Another disappointing week has come to a close for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side. They are without a win since returning from the international break, in three games which they were strong favourites to take maximum points.
What will be most worrying for the manager and fans alike is their side’s incapability of holding a lead. United were in winning positions in all of the games but were unable to take three points on every occasion (Sky Sports).
United’s inconsistency has been their main problem this season and with some huge fixtures coming up, they are in desperate need of two good performances. Games against Tottenham and Manchester City could make or break the Reds’ season and decide the fate of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
A visit from ‘The Special One’
United face a midweek visit from former boss Jose Mourinho as he looks to continue his fine start as Spurs manager with a 4th consecutive win. Their rejuvenation under new management has seen them climb back up within striking distance of the top four, six points off Frank Lampard’s youthful Chelsea.
It is a must-win at Old Trafford for United or they risk the top four pulling further out of reach. A loss would see them fall five points adrift off Tottenham, and potentially 11 points behind the Champions League spots (Premier League). Even at this early stage of the season, it would be a huge deficit to overcome, especially with the top four rarely faltering.
Three points would take some of the pressure off Solskjaer heading into the Manchester derby, but anything less and United fans will be questioning the future of the Norwegian going into one of the biggest games of the season.
The Manchester Derby
The result in the midweek game against Spurs will have a massive impact on how United approach their Saturday night trip to the Etihad. Three points against Mourinho’s side will ease the pressure on Solskjaer’s men going into the City game and we could see a free-flowing United attack with not a lot to lose.
However, if United fail to secure a victory against Tottenham, the derby becomes a can’t-lose tie and we are likely to see a defensive performance with little attacking intent. United’s defence have not proven themselves capable of keeping teams at bay, with only two clean sheets in the league this season (BBC).
If they turn up to the Etihad with the sole intention of keeping City out at all costs, they will lose. Pep Guardiola’s side have only failed to score once in all competitions this season and will more than likely break United’s leaky defence down.
Solskajer’s side have to make a game of it and give as good as they get. They have enough talent in attacking areas to trouble City’s shaky defence and will have more of a chance of taking points off the champions if they can turn it into an open game.
The dream scenario for United fans would be to end the week with six points taken off some of their biggest rivals. However, with Tottenham’s recent upturn in form and City’s relentless goalscoring, Solskjaer would probably bite your hand off if you offered him four points from the two games.
United must win at Old Trafford on Wednesday to alleviate some pressure and they will then be confident they can nick a point against City at the weekend. Four points would keep them in the top-six conversation and allow them to build some momentum going into a busy Christmas period.
On the other hand, if Solskjaer’s side fail to win both games or even come away without a point, discontent will be growing amongst the fans. It would then only be a matter of time until the board are forced to make a decision on the United legends’ future at the club.