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.

Manchester United finally seal the deal to get Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace

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Manchester United have been after Aaron Wan-Bissaka for some time and this morning it was confirmed that the former Crystal Palace player was now a Red Devil. What will this mean for United as they try and look for a different chapter in their history and quash recent troubles that seem to have engulfed the team since Sir Alex Ferguson’s resignation.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s career at United started off brilliantly as the team seemingly could not lose when his feel good factor tactics and play lifted the side from the gloominess surrounding Jose Mourinho. But United finished the season very poorly and the Norwegian’s pedigree was being rightly questioned. Had United jumped the ship too quick in offering him a 3 year contract, it did seem like it. However something that Solsjkaer does deserve is to have a proper summer transfer window afforded to him before he is truly judged. Now he has this he has swooped for Wan-Bissaka and if reports are to be led to be true United have paid £50m for their man. Decent money in this day and age for football transfers.

Wan Bissaka will play at right back for the club and he is only 21 with huge potential, it is thought that he will be earning £80,000 a week, so a massive increase on his reported £10,000 a week with Palace.

It is no secret that despite Palace having a good to average season that their defence had a very good one compared to their final league position. Palace finished in 12th place and the Eagles conceded 53 goals but that was the 10th best defensive record in the Premier League.

United have signed a player who seems to play beyond his years, movement and judgement are sound and he likes to lead by example, he could well be the captain of the club within a few seasons. The huge potential is there and let’s not forget that he was voted as Crystal Palace’s best player of the season.

For the player a move to United represents a dream come true and it will only be a matter of time before he breaks through to the England national team. He has played at under 21 level but never for the seniors. Playing at United will surely afford him that chance.

Solskjaer then has signed Daniel James an attacking winger and Wan-Bissaka for his first two signings in the summer window, both British players and it will be interesting to see who he signs next as he tries to turn the page and enter a different chapter for the famous club.

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Have Manchester United made a huge mistake giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer manager’s job?

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Let’s admit it we all believed that Manchester United made the right decision in sacking Jose Mourinho in December and bringing in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. After coming into the team the Norwegian with a smile wider than Manchester embraced the ethos of the club and they went on a 10 game unbeaten run which included knocking PSG out of the Champions League, the good times had returned to Old Trafford, or so we thought.

Since signing a 3 year permanent contract Manchester United’s form has dipped so bad, that it is worse than Mourinho’s first three months of the season and would place the club in 19th place in the league. A 4-0 loss at Everton was supposed to be the worst pick of the bunch. But how about drawing at bottom club Huddersfield or better still losing at home to Cardiff by 2-0 who had already been relegated themselves. It was Cardiff who were the first team to be beaten by Solskjaer’s United side winning 5-1 away from home just before Christmas, how things had changed.

One has to wonder if United have not performed a classic knee jerk reaction. Should they have waited until the end of the season to make a judgement whether Solskjaer was the right man for the job?

Mourinho no matter how talented as a coach he is had to go, he was never the perfect fit for the club that much was evident. And yet he left with the memory of winning the Europa League, the Carabao Cup and placing United in their highest position of 2nd since Sir Alex Ferguson left. Indeed since Mourinho was sacked United have taken backwards steps and will not be playing in the Champions League next season which has got to hurt.

Many would put the blame at the players, and it is clear that half of the first team squad could be sold on in the summer. Quality players who are simply not performing well for the club week in week out. Once the new manager syndrome eroded and the club dropped their first points under him, the confidence was taken from them like a sweet shop owner who forgot to lock the doors adjacent to a school.

What United have done in the cold light of day is replace a world class manager with a proven track record and trophies with a manager who wins trophies with Molde in the Norwegian league. Had Ole never played for United then he would never have been considered and this seems like the most fatal mistake for Ed Woodward and his United staff.

This isn’t to say that the future looks bleak. After all with a clear out of players that could do the club good, but the problem is that they will want to attract the calibre of players that are at Champions League level, a competition they are not in. Next season sadly looks like being a long and testing one for the club and it will be fascinating to see if Solskjaer can prove his doubters wrong and bring the results in.

Fred is starting to adapt well at Man Utd, and will only get better

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Manchester United’s lack of midfield depth and quality is quite concerning compared to the top teams in the Premier League, especially when you’re a meant to be either challenging for the league title or finishing in the top four, despite the situation they have found themselves in at the moment.

