After a really difficult week with defeats to Burnley and Liverpool in the league, Manchester United had only two things on their mind, of getting back to winning ways and aiming to end the season with a bit of silverware, as they travelled to Tranmere Rovers for the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Going into the game, majority of football fans were expecting a potential upset and some FA Cup magic, especially if one was to consider the away side’s poor form over the last couple of weeks whilst the state of the pitch at Prenton Park would have surely been an advantage to the hosts only.
However, it was a straightforward victory and a walk in the park for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United, as the three goals by the 16th minute mark was more than enough to put the game to bed despite the efforts and hard work that was shown by the Tranmere Rovers players from start till the end.
With the goals coming from the most unlikely of sources in the first half through Harry Maguire, Diogo Dalot, Jesse Lingard and even Phil Jones, it was the fifth time this season were the side has scored four goals or more in a single game. On top of that, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood were able to chip in with a goal, two individuals who have to step up in Marcus Rashford’s absence.
Now, we look onto the three key things we learnt from United’s latest match…
The back-three/five formation has it’s benefits when correctly utilised
The back-three/five formation is often seen as a defensive and pragmatic system, due to the number of defenders and lack of attacking-minded players that are utilised within the setup. However, when having the ideal individuals and intelligent players that fit into each specific role flawlessly, then it works out perfectly, just like what the Red Devils had seen from their team today at Prenton Park.
With the likes of Rashford, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay remaining out on the sidelines and are not expected to return from injury anytime soon, United could possibly use the 3-4-1-2 setup more often as they aim to the remaining schedule game by game. Given the energetic wing-backs in Brandon Williams and Diogo Dalot, as well as a playmaker like Juan Mata to link the midfield to attack, the back-three/five formation could be seen a short term solution for Solskjaer and his men.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets back to winning ways and fights to live for another day
It’s not been an easy week for Solskjaer, as the defeats to Burnley and Liverpool have had the United fans and the Premier League pundits questioning if he is the right man for the job, someone who is lacking the needed experience and tactical knowledge in order to succeed at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Though, with the dominant victory over Tranmere Rovers and the players putting on a discipline and composed display, it could possibly be something that they can build on from here.
As the side continue to remain in the FA Cup, Europa League, EFL Cup (not for long) and six points away from fourth-place Chelsea, there is still a lot to fight for as long as Solskjaer can remain open-minded on and off the pitch whilst proving that he can get the best out of the current squad. If he can get maximum points from now until the key players return from injury, then there is a possibility of the team ending the season on a high note, however, it is a big if as the side have not been able to show their dominance, consistency and quality on a regular basis so far this footballing campaign.
The United supporters continue to protest against the Glazers and Ed Woodward
Despite the 6-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers and the fact that the side have qualified for the next round of the FA Cup, the United supporters were still not satisfied, as they went on to directing their anger and frustration to the Glazers and Ed Woodward, who have played the pivotal role to the club’s decline. With the fans raising their voice today and recently against Burnley and Norwich, it looks like they will continue to do so until there is a huge change to revive their football club.
It’s actually been a long time coming, as the hierarchy and the owners have not shown enough attention and care towards the club’s performance and results on the pitch, whilst they are more bothered and focused about the income and profit they have been able to make off it. However, the Manchester United fans are taking a stand and are now saying enough is enough, as the side have failed to make a single challenge for the Premier League title since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.