The international break has come to an end. The European leagues were back in action this past weekend with a total of 7 fixtures on Saturday 16th October in the Premier League. Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea were all in action as Liverpool crushed Watford at Vicarage road by scoring five goals. Manchester City also defeated a stubborn Burnley by two goals to nil. Chelsea passed a tough test against a tricky Brentford but it was a rampant Leicester City raised the most eyebrows.
Rampant Leicester City Pile More Pressure Onto Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Vardy and Co Sink Manchester United
Manchester United traveled to the King Power stadium entering into a tough run of October fixtures. Leicester City started well by piling pressure on Red Devils. The game plan was to exploit United’s midfield weaknesses once again but it was United that went into a surprising lead in the 19th minute. Mason Greenwood scored a sublime left footed shot from distance.
Leicester kept pushing to level the score and in the 31st minute Youri Tielemens got a deserved leveller with a sublime finish although Harry Maguire was at fault for the goal, waiting for the ball to come to him rather than going to the ball and it was an error more akin with amateur football than professional football.
Leicester went in front in the 78th minute via a scrappy goal from a corner before the final 10 minutes brought a dramatic conclusion as Marcus Rashford scored and leveled the score one more before the King Power Stadium came to life when Jamie Vardy restored the lead just 15 seconds later. In the injury time the foxes rubbed salt into United’s wounds after scoring the fourth.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer Under Increasing Pressure
Manchester United’s manager must be feeling the heat as they have only won 2 out of 7 matches in all competitions. The star studded lineup is struggling to grind out results with the Old Trafford faithful becoming more and more concerned about the teams recent dry patch. Moreover, the injury to Raphael Varane has not helped Solskjaer’s cause and Harry Maguire’s woeful performance after he returned from a calf injury was another blow along with the exclusion of two South Americans due to their international involvement.
However, the problem lies deep in the coaching and the balance of the team. Presently, the teams loss of form has raised questions in the dressing room regarding the tactics. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer spoke to the press and said;
“When you look at the game after, the four goals we conceded were poor. The way we played we don’t deserve to continue that [away unbeaten] run. Lately we have not been in great form, lost too many points and that is something we have to look at. We might have to change, do we need more legs in there? What do we need?” (The Guardian)
Misfiring Star Players
Another headache for the manager is that the superstars in the team are not firing on all cylinders. Cristiano Ronaldo also failed to put his mark on the game against Leicester City. Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho both looked off color and failed to put on a show. Paul Pogba was another star who had a game to forget with the French maestro overshadowed by Leicester’s Youri Tielmens.
Pogba spoke after the match and also expressed his concerns. he said;
“To be honest you know, we’ve been having those kind of games for a long time and we haven’t found the problem. We need to find what is the problem. To concede goals, easy goals, stupid goals, when we know those games when you play on this pitch. The fans are gonna put pressure on us.”
Something Needs to Change
The lacklustre midfield needs a change. United needs to protect their backline but so far they have failed due to their lethargic midfield performances. Donny Van De Beek has been on the bench crying for game time. If Ole Solksjaer needs a change in his midfield he should try Van De Beek in a midfield role because United can be a dangerous team if they can find the right balance. They need to start performing as a team if they want to lift any major trophies this season.
In order to compete for silverware this season, United must find a solution which makes them the top draw once again. Whether it is balancing the team or changing the tactics, Ole Solksjaer must bring out the best from his players.
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