointment scoring at least two goals in all of the Norwegian’s games in charge.

Both of those records are in danger of going this weekend at Wembley. The game will tell us a lot about the visitors and what effect Solskjaer’s really had on the team from Manchester.

Solskjaer auditioning for the job on a full-time basis

A positive result at Wembley will have people believing that the Norwegian can be the Red Devils boss beyond the summer when his short loan from Molde finishes.

On his appointment, it was thought that he is just keeping the seat warm, probably for a big name boss to come in and take the job in the summer. He was a steady hand on the rudder if you will.

I am not sure many people thought that he would win his first five games, although they were not the most difficult matches. His management style seems to be getting the best out an undoubtedly talented group of players.

Whether it is just the fact Jose Mourinho has left the club or Solskjaer’s appointment that has improved the player’s demeanour only time will tell. However, at the minute, the team seems to be buying into the Norwegians ideas and playing with a lot of freedom.

The likes of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba are suddenly looking like the players many thought they might become at United. Under Mourinho, United played laboured football that negated the attacking abilities of the Red Devils best players.

It seems that Solskjaer is auditioning for the job on a permanent basis, and it is a case of so far so good from the Norwegian.

Tottenham favourites to beat United

Sunday’s game will be the first that the Red Devils have gone into under Solskjaer as underdogs, with United odds of 11/4 to beat Tottenham.

An away win at Wembley is not an unrealistic result, as Wolves recently won at Tottenham, so Spurs are not unbeatable on temporary home soil. However, the Red Devils will need all their energy and improved attacking verve to pick up a result at the national team stadium.

A defeat at Tottenham would highly unlikely to be fatal to Solskjaer’s chances of becoming full-time United boss. A win would just add to the belief that he can do the good on a permanent basis.

For too long, United have struggled for results and played woeful football in the process. Solskjaer has reinvigorated the players and everybody connected with the club. However, the Tottenham game will tell him, his players and the fans just how much work there is ahead to return to the top-flight top-four, never mind challenge for the title in the near future.

Can Manchester United cause an upset against Tottenham on Sunday?


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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