Manchester United Will Find It Difficult to Salvage Their Season

Manchester United recently suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the Premier League. They are sixth in the league table with 47 points from 28 matches, which is eight less than the tally of Aston Villa, who is in the fourth place.

With only 27% ball-possession and only three shots against Manchester City’s 27 shots, United came up with yet another disastrous performance against a big team. Although they got back to winning ways in their most recent match against Everton, Erik ten Hag has done little to justify the money he has spent on new signings. Perhaps an exception could be given to Rasmus Højlund, who has performed well during the last couple of months.

Manchester United Continues to be Uninspiring Under ten Hag

Not that the Dutch manager’s idea of playing ultra-defensive football has been of any use to his team. Aside from the dour goalless draw at Anfield against Liverpool and a last-gasp win against Aston Villa, Manchester United has mostly found wanting against teams placed higher than them. Each of Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal have played much better football than United have managed this season.

Ten Hag has decided to play ultra-defensive stuff against better teams, but it has been repeatedly proven that United’s defence are not good enough to thwart a strong attacking line-up for the whole 90 minutes.

It is a pretty damning statistic for him that Manchester United have a negative goal-difference in the league after 27 matches. Nothing can be as ignominious for a big club like United, who enjoyed a monopoly in English football in the Premier League era.

Unable to get a place in next year’s UEFA Champions League will be disappointing

Ten Hag will find it difficult to keep his job should his team fail to qualify for the Champions League next season. With the Champions League expanding to 36 teams next season from the current 32, there could be a possibility that even the team that finishes fifth in the Premier League this season, will get a chance to play in it next season.

However, even then, Manchester United might find it difficult to qualify, as it is not going to be easy by any means for them to finish inside the top five. Both Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur have looked better than United this season so far and deserve to finish ahead of them.

Manchester United still has matches left against the Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion, each of which might potentially beat them. Among the big teams, only Chelsea has been worse than them this season.

In such a scenario, ten Hag should find it considerably difficult to motivate his men for the rest of the season. With both Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes being underwhelming this season, United hardly have any senior player to don the mantle of leadership to perform the act of revival.

It remains to be seen whether the Red Devils are able to salvage their season somewhat by restoring some pride in their remaining matches. Going by their record this season, the odds will be stacked against them.

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