Manchester United are going through an up and down type of season, where they have been moving one step forward but two steps back, regardless of the current options available within the squad and who is managing the side. And with how the campaign is going so far, the side’s chances of finishing in the top four positions are very slim as they continue to drop points time after time.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have a lot to review over the next couple of weeks, with the January transfer window now officially open whilst he is not far away from having a fully fit squad. Not only that, with five points separating themselves from fourth-place Chelsea, the momentum can be turned around if the side begin to win their games consistently and not depend on other results.
Here are three tweaks that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should make as soon as possible…
Switch to a three-man midfield
Solskjaer looks to be fixed on a 4-2-3-1 system, which could be down to the lack of progress from midfield to attack, however, the current setup does not allow the side to control and dominate the games in a way a top side normally would. Given the injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, keeping them on the sidelines for at least a number of weeks, the board and manager will have to enter into the transfer window and do their best to save the season from going bad to worse.
Despite the rumours spreading around on whether Pogba will leave or stay at Old Trafford, the team have to focus on themselves and continue to give their all on the pitch, even if it is with or without a certain individual. A potential three-man midfield of Fred, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba or a new signing in January, would assist the team in excelling on both sides of the pitch and helping them to be stable, something they have not been able to do on more than one occasion so far this term.
Time to be proactive on and off the ball
United’s lack of identity and style of play has got majority of the Old Trafford faithful raising a few questions, as they are unable to see an actual attacking system that has been implemented onto the team. Being brutally honest, not much has changed under Solskjaer compared to what was experienced in the final months of the Jose Mourinho era, as the side are still quite suspect defensively and are only creating clear chances when they break through on the counter-attack.
On top of that, the side have had a number of matches where they have found it very difficult to breakdown a deep low block, forcing them to take shots from outside of the box and slowing down the movement on and off the ball. Also, the team have been giving the opposition a lot of space and time in possession from time to time, something that is not naturally done by a team chasing for a top four position, as they would constantly be pressing the opponents into making mistakes high up the pitch.
The work on the in-game management has to be done
And finally, the most important area that Solskjaer has to improve on to turn the season around, is his in-game management and the key decisions he makes, as the timing of the change of formations and substitutions over the last couple of months have been questionable. It was more than understandable that this issue would occur at the start of his managerial time at United, however, one year on, he is still trying to overcome this ongoing problem and is finding it tough and really impossible to find an ideal solution.
Overall, too much cannot be expected from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as it does not look like he’s very knowledgeable when it comes to tactics and is not showing that he has a backup plan when badly required. Given his lack of flexibility in terms of methods and strategies, his days at Old Trafford could seriously be numbered if he is unable to come up with some consistent and effective ideas, that can help turn the side’s performances and results around, as they somehow continue to suffer week after week.