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Football News: Team Review - Manchester United

Team Review - Manchester United
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Team Review - Manchester United

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League Position: 2nd

 

Goalkeepers:

Dean Henderson
David de Gea
Sergio Romero (released)
Joel Pereira (released)
Lee Grant

While, on paper, the goalkeeper situation looked to be well sorted, with three keepers who were arguably good enough to be first choice, what they had was a mess, with two uncertain and one on the sidelines. With Romero leaving, that is one less to worry about, but it is time for a decision to be made on who is number 1 and the other will need to be moved on. Players fighting for their place is one thing, but they still need the manager to be decisive and make a decision on who is first choice and the other then should be working hard to change his mind. What United have is a manager who has no idea which is his first choice and so keeps swapping between them. That never works in the long term.

 


Defenders:

Harry Maguire
Victor Lindelof
Eric Bailly
Axel Tuanzebe
Phil Jones
Luke Shaw
Alex Telles
Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Brandon Williams

Once you get over the wonderment that Jones is still there, your first thought looking at the five centre-back options are that they are simply not good enough. There is a massive lack of quality in the centre, with three that cannot even be relied upon to stay fit either. That leaves a default first choice partnership of Maguire and Lindelof, which would not fill me with confidence at all. There is a desperate need to upgrade there, over and above anything else.

 

Midfielders:

Nemanja Matic
Paul Pogba
Scott McTominay
Donny van de Beek
Fred
Bruno Fernandes
Jesse Lingard
Juan Mata

On paper the midfield looks very strong, there is creativity, bite, goals and pace in there, it just looks to be a case of finding the right balance. If there is something missing, it is a player who can just put their foot on the ball and control the play. On grass though, it is a bit of a mess, relying far too heavily on Pogba (when fit) and Bruno to create, while the rest of the midfield are not given the freedom they need to perform at their best, unless the team goes behind. It is telling that Man Utd look so much better every time they fall behind, as the midfield is given the freedom to get forward and operate in the areas they are best suited to. That is probably the biggest weakness of this midfield, that lack of a midfielder happy to sit and give freedom to the rest, other than Matic who always fades by about October. The rest of the team all want to getting about the pitch getting involved and are not suited to protecting the back four. While most fans want the exciting attacking players, this team particularly lacks that player to sit back and protect the back four, but that can play out from the back and allow the team to build from there.

 


Forwards:

Marcus Rashford
Daniel James
Mason Greenwood
Amad Diallo
Anthony Martial
Edinson Cavani

A lot of youth, along with Cavani to help bring them through is something to work with, at the very least. They could do with removing Martial from the squad, at least in my opinion, as he does not seem to have a future and his attitude on the pitch does not help the team. Overall there is not a lot wrong, it is just that it needs time to grow together and then assessed to see who has not made progress and so needs replacing. The wings could be improved with a short term signing, but it needs to be someone along the lines of Cavani.

 


Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

There are two major problems here. One is Ole himself, two is the staff alongside him. Phelan, in particular, is a problem as he favours a style of football that most United fans are unhappy with. It was a strange choice to bring him back to help out Ole. Yes, he did need an experienced number 2 to help him, but he was the wrong choice. The fans' complaints about the style of football are exactly the same as when Phelan was here first time around. It does seem the club learnt nothing from the previous attempts to move on from Alex Ferguson and are continuing to favour staff who play a defensive style of football, first and foremost. That is not what United are known for. The fact that United are playing the Phelan-style, while Solskjaer is head coach rather than manager, shows that either he also favours a bland, sit deep and look to counter type of football or that he is too weak to impose his chosen style on the team. Either is not what is needed.

 


Conclusion:

There is not really a lot wrong overall, a couple of signings in key areas could completely transform the team, but it would make little difference until the right coaching staff are there to utilise those players. With no Ed Woodward to act as a scapegoat for the fans, it will be interesting to see what happens if there are any major setbacks next season, as Ole splits opinion right now, but he is very much a fan favourite from his time as a player. Is that enough to save him? Of course that is saying there is a major setback, which is probably unlikely as United will continue to play 'safe' football, which will keep them at the right end of the table but is highly unlikely to threaten to win the title.

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Written by Tris Burke June 21 2021 10:13:41

 

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