Manchester United’s fall from grace will be underlined by a lack of quality strikers

When Manchester United lost to West Ham, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about his lack of strikers, especially if one of them gets injured like in the case of Anthony Martial. He responded diplomatically by suggesting that on the strikers department there isn’t a problem and seemed happy with that statement. His eyes seemed to say something else though and a few days later in his own press conference he mentioned that the club will be looking for a striker to come in for January.

It is hard to think of a United side who have looked so average up front. At the end of the day Anthony Martial who came from Monaco ended up being the striker that could have been and the one that got away from United was actually the other youngster coming up the ranks in Kylian Mbappe who now plays for PSG.

Marcus Rashford is a quality striker when on form and has got some important goals for the club. However he is 22 and maybe more would have been expected of him given that he has never scored more than 10 league goals in his career, and he has spent 5 seasons with the club. This isn’t to say that Rashford doesn’t deserve his place because he does and plays off well in the team.

Daniel James can attack too and he looks one for the future, and the three attackers have scored 8 of United’s goals from 9 this season. But at the same time United not only have young strikers and no stardust if you like, but also players that can perform on their day but simply aren’t consistent enough, and that will be key in thinking United may not even finish in the top six this season. At this rate top 4 looks very distant too.

It’s hard to think that this situation would have been allowed under Sir Alex Ferguson and that was to sell Romelu Lukaku for over £70m but not replace him, that seemed like an odd choice. Instead United went for defence and brought in Harry Maguire for £80m, but the club need to be in a situation where they could have afforded both targets. If one looks at Mauro Icardi for example, a goalscorer that was bought by PSG as they believed Neymar would be sold and they had injuries up front, instead of resting on their laurels the club knew they had to bring in quality, and they did.

United seemed to have taken their eye off the ball and even if they can navigate themselves until January, that is a month where traditionally the best players are not available. A penny for your thoughts, Ole?

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Manchester United and Chelsea have started the Premier League campaign in shocking fashion

The start of the 2019/20 Premier League season is almost a month underway and the early signs are not good for two giants of English football in Manchester United and Chelsea. Both teams have got off to poor starts, even if they have lost just 1 game so far this season.

The nature in how the clubs are struggling to get results is clearly evident. Manchester United’s only win this season has been ironically against Chelsea. The score line was impressive, a 4-0 win which suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had turned a corner with the Red Devils- not so. Since then United have churned out results which only mirror the clubs problems since Sir Alex Ferguson called it a day in 2013.

Look at the evidence. In the teams next game they went to Wolves and couldn’t win. A 1-1 draw was the only score they could get, and yet they had been leading that game and were pegged back. In their next match at home to Crystal Palace, United were massive favourites to win the match. Palace had started average and it seemed that United would win and win big. But they found themselves 1-0 down and heading for defeat. Daniel James who has been impressive with United in his debut season looked to have secured a draw with his goal in the last minute and even then United could not hold on as Palace found another to win. Already they had faced defeat at Old Trafford this season.

This past weekend United had to travel to Southampton, another game where you would expect 3 points, instead they took the lead and were then pegged back as the game finished 1-1. There is a lot of thinking and soul searching to do at United and it doesn’t look like it will get any better soon. The Europa League will be taxing on the current line up, and if United are struggling against mid table teams now, how will they cope when they have to play games every other Thursday in Europe?

As for Chelsea, they have won just once this season also. The 4-0 loss at Manchester United could be excused if only because the Blues played some good football and the final score was flattering on the home side. But something is missing at Chelsea, and it could be that they have the wrong manager in charge.

Frank Lampard will be a good manager just like he was such a terrific player. The problem is he has next to no experience, just one season with Derby in the Championship, that is a massive step up to Chelsea. The question that needs to be posed is, would Chelsea have gone looking for the manager of Derby had it not been Lampard, an ex-Chelsea playing legend? And there is your answer. Still one cannot blame Lampard for accepting the job, rare is it to see a British manager in charge of one of the big 4 teams in the Premier League. He took his chance because he knew it could be the only one he will ever get.

Chelsea like United have played some good football but it is a results game and both are failing. Chelsea only just managed their one win so far against Norwich in a 3-2 victory. But they were pegged back by both Leicester and Sheffield United and these games were at home.

