Manchester United are facing a massive setback after succumbing to a 2-0 defeat against West Ham on Sunday.
It wasn’t the defeat itself that was shocking. West Ham didn’t have a great game, even though they scored two fantastic goals. United’s inability to create chances, however, was really worrying.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s start as the manager promised attacking football and the goals were flying in initially. Since his permanent appointment, there seems to have been a shift in the intensity of the team.
However, the season is still in its first few stages and there’s more than enough time to turn things around for the Norwegian. Here are 3 changes he has to make to improve their fortunes:
Drop Nemanja Matic for Fred
The Serbian was like a dummy over the weekend and his inability to close Mark Noble down was one of the factors for the concession of the first goal. The Serbian had a fantastic first 6 months at Old Trafford and was an important part of a Chelsea squad that won 2 Premier League titles but he looks like a shadow of his former self.
You only have to look at the first game he ever played for the Red Devils, where he faced the very same side they faced on Sunday. In the game, he won the ball back in the midfield, laid it to Marcus Rashford and then made an overlapping run to allow him to set it up for Romelu Lukaku.
One would be surprised that Matic was even capable of that now and he needs be dropped for the more dynamic Fred, who was playing line-breaking passes for the 20 minutes.
Drop Juan Mata
Another player who has had a massive dip is the Spaniard. He did not look for a single forward pass in his favoured central role.
The central role might have come too late but he doesn’t even seem to have the touch that he once had. United have seen declining players in the last couple of years in Wayne Rooney, Alexis Sanchez and Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Spaniard is another example.
Jesse Lingard and Angel Gomes would be better alternatives.
Push Marcus Rashford to the wings
Marcus Rashford is still only 21 and he might go onto become a number 9 over time by putting on some weight, which might help his hold-up play but it’s still too early for him to be leading the line for Manchester United.
He has a lot of attributes and he seems like a willing worker, always looking to improve himself but it’s not his time yet.
Rashford has most of the attributes of an inside forward as he likes to run in behind but with United expected to have the lion’s share of possession in most games, they need someone who can hold it up and bring people into play.
His injury might come as a blessing for Manchester United as Anthony Martial will likely be back to full fitness for the game against Arsenal and Daniel James and Mason Greenwood might take the two other forward roles, which, on paper, looks the best.
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