The fallen giant, you can’t describe Manchester United in better words than these. Once a mighty force feared by it’s rivals, Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjær have become a tamed lion who has not only lost his claim on the throne but has also lost his tag of a fierce predator. Every week we see Sir Alex Ferguson sit in the stands and watch his once dominant side struggle to pick up points against Premier League strugglers and he must wonder as we all do, how can Manchester United turn this around?
Let’s look at few checkboxes that Solskjær has to tick if he wants to earn back the former glory of Red Devils:
Anthony Martial, The Boy Needs To Play
Who can forget the famous comment Peter Dury made when Anothy Martial played his debut match against Liverpool coming as a 65th minute substitute for Juan Mata, and when the then 18-year-old danced his way towards the Liverpool goal and put the ball beyond a helpless Simon Mignolet’s reach, Dury was quoted saying, “They said the boy could play, The Boy can play!”
If there was ever a time when Manchester United wanted their boy to play, it’s now, for all the quality that a Marcus Rashford may poses, Martial is still the most talented forward in the squad. Though he has failed to live upto the high expectations, limiting himself to only a few flashes of artistry that his legs poses. If Solskjær can bring the best out of the Frenchman and make him deliver on a consistent basis then he would have solved one of his two biggest problems, one being the forward line and the other being their woeful midfield.
Solving The Midfield Jigsaw
Manchester United have paid £188 million in transfer fee for their current midfield options, excluding the academy graduates like Scott McTominay, Jesse Lingard and others. If there was ever a competition of wasting hundreds of millions then Manchester United would surely come first. Millions spent and still an average midfield, that’s Ed Woodward for you.
What Solskjær needs to do now is simple, sign someone who’s actually good. If they can hold on to Paul Pogba and can sign someone who can accompany him in the midfield with someone like a Scott Mctominay playing as pivot of the trio then that system could actually be considered as a top-four worthy midfield. Though Solskjær needs to find his man firstly, ideally a Bruno Fernandes who has that, much wanted, attacking flair and elegance, and then wish that Ed Woodward can actually deliver him his desired player, something Woodward isn’t renowned for.
Old Trafford, Make It The Theatre Of Dreams Back Again
Freddie Ljungberg was quoted in his pre-match conference saying, “The only way to change that is how you play. The fans were amazing at Norwich, we were on top and they got energy from that.
“At the Emirates, fans want us to play good football and that’s the only way to get them going.”
Now for all the rivalry that exists between the Gunners and the Red Devils, these two big clubs are on a very similar trajectory and what Ljungberg said is exactly what Solskjær needs to understand. You can’t win back the Old Trafford faithful playing the Sam Allardyce way, even if the club is going through a transitional period he needs to be playing some quality football at the very least, because that’s how big clubs play.
The Old Trafford which once witnessed some of the finest football played by a football team is now witnessing a team which is struggling to get even one good move together, there is no rhythm or flair to their game.
The job that Ole Gunnar Solskjær has on his hands is surely not an easy one but while we do accept the fact that the club is going through a rebuilding phase, but he still needs to realise that it’s Manchester United and they just can’t afford to be as awful as they have been. And while he has bought himself some time with the win against Tottenham Spurs and Manchester City, but he still needs to get on a roll before it’s too late.