Both clubs should have bright moments during the season, but they wil also have plenty of games where they will keep under achieving. One of these managers could be losing their job this season too, which on this evidence wouldn’t be a surprise.

The hard luck story for fans is that it is going to get worse before it gets better and there is a genuine chance now that neither club will finish in the top 4.

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Southampton 1-1 Man Utd: The Red Devils cheaply drop points once again

Although the main focus of gameweek four is between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United had a good opportunity to bounce back from the Crystal Palace defeat with the away fixture against Southampton. With the match being the final one just before the ten-day international break, it would have been the ideal chance Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to get back to winning ways.

The match as a whole, was one-sided in favour of the visitors in terms of the control in possession and the chances created, despite the host piling on the pressure for 20 to 30 minutes of the game before and after the half-time break. United took the lead very early in the 10th minute, through a well-taken shot by Daniel James, who smashed it past Angus Gunn and into the far corner of the net.

However, Southampton were able to get the equaliser in the second half as Jannik Vestergaard leaped above Victor Lindelof to head the ball into the net, leaving David De Gea absolutely hopeless in goal. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s boys continued to look for the winner, though, Kevin Danso went into a poor challenge in the 77th minute and left the referee with no option but to book him once again.

In the end, the Saints did defensively well to hold onto a draw for the last 15 to 20 minutes whilst being down to ten men, but the Red Devils will feel they did not create enough or showed the ideal amount of urgency to turn the single point into the three points they badly needed and required.

Here are the three valuable factors we learnt from United’s latest league fixture…

Daniel James continues to live life at the top

Throughout the game, United’s go-to-man was no one else but Daniel James, someone who was causing Southampton’s backline a serious amount of problems with his dribbling ability and his incredible burst of pace. After making it on the scoresheet once again, he has now scored three league goals in four appearances, equalling Alexis Sanchez’s dire record of the last 18 months.

Despite being utilised on the right flank in recent games, the fixture against Southampton was his first match where he was played in his favourite position, and he went on to play more comfortably and effectively than usual. Not only that, his immense work rate on and off the ball is something to truly highlight, as United’s attacking players in recent years have failed to help the team out as a whole.

United lack clinical quality on both sides of the pitch

One could say Solskjaer had the perfect plan at St Marys Stadium, where they created a decent amount of chances and had hardly concerns over the opposition’s attacking threat. Southampton actually had one shot on target, which was the goal they achieved in the second half, other than that, they were missing a playmaker and a dominant forward to open up United’s defence.

Meanwhile, on the attacking side of the game, the likes of Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford were lacking the intelligence and the required quality in the final third of the pitch to help the side to achieve the winning goal. The trio were failing to do the basics rights and were making mistakes after mistakes, allowing Southampton to sit deep with no rising issues to worry about.

Southampton are expected to go on to big things under Ralph Hasenhuttl

Majority of the English media and the Premier League experts were expecting the Saints to have a difficult season and see themselves experience most of the campaign around the relegation zone. However, that hasn’t been the case, as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton have proven to do well with their high-pressing style of play and their mentality to constantly break on the counter-attack.

With the club failing to bring in a number of players throughout the summer transfer window, the supporters of Southampton will be hoping that either of the 3-5-2 or 4-2-2-2 setup will get the best out of the current squad. And once the winter window arrives, the manager will surely be hoping that the board and owners are more than able to invest into the team, allowing them to potentially push for a mid-table finish, which they had experienced on a few occasions before the previous season.

Man Utd 1-2 Crystal Palace; Ole’s men suffer their first league defeat

Although the main focus of gameweek three was between Liverpool and Arsenal, Manchester United had a good opportunity to bounce back from the Wolves stalemate with the home fixture against Crystal Palace. As majority of the top-six sides have failed to be effectively convincing, it would have been ideal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to pick up another early win in the season.

As a whole, the match resulted in a way that not many ahead predicted before kick-off, where the hosts dominated possession and apparently had the game under control, when all of a sudden, the visitors went direct on the counter and scored through Jordan Ayew in the 32nd minute. Throughout the first half, United’s footballing style was constantly sideways and was played at a really slow place, allowing Roy Hodgson’s men to sit comfortably deep and with not much to worry about.

Things went from bad to worse for United in the second half, as a couple of big chances went down the drain and Marcus Rashford’s attempt from the penalty spot in 70th minute hit the woodwork. However, the side’s goal and equaliser finally came in 89th minute as Daniel James well-placed shot went past Vicente Guaita and into the far corner of net. In the final moments of the game, United’s overload of players allowed Crystal Palace to break brutally on the counter and to shockingly get the winner.

Here are the three valuable factors we learnt from United’s latest league fixture…

Lack of creativity and urgency

Throughout the whole game, United failed to cause a number of problems for Crystal Palace’s backline and Vicente Guaita, as they went on to complete the same amount of shots on target as the opposition. The Red Devils actually completed zero shots on goal by the half-time break, which more or less implies that the side’s lack of creativity and urgency is starting to show when they are desperately in need of it.

After the break, Solskjaer’s men did take things up a notch by raising the tempo on the ball and in terms of looking to progress more forward whilst in possession, but they were seriously in need of a playmaker that can pull the strings with ease and open up the opponent’s defence without trying. United’s main options within this position is either Jesse Lingard or Juan Mata, though, they are not the ideal individuals that can produce the final third goods on a consistent and effective basis.

Ole needs to begin experimenting more tactically

Solskjaer kept the same line-up as the one that faced Wolves last week, but majority of the Old Trafford faithful were hoping that a couple of changes were made in order for the squad to know that no one’s place in the starting line-up is guaranteed. On the other hand, the manager himself will need to experiment into new formations and tactics, in order to get the best out of his own players and work around the opposition’s system.

A potential plan B may include the back-three/five setup, which would allow Axel Tuanzebe to play more regularly and in the backline along with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, giving United the defensive stability they need and the licence for the wing-backs and Paul Pogba to constantly advance high up the pitch. As Ole does not have strength in numbers within midfield and attack, they currently have no option but to focus on dominating possession on both sides of the pitch and take their limited chances.

United won’t progress far with the current midfield options

At this moment of time, it can easily be stated that United will have huge and great difficulty in finishing in the top four this season and with any intentions they have of domestic cup success. Based on the last couple of games, the side have unfortunately failed to control and dominate the game in the middle of the pitch, a department that is not filled with many talented or experienced players. And the departures of both Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini have not helped at all.

With the club failing to bring in a replacement for the mentioned duo or an upgrade on some of the deadwood within this area, a single injury to either Paul Pogba or Scott McTominay will ruin the manager’s balance and the side’s stability for a number of weeks. And if the side start to drop points on a more regular basis, the board will then surely regret not buying Bruno Fernandes or Thomas Partey, two well-known individuals who are seen as the missing piece to United’s broken midfield.

Wolves v Man Utd; Three key factors to keep an eye out for on the Red Devils

Ole Gunnnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United will be travelling down to the Molineux Stadium on Monday to take on Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, a brutal team that managed to pick up a lot important results against the top-six sides last season and are now in the Europa League play-offs.

Although it is only the second gameweek of the Premier League, both sides will be looking to pick up the early three points in the campaign to ensure they move a step forward to reach their aims and objectives. The hosts will have one eye on the match and the other on the upcoming fixture against Torino in the Europa League play-offs, whilst the visitors will have the full focus on this difficult tie.

Now, let’s focus on the Red Devils ahead of their key crucial match on Monday night…

Lack of control within midfield

In their first league game, Manchester United had a lot of tough times in controlling the game within the middle of the pitch and were not able to dominate and overcome Chelsea’s midfield trio. For sure, the 4-0 result in the end is what counts, but on another day, had the opposition had the quality in defence and attack, the final outcome would have been different to what actually happened.

Despite the departure of both Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, the board and Ed Woodward have failed to bring in the required replacements, leaving Solskjaer with very limited options within the midfield department. Andreas Pereira, Fred and Scott McTominay don’t have the intelligence and quality to start on a regular basis, and Nemanja Matic just happens to be on his last legs.

Not only that, Paul Pogba is the main man to guide the side week in and out, but his lapse in concentration and tendency to take the extra touch or second on the ball does not help the team’s cause. If the team are able to take more control and manage the game from the midfield, they will go on to improve defensively, dominate possession effectively and eventually create more chances.

Contributions from the full-backs

A lot of the talk has recently been about the arrival of summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and current left-back, Luke Shaw, two individuals who are young, full of energy and are expected to be the side’s main full-backs for the next five years or so. With modern football being more advanced and the duties of a full-back being increased, the pair will have to work on their attacking ability.

With the backline being improved massively throughout the summer, the sole focus will be on how consistently they will be able to play out from the back and how often they will play a key role in the final third of the pitch. On that note, both Shaw and Wan-Bissaka will have take part in a lot of attacking drills in training, as their crossing and technical ability will be required during the season.

Having a quick look at the rival teams in Liverpool and Manchester City, they both respectively have the likes of Andrew Robertston, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker, crucial individuals who can run up and down the pitch for the whole game and be the difference maker when needed. United will definitely be in need of this as their style of play can become limited and really rigid, which forces them to play the ball more directly and without a lack of direction.

Marcus Rashford’s movement and positioning

Given the ruthless departure of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to receive the same outcome very soon, there will be a lot of weight on United’s attackers and the midfielders to come up with the much needed goals. With a lot of pressure being on the likes of Anthony Martial, Daniel James and Paul Pogba for goals and assists, Marcus Rashford has to be the man to personally step up.

Being a local lad that has come through the youth ranks and someone that is widely regarded as a fan favourite, it would be more than ideal for the youngster to lead by example and be seen as the player that can score 25 goals a season. As he is now on free-kick and penalty duties, it shouldn’t be a huge problem for him to reach the required figures and numbers as a first-choice centre-forward.

It is no secret that Rashford isn’t one of the most clinical or ruthless strikers in the league, but if he begins to do the basics right and has the hunger to be in the right place at the right time, then there shouldn’t be no doubts at all in him delivering the goods. And if he goes on to do that and helps the team to be successful in the long run, his name will definitely be up there with the other greats that played for Manchester United Football Club.

Man Utd 4-0 Chelsea: The Red Devils kick off the season in winning ways

The main focus of gameweek one in the Premier League was bound to be on Manchester United versus Chelsea, especially when the other top teams in the league had won their respective games. Given that the final positions in the table always come down to the head-to-head between the top-six sides, it was important for Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to get going on a high note and make a statement.

Overall, the match was completed in a typical fashion that the supporters of Old Trafford have been used to in recent years, where they start off very slow before ending the match with the three important points. Chelsea got off on the right foot and went close with Tammy Abraham hitting the post and Emerson smashing the crossbar, however, it was Marcus Rashford’s penalty in the 18th minute that opened up the game and allowed everyone to witness a more end-to-end match.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in the second half, as the individual mistakes and the poor man-marking allowed the hosts to score two quick goals between the 65th and the 67th minute through Anthony Martial and Rashford once again. Not only that, Lampard’s options from the bench were not great to create a comeback, whilst Solskjaer was able to give both Daniel James and Mason Greenwood the game time they were in need of, with the former bagging his first ever goal for the club.

Here are the three factors we learnt from United’s first league game this season…

Clinical showing despite nervy periods

There are no doubts at all, that Chelsea were the better side in the first half, from controlling possession of the ball to creating chances patiently, but only the end product was missing. Had they still had the final third quality of Eden Hazard in the team, they would have put the game to bed by the half-time break and the Red Devils would have found it very difficult to turn it around. However, United were fortunate and took the lead from the penalty spot, and from there, they were constantly aiming to pounce on the counter.

After the break, Solskjaer’s men took things up a notch or two whilst Lampard’s boys were unable to be more productive and effective in United’s penalty box. Once the decisive second goal came through for the side from Anthony Martial, it was more or less over, with Chelsea trying to make the most out of any possession they had, whilst United were happy to sit deep and continue to counter when required. In the end, the hosts showed their patience in both phases and were able to adjust to some tactical tweaks, whilst the visitors were unlucky and fell apart as the goals were conceded.

Exciting debuts for the new summer arrivals

When deciding who would start in the huge fixture against Chelsea, Solskjaer was bound to use the new boys in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, two players who instantly made an impact in the backline and were able to ease the pressure off the team on many occasions. If neither of them were on the pitch yesterday, the Blues would have easily scored one or two goals in the first half, or even more.

With how the two defensive additions recently performed, individuals such as Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones aren’t expected to make a return into the starting line-up anytime soon. Maguire’s appearance at the heart of defence was huge for the side, as he was able to guide the team forward on the ball and was regarded as a rising leader when needed. Meanwhile, Wan-Bissaka played a crucial role of his own, stopping Chelsea to break on the counter time and time again, and helping the team to recycle and utilise possession on both sides of the pitch.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are on the rise

At this moment of time, it can easily be stated that both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford will be played on a regular basis and also along with each other, something that couldn’t be done effectively the last two seasons due to the presence of Romelu Lukaku. Though, with the Belgian forward now at Inter Milan, the duo have a lot of expectations and high standards on them, with both players potentially in need of scoring around 40-45 goals in order for the team to finish within the top four.

With the club failing to bring in a replacement for Lukaku on deadlind day, a lot of the pressure has now been passed onto Martial and Rashford, as well as the other attacking-minded players in the squad. As long as the pair keep up with how they performed yesterday, in terms of the dribbling ability, movement on and off the ball along with an improvement of their work rate, United should be just fine in the long run.

Manchester United 2019-20 season preview

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going into his first full season as the manager of Manchester United, the pressure is on the 45-year-old Norwegian international to show he can take the club forward and that he is able to bring the good old days back to Old Trafford once again. Although it is easier said than done, the English media are not expecting the side to get back to winning ways anytime soon.

The previous season resulted in a really poor campaign, especially whilst witnessing the rivals in Liverpool and Manchester City going on to be successful in the Champions League and Premier League. Due to this unfortunate outcome, it has forced United to be highly active in the transfer window, whilst the board are hoping for a huge turnaround in which way the club is heading.

The new additions

Unlike the previous summer transfer window, the signings completed by Manchester United and Solskjaer have been more down to the weak areas of the system and which departments needed serious strengthening, as the lack of quality and depth has been a massive concern in recent years.

The Red Devils have so far brought – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and Harry Maguire. With only a couple of days remaining until the transfer window comes to an end, Solskjaer will be hoping that the Ed Woodward will be able to deliver one or two more players for him. That player(s) is potentially looking likely to be either or both of Paulo Dybala and Bruno Fernandes, who have actually been linked with a move to the Red Devils throughout the summer, thanks to the English and Italian noisy press.

It’s time to start off with Wan-Bissaka, who is already regarded as one of the best right-backs in the Premier League and has quite the career ahead of him. Remembering that he is only 21-years-old and has evolved to quite a level over the last 12 months at Crystal Palace, there should not be any doubts all that he goes onto have a successful time at United, given his striking potential and actual quality.

However, the arrival of James will be regarded as the most exciting one out of the three, as his blistering pace down the flanks and his movement on and off the ball is something that United badly need on the wings. With both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford now beginning to play more through the middle, the side look to have a natural winger that can keep the team ticking and moving time and time again.

Finally, Harry Maguire’s £85million move from Leicester City to Old Trafford has recently been completed, allowing United to have a quality centre-back that can consistently defend, is able to play out from the back and is not injury prone. With the likes of Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones constantly being injured, Solskjaer now has a reliable individual that can pair up with Chris Smalling or Victor Lindelof on a weekly basis.

Key player

Following the departures of both Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini over the last eight months, United are badly in need of a competent and composed midfielder that could get them through the tough fixtures week by week. Although they aren’t expected to sign a defensive or central midfielder before the window is over, they may have a unique one in Scott McTominay, someone who has shown his consistency and pure hard work when playing in a number of tactical midfield roles.

Over the last 10 to 12 months, the Scottish international has proven that he can be a monumental leader in the middle of the pitch whilst also be seen as a player that can come into the team whenever required. The only serious downfall for the player is that he isn’t highly talented when compared to the other midfielders in the team and in the league, and his positioning on both sides could be analysed as a rising weakness.

Who should be sold?

At this moment of time, it looks like only Romelu Lukaku is expected to leave the club for Juventus, which is now dependent on if Paulo Dybala is prepared to leave the Italian champions or not. Other than that, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo are linked by the English media to leave the Premier Leaguse side, however, it does seem very late in the transfer window for them to be offloaded and replaced at the same time.

Manchester United’s strongest XI

With the current squad members, here is Manchester United’s strongest XI for the new season –

De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Martial, Sanchez, James; Rashford. (4-2-3-1 formation)

League prediction

Manchester United Football Club should be aiming for the league title season by season, however, they are still lacking the correct management off the pitch and the squad depth to keep up with the ambition and the expectations that the supporters have. On the other hand, if things do turn out to go from bad to worse throughout the campaign like it has in recent seasons, it would not be a total surprise to see the board and Ed Woodward sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by around February/March time, the same corrupted individuals who didn’t financially back the manager up in the first place.

Premier League – 4th place

Will Man Utd just about snap up a centre-back this summer?

Manchester United have had an impressive pre-season at a personal level, beating the likes of Perth Glory, Leeds United, Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur whilst playing good possession-based football with a high pressing style. Majority of the Old Trafford faithful will be hoping that this continues into the new campaign, as the previous season was as awful one to simply forget.

Not only that, the two signings in Aaron-Wan Bissaka and Daniel James has received the required game time and the calm consultation from the rest of the squad, in order for their respective careers to get going. Since the duo have arrived, the club now have a right-back that is one of the best in the league and a natural winger that is really fast, both footed and is able to play on either of the flanks.

However, focusing on if United are going to complete anymore transfers or not, they still desperately in need of two to three additions before the season eventually begins. The main position just happens to be the centre-back area, where they are clearly lacking a vocal leader and someone to consistently pair up with Victor Lindelof, who is currently regarded as the side’s best defender.

With Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones constantly being injury prone and unavailable for when the side need them the most, the options that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has are limited straightaway. Meanwhile, Axel Tuanzebe has quite the potential, but it is uncertain if he plays regularly or goes out on loan again, whilst Chris Smalling has been fairly good but has failed to reach the prospects he showed during his early days as a Fulham player and in his first season at United.

Although the club have recently been linked with the likes of Harry Maguire, Kalidou Koulibaly and Toby Alderweireld, there has not been enough closure from the English papers or the club’s media press to show they intend on making a third signing. There is a huge difference in the final outcome of the season if it is to happen or not, from finishing in the Europa League spots again to a top four finish and potential silverware.

After conceding over 50 league goals and keeping only a few clean sheets last season, the Red Devil supporters were seriously hoping that the people in charge and Ed Woodward himself would have seen the defence as the side’s main weakness. Given that Liverpool have Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City have Aymeric Laporte, two of the best centre-backs within England and Europe, United are yet to have someone of that calibre to lead them to a title challenge and make them defensively sound.

Had the hierarchy provided Jose Mourinho with a centre back last summer as per his request, a lot of things would have been different by now, with the club’s chances of finishing in the top four being increased instantly and also their odds in the domestic cups. Furthermore, the club’s planning for the transfer window has been below-par and absolutely atrocious, spending just under £150million and bringing in only five new additions together this summer and last summer, leaving many holes to still fill.

Overall, Manchester United will honestly not be competing with both Liverpool and Manchester City in the league anytime soon, especially when you see the difference in quality that both rival clubs have on and off the pitch. Though, if the club were to somehow bring in a centre-back within the next ten days, it would allow them to bring pure stability and protection to a dreadful defence whilst help them to a good term.

Ed Woodward and the monumental mistakes he has made

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In order for a massive football club to be successful consistently on the pitch, it must be ran well and be intelligently proactive off it. It’s one of the few and huge reasons to why the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus dominate their respective leagues whilst also convincingly challenge well in the Champions League, even if they haven’t won it for the last couple of years or so.

And then when you look at Manchester United, the money has always been there for the side to continue being ruthless time and time again. However, due to the lack of footballing knowledge of the Glazers as well as Ed Woodward, the most successful club in England have constantly gone back and forth whilst not finding the right medicine to take them back to where they used to belong.

Now, we dig deep into the mistakes that vice-chairman Ed Woodward has made…

Telling Rio Ferdinand he does not have a future at the club

At the time of the situation, the Red Devils went through a horrendous 2013-14 campaign under David Moyes. And to top it all of, Ed Woodward walked into the dressing room on the final day of the season and told Rio Ferdinand that his services are no longer required. The worst thing about it, the experienced individuals such as Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs left in the same summer, meaning that the United squad were missing the crucial veterans they looked up to.

For sure, he wasn’t going to remain as a regular starter at 35-years-old, but his incredible experience and likeable personality would have been something that the young defenders as well as the whole squad would have benefited from. United’s defensive issues unfortunately continued and were ongoing for the next few seasons, meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand went on to play his last year as a professional footballer at Queens Park Rangers in the next campaign, before eventually retiring.

