Manchester United still to this day remains one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the world, but it’s been relatively hard going for two times Champions League winners since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2013.
Six years on, United look to have regressed further, rather than take steps to get back on track, and this season could be doomed already.
Start Of The Season
United kicked off their campaign in style, beating Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at Old Trafford 4-0, but this didn’t tell the whole story. For large parts of the game, United were outplayed and outclassed by Chelsea, with their clinical finishing proving to be the difference on the day. United then headed to Molineux to take on Wolves, a team expected to be challenging for the top six, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men came away with a draw. A result that many would have felt was fair and to be expected.
Losing At Old Trafford
It was Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford that saw the cracks appear once again. Despite having a massive 71% of the ball throughout the match, United only managed to hit the target three times, the same number of times as Palace. United fell behind to a Jordan Ayew goal after Vincent Lindelof lost an aerial duel to send the former Swansea man through to slot pas Davide De Gea. United did hit back, with another former Swansea player in Dan James on target, but Patrick van Aanholt beat De Gea on his near post in the 93rd minute to secure a 2-1 victory.
Nobody is expecting United to take on their local rivals City or arch enemies Liverpool this season, but third and fourth place are very much up for grabs, and therefore so is a place in next season’s Champions League. A competition which would bring in funds while allowing them to attract significant talent to the club once again.
The Right Manager
Questions should of Solskjaer’s credentials as a manager, a man who seemed to succeed in temporary charge, with United’s form dramatically declining once he became the permanent manager. United may have been better off sticking to their guns and going after a more credible manager such as Spurs gaffer Mauricio Pochettino.
The Woodward Role
The club’s structure also needs to be addressed and fast. Ed Woodward is still pulling strings on the football side, in a role where he has underperformed consistently. United’s recruitment has been terrible in most cases for the last six seasons, and while Wan Bissaka and Maguire joined this summer, they need more players of that quality. Solskjaer’s trust in youngsters such as James, McTominay and Pereira is all well and good, but are these players good enough to bring the glory days back?
The Next Three Games
Next up for United are Southampton, a team you would fancy them to stand a good chance of beating, but then comes games against Leicester, West Ham and Arsenal, three fixtures which will likely offer an insight into exactly what should be expected of United, Solskjaer and the youngsters he’s relying on this season.