Going into gameweek six, one of the crucial fixtures of the weekend was between Manchester United and Chelsea on Saturday evening, where both teams intended on collecting the vital victory to move closer to the top four positions. Given the shocking start to the campaign, not many Premier League fans were expecting Everton and Aston Villa to be in the top four spots, whilst the well-known clubs such as Man City, Man Utd and Spurs sit in the middle of the league table.
Looking at the match as a whole, both sides were unconvincing in the middle of the park and could not complete a string of passes, which led to very minimal chances being created and not many passes into the final third. Not only that, but with Frank Lampard’s 3-4-1-2 setup and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unappealing line-up selection, it meant that there would not be many goals in the game.
In terms of the key statistics of the game, neither team had the key edge of dominating the possession of the ball, so it was equally shared out by both sides. Chelsea and Manchester United failed to create a single big chance through the game, which would be more down to how reserved and limited they wanted to play, ensuring that they did not concede to any chances or many goals.
To sum up the first half showing from the two clubs, the main positive was that the half-time break had arrived and hopefully one of the sides would step up on the intensity and urge to attack in the second half. However, that was not the case until the 58th minute for the host team and the 71st minute for the visitors, where a double change was required to help the team to create and score.
In the end, neither of the teams were able to make a breakthrough and were able succeed on coming out as the winners, leading to a point being shared out by Manchester United and Chelsea. The Blues walk away from Old Trafford with a positive point, on the other hand, the Red Devils would be in total discontent, as they are yet to win a single league game at home so far this season.
With no further ado, here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league fixture…
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s line-up selection raised a few questions
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded the same eleven players that had defeated Newcastle last weekend against Chelsea, which raised a number of questions from the Old Trafford faithful as the line-up did not provide enough satisfaction in order to pick up the much needed three points. With the likes of Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba not being selected in the starting XI, majority of the Manchester United supporters had felt that the coach had setup with quite a pragmatic approach.
On the other hand, with a lot of key fixtures coming up, against Leipzig, Arsenal, Istanbul Basaksehir, Everton and West Brom over the next few weeks, it may seem like a sensible move from Solskjaer to rotate around and to ensure the squad do not suffer from fatigue or injury issues. With that in mind, the 47-year-old coach has to understand that he has to go into every game with the intention of wining and achieving consistent victories, with the objective being clear from the starting line-up.
Daniel James should no longer be starting on a regular basis
With Anthony Martial still suspended for the league fixtures and Edinson Cavani being slowly integrated into the team, Daniel James continues to remain in the starting line-up, someone who is not able to offer much to the side besides his burst of pace and work rate off the ball. Other than that, he lacks the intelligence in the final third and the end product in terms of goals and assists.
Against Chelsea, the Welsh winger hardly made an impact out on the left wing, where he was completely isolated by both Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James. Although he came into the club as a squad player, Solskjaer has used him as a regular starter following his bright and impressive start to the 2019/20 campaign, which led to him achieving three goals and six assists in 33 league appearances. Now, he should be seen as a bench player for the league games and nothing further.
Manchester United’s home form is becoming a huge concern
Despite United’s impressive victory in the midweek, away to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group stage, they have had many difficulties with winning the games at Old Trafford in the Premier League. So far this season, the side have faced the likes of Crystal Palace, Spurs and now Chelsea, where they have picked up one point out of nine, scoring two goals and conceding nine.
The Red Devils are proving to be deadly and effective on the counter-attack, however, the team and the manager will need ways to break down the opposition and create constant chances, or they will fail to pick up victories on a regular basis at home. And if that happens to be the case, Manchester United’s chances of finishing in the top four by the end of the campaign, will be very limited.