Bragging to the media that the side can buy anyone in the world

One of the most uncomfortable statements made by Ed Woodward himself was back in 2014, where he had stated how financially dominant the club were, how the club’s strategy in the transfer window was well planned and how good the scouting department are. Five years on, United are in the same position, and have not been able to evidently prove these as a fact or a statement.

The club have never been the type to brag and publicise about their financial prowess or their ability to spend around £200million to £250million each summer window. However, since the interview was conducted by Woodward, other clubs have been able to poach extra money for when their respective players moved to Old Trafford, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred and Romelu Lukaku is the best examples, three individuals who are certainly not worth the figure they were brought for.

Hiring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer without keeping an eye out for other coaches

If we are being brutally honest, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wouldn’t have got the job on an interim-basis nor as the permanent manager of the club hadn’t it been for his previous success as a United football player. Otherwise, it would have been a similar situation of when the board had brought in David Moyes, someone who lacked the required intelligence and qualifications for the job. Looking quickly into Solskjaer’s managerial experience, he has managed only two small sides in Cardiff and Molde, which isn’t enough to warrant him a coaching position at a mid-table team such as Everton, Leicester City or Wolverhampton Wanderers, let alone a massive club like Manchester United.

On the other hand, the likes of Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane were quietly available before the 46-year-old Norwegian international had officially got the job, which does raise the questions of how Woodward had analysed the coaches before coming to a final outcome. Given that the proven managers in Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal were not able to lead the team to a title challenge, it does seem like the hierarchy opted to change their ways by bringing in someone that really understood the club’s style and mentality on and off the pitch.

Targeting/signing players by their reputation rather than by their quality

Going back to United’s recruitment and scouting process, it doesn’t seem like they actually have a plan in place and they prefer to do more business if they finish out of the Champions League spots. During the time where the club were preparing for Europa League football, they had still managed to bring in the top quality players such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Not only that, but Woodward has evidently shown his love for a marquee signing over the last couple of years, where he attempted to bring in either of Gareth Bale, Kaldiou Koulibaly or Neymar, but the end outcome itself was purely expected. With how much time and focus is wasted on trying to lure players into Old Trafford through the lucrative contracts rather than the club’s ambition, it’s a must for the recruiters to find individuals through their quality and the rising potential they have.

Manchester United aren’t doing enough to sell wantaway star Paul Pogba

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And so with just over a month to go until the transfer window closes firmly shut Manchester United still have Paul Pogba on their books, and the question has to be why?

Pogba has seemingly always had that link with United starting off his early career at the club only to be sold onto Juventus and then brought back by Jose Mourinho for a reported £80m. Pogba’s career simply has not taken off at United despite the odd game of brilliance, he has never brought consistency to his game, quite simply Pogba and United do not fit.

And yet when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho in December it really did seem like a connection had been made and that Pogba would be able to stay with the club. His performances completely turned around and he started to become the star of the team that everyone had hoped for when he first signed. Alas that ended when United started losing again and then Solskjaer started criticising and that was it, Pogba, the professional reverted back into his woe is me shell.

The biggest surprise is that United have not sold him yet. Why is this? Even Pogba wants to leave. One reason is probably that they want their money back at least on a player that cost a kings ransom. That isn’t happening and United will have to accept that Pogba’s value has gone down alongside his poor form, and he is a year older, all that combined means that Juventus who will probably take him back will not want to shell out more than 60m for his services. Juventus themselves are locked in talks with Ajax wonderkid Matthjis de Ligt and he could cost the old lady upwards of 70m, and so budgets are budgets, and they won’t be able to afford to pay too much for Pogba.

The hype surrounding Pogba is a strange one then, what is it that attracts big clubs to him? One answer could be his pace, his strength and his confidence- he lights up a team and the dressing room. But his technical skill for a player that commands such huge transfer fees and attention is a quite shocking.

The solution is simple Pogba needs to be sold, and if United want to talk to him and try to convince him to stay with the club they would be taking a step backwards. United are a proud club and if one of your players doesn’t want to play for you you need to act quickly and sell. For now it feels that United are dragging their feet over this- accept the price cut and move on.