Last season, Manchester United was one of the best teams in the Premier League. Despite finishing second in the league, they were far behind eventual champions Manchester City. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were able to complete the league double over their opponents.
In the 2020-21 season, they played some entertaining football and were unlucky to lose the Europa League final in a shootout. However, this meant that Solskjaer remained trophy-less during his time as Manchester United manager.
It’s time for Solskjaer to be brutal with this Manchester United team.
Manchester United appears to have regressed this season, despite having strengthened over the summer. There is no bravery or commitment like we saw last season. They’ve struggled to establish their dominance in games and have been shockingly average on defense.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still in charge for the time being, but if things continue to deteriorate, he will be replaced soon. One thing is certain, and that is that something must give. They must regain their winning ways, and Solskjaer must make some difficult decisions.
Number 5: David de Gea
This may be a contentious decision, but David de Gea is not without criticism. He can’t get away from it because he made a few really good saves in the first half against Manchester City, keeping United in the game. Yes, De Gea was Manchester United’s best player in the game, but he still makes crucial errors.
In the last two games, De Gea has made two errors that have resulted in goals. His poor decision-making led to Atalanta’s first goal in the 2-2 draw in the Champions League.
De Gea was also hesitant to come off his line as Zapata scored his team’s second goal. De Gea made it easy for the Colombian international to put the ball past him by staying close to the goal line.
Despite making a slew of outstanding saves against City, De Gea was responsible for a soft goal. Although it was not entirely his fault, his role in it cannot be overlooked. Luke Shaw should not have let the ball run across his body, but Bernardo Silva had no business scoring from such a tight angle.
De Gea should have easily palmed it away, but he didn’t even make good contact with the ball, which hit his body and fell awkwardly into the netting. Manchester United must consider an alternative due to the Spaniard’s lack of command over his area and inability to sweep behind his underperforming defenders.
We’d have backed De Gea to keep his spot if he hadn’t been up against any competition. Manchester United, on the other hand, has a fantastic alternative in Dean Henderson, and it’s about time he got his chance this season.
Number 4: McTominay
Manchester United’s best bet in midfield is the duo of Scott McTominay and Fred. But they’re so bad that it makes one wonder when the standards at Old Trafford fall so low that they don’t have players who can control games in the middle of the park.
McTominay and Fred were dreadful against Manchester City. In the entire game against Manchester City at Old Trafford, the duo only made one successful tackle. They were dribbled past a total of eight times. While Fred was at least committing to tackles, the Scotsman was mostly in the background.
He posed no threat in the future and provided no defense. After the game, Manchester United legend Roy Keane delivered a scathing verdict on the pair, and it’s difficult to disagree with him.
Number 3: Luke Shaw
Last season, Luke Shaw reached world-class levels. He was a creative force at left-back, driving forward and providing Manchester United with much-needed thrust down the left flank. He was also quite skilled on defense.
Shaw also had a fantastic performance at Euro 2020. This season, however, his levels have plummeted to shocking levels. He hasn’t provided much going forward, with only two assists in 14 appearances this season.
Shaw put in two dreadful performances against Liverpool and Manchester City. His positioning and decision-making have been questionable throughout the season. However, against Liverpool and City, he looked as lost as a toddler at Pottery Barn, reduced to a mere spectator watching grown-ups go about their business.
He simply cannot be allowed to continue in this manner. The Englishman must be removed from the first team and given time to regain his bearings and fitness.
Number 2: Ronaldo
Another inclusion that may polarize opinion. But, for the astute observer, this must be as clear as daylight by now. Cristiano Ronaldo provides goals and crucial ones at that. They do, however, come at a cost. They may soon come at the expense of Solskjaer’s job.
Manchester United is rigid with Ronaldo up top. The fluidity of their frontline was responsible for much of their attacking efficiency. When they were all on the song, they were unstoppable, with Bruno Fernandes playing much like a false nine and the likes of Rashford, Cavani, and Greenwood operating ahead of him.
Ronaldo rarely moves to the flanks and provides little in the build-up. He’ll be there to finish moves, but it will come at the expense of United’s style of play. Ronaldo has only appeared on the bench once since joining the club. That was the match against Everton in the Premier League.
Manchester United played some of their best football this season in the first half, despite the game ending 1-1. Ronaldo’s pressing often appears performative, and it pales in comparison to Edinson Cavani’s work rate.
No player should be untouchable, but the Portuguese international appears to have that kind of power in this Manchester United squad right now. Solskjaer must be ruthless in order to get his team to play to their strengths once more.
Number 1: Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire was one of the Premier League’s best center-backs in the 2020-21 season. This term, he is also one of the worst. It’s incredible how Manchester United’s captain can alternate between exceptional and downright ordinary.
He appears clueless in the defense’s heart and has been dragged around in every game. Manchester United hasn’t kept a clean sheet in 14 home matches, and a large part of that is due to an underperforming backline.
Maguire’s ability to carry the ball forward and make line-breaking passes has been one of his strengths. This term, he’s also been terrible at it. Maguire is unmistakably a ‘confidence player,’ as he doesn’t appear to have any faith in his own abilities right now.
Maguire may be allowed to play because Varane is out for at least three weeks. But he doesn’t have to be. Solskjaer may use him again in the hopes that his positive qualities will shine through. However, it is clear that Maguire requires some rest at this point.: