Manchester United were one of the best sides in the Premier League last term. Though they finished second in the league, they were well behind eventual winners Manchester City. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were able to do the league double over their rivals.
They played some entertaining football in the 2020-21 season and were unfortunate to have lost the Europa League final in a shootout. But that meant Solskjaer remained trophyless in his tenure as Manchester United manager.
Time for Solskjaer to be ruthless with this Manchester United squad
Despite strengthening over the summer, Manchester United seem to have regressed this season. There’s none of the bravery or commitment that we saw last season. They have struggled to stamp their authority on games and have been shockingly ordinary in defence.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains in his job for now but if things continue to deteriorate, he will be replaced soon. One thing is for certain and it is that something has got to give. They need to get back to winning ways and Solskjaer has to make some harsh decisions.
#5 David de Gea
This might be a divisive call, but David de Gea is not beyond criticism. He cannot escape it because he made a few really good saves in the first half against Manchester City and largely kept United in the game. Yes, De Gea was Manchester United’s best player in the match but he still makes grave errors at crucial times.
De Gea has made two errors leading to goals in the last two matches alone. His poor decision-making led to Atalanta‘s first goal in the Champions League game which ended in a 2-2 draw.
De Gea was also reluctant to come off his line as Zapata scored his side’s second goal of the game. By sticking to the goalline, De Gea made it easy for the Colombian international to put the ball past him.
Although De Gea made a raft of top saves against City, he was guilty of conceding a soft goal. It was not purely his fault but his involvement in it cannot be overlooked. Luke Shaw let the ball run across himself when he shouldn’t have done so but Bernardo Silva had no business scoring from such an acute angle.
De Gea should have easily palmed it away but he didn’t even get a good contact on the ball and it hit his body and it awkwardly fell into the netting. The Spaniard’s lack of command over his area and inability to sweep behind his underperforming defenders means that Manchester United have to look at an alternative.
We’d have been all for De Gea keeping his place had he been clear of the competition. But in Dean Henderson, Manchester United have a great alternative and it’s time he got his shot this season.
#4 Scott McTominay
The double midfield pivot of Scott McTominay and Fred is Manchester United’s best bet in midfield. But they are so awful that it makes one wonder when the levels at Old Trafford drop so bad they don’t have players who can control games in the centre of the park.
McTominay and Fred were appallingly poor against Manchester City. The duo made one successful tackle in the entire game against City at Old Trafford. The pair were dribbled past a combined eight times. While Fred was at least committing to tackles, the Scotsman was largely invisible.
He offered no threat going forward and no security in defence. Manchester United legend Roy Keane delivered a scathing verdict on the pair after the game and it’s difficult to disagree with him.
“They just toyed with United. So poor. Men vs. boys. Foden said it’s a tough place to come – it’s not. Ask Everton. Ask Aston Villa. It’s just so poor. McTominay, Fred – these players aren’t good enough for Manchester United.”