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Everything wrong with Premier League giants Manchester United

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Manchester United suffer a massive 6-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.

If there was ever a scoreline to depict the current state of flux of Premier League side, Manchester United, it would be their latest loss against Tottenham Hotspur. It