Posted on October 9th, 2019
The season started so well for Manchester United with their 4-0 win over Chelsea, but since then the Red Devils have won just twice in nine outings in all competitions. It’s also fair to say that those two 1-0 wins over Leicester City and Astana were less than thrilling entertainment for the Old Trafford faithful.
With this weekend’s defeat to Newcastle, United is now in 12th place, 2 points away from the relegation zone and 15 points further from the 1st place.
The deep-rooted problems at the Theatre of Dreams have become a nightmare for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and there is a sense that he won’t be able to see the season out according to most bookmakers. It’s almost a worst start of the season than the Miami Dolphins are doing in the NFL.
Is the manager really the problem? Or are the problems something that is out of the control of the Norwegian? Either way, the blame will solely fall on his shoulders, and he will be ushered out of the door. The problems at United have stemmed back since the departures of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill in the summer of 2013.
The overwhelming issue that many United fans have is with Ed Woodward in the position that Gill used to occupy, and his appointment into that position has seen Gill missed possibly more than Ferguson. The recruitment has been all wrong, and the position of Woodward despite having no football experience irks fans. He was appointed by the Glazers in that summer, and the decision was never likely to go down well.
He has been considered by most as completely inept for the role that he holds, and that has been shown by the business that United have done. It has been blunder after blunder over the past six years. It has seen United change direction in their policies time and again.
They started out with David Moyes, before opting to play a more possession-based game with Louis van Gaal and then a win at all cost’s mantra with Jose Mourinho. All philosophies would require different players, and now under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there is a youthful approach. United should use clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester City as an inspiration into how to run the club.
Of course, there will be some blame placed at the door of the manager, as he does have the squad that should be capable of challenging. The performances levels over recent seasons have been that hard that the challenge of picking the five worst United performances is up for debate. That was never the case under Ferguson, and instead, players would run through brick walls for the Scot. This isn’t all Solskjaer’s fault; as the predecessors will need to take their fair share of the blame too.
Mourinho destroyed the confidence of every player in the squad, while van Gaal was too concerned with keeping the ball than scoring. As for Moyes, he was purely faced with the ominous task of replacing Ferguson, and that job would have been too much for anybody.
If United are going to stick with the same philosophy, then the next manager that comes in after Solskjaer must be one that has thrived working with younger players.
The blame doesn’t stop at the manager at United. The problem is the player’s that are, and have been at the club over the past seasons. Some of them it is difficult to blame as they just aren’t the quality that is needed, but others have the quality but are hiding when the pressure is too much. Fans are quick to point at Paul Pogba, but even at the most difficult times, he has been a player that has been willing to get on the ball.
But, if there is one player that epitomises everything that has been wrong with United since Ferguson it is Alexis Sanchez. The former Arsenal player moved to United in the January window because the Red Devils wanted to stop him from going to Manchester City, and his performances have been underwhelming at best.
He never settled at Old Trafford, and he was brought at a time when United already had enough quality in the same position. It was a move that United shouldn’t emulate again. If they have learnt their lesson, they won’t be signing players with this motive again.
They have managed to send Sanchez on loan to Inter Milan and somehow, Alexis has already made an impression in the new club, same way as his teammate Lukaku. Both players have already scored under Conte for Inter and they have been enjoying a fairly good season start. Does this mean that the problem are not the players, but United environment as a whole?