However, central midfielder Fred, who they spent over £50million on to bring to Old Trafford last summer window from Shakhtar Donetsk, has started to show bright moments here and there as he has began to gain a good understanding with the likes of Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Victor Lindelof.

Over the last couple of months, he has shown his range of passing to shift the ball out at a quick pace to making the interceptions and tackle in the middle of the pitch when required. On top of that, he has shown some good awareness of when to drop deep to build-up the play from the back to progressing possession into the final third, something that is not done often by the midfielders.

For sure, many of the Premier League experts and pundits will see the Brazilian international as one of the flops of the season, purely because he couldn’t get into the team on a regular basis and when he did, he was unable to stamp his mark on the game or dominate the midfield and the opposition.

Having made 17 league appearances, with 13 of them being from the start of the match, Fred will have understood his debut season may not have gone down as he had predicted and will be one of the players hoping that the club have a massive overhaul in the summer. If this is to happen, a solid backline and a natural winger may allow him to play with more freedom and protection around him.

To be fair to Fred, a number of midfielders that have arrived at the club over the last couple of years or so have struggled to get going within the side’s style of play. Morgan Schneiderlin is often seen as the perfect example, someone who was once seen as one of the best holding midfielders at Southampton, but had failed to replicate the demanding performances in a Manchester United kit.

Meanwhile, both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Matic have been seen as the ideal individuals that could fill the void that was left by Michael Carrick, a player that was a regular starter for the club for many years as he kept the side ticking through his intelligence as well as his composure on and off the ball. This instantly sums up the ongoing matter at the club, where they have found it really difficult to replace the players who have been loyal servants and very vocal season by season.

The questions have been raised about the future of Fred, purely because no one in the dressing room is totally safe following another unconvincing and horrendous season in all competition. On the other hand, the pre-season tour as well as the next campaign will be the defining moment for the Brazilian international and his time at Old Trafford, whether he goes on to prove the manager and his critics wrong, or he ends up having an average season and falls down the pecking order.

Manchester United have just kissed goodbye to Champions League football next season

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Manchester United could only draw 1-1 against Chelsea and that should be the final nail in their coffin of what has been a miserable season for the Red Devils.

It started off in pre season when Jose Mourinho seemingly moaned about everything from missing out on transfers, not feeling the support of the board and not having all of his players on their American tour, and it has never really let up.

Yes his sacking was needed even if by and large certain players were not pulling their weight- a new a manager had to step in and at first Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked like that man. The team went the next 3 months unbeaten and flirted with the top 4 when in December it looked impossible.

Confidence cannot be underestimated and the happiness and let’s face it love that the Norwegian brought to the club even extended outside of the Premier League when they stunned PSG in Paris to knock them out, with some luck, in the Champions League. And then it all went wrong.

Now in the quarter finals of the Champions League and top 4 of the Premier League, United gave Solskjaer the job full time, and the results started to go stale. Wolves knocked them out of the FA Cup and Barcelona made light work of them in the Champions League. Wolves also beat United in the league, something was wrong and the mood in the camp was back to five months ago.

This was brought to a head when Everton slaughtered United 4-0 and then they lost the derby to Manchester City. This Chelsea match was seen as the final roll of the dice and even though ex Chelsea player Juan Mata put his side in front, Chelsea struck back to earn a draw.

United have won just 1 game in their past five and people are searching for scapegoats. This is unfair of course, because surely you win and lose and draw as a team. However the spotlight has been shone on two players. Romelu Lukaku who rarely scores now and looks unfit and David De Gea one of the best goal keepers in Europe who has been poor in the clubs last four games. De Gea isn’t just having bad games, he is making blunder upon blunder which is completely unlike him, but his performances are mirroring United’s season.

The Draw against Chelsea will most probably mean United will not be playing Champions League football next season. With 2 games to go Tottenham are 5 points clear of United and home and dry. Chelsea are 3 points. It just seems too far a stretch to come back from now.

United will play Huddersfield next and that should be 3 points and Cardiff could make it two wins. But it seems too much to ask to see both Chelsea and Arsenal simply collapse in their final two games. Having said that Arsenal are experiencing their worst form of the season and much like United have imploded at the final jump.

One thing for United is sure- none of this latest form should be blamed on Solskjaer- the Norwegian needs a summer transfer window and a full season to be judged properly.

Though it is clear that the roses have been tossed in the bin, and the gloves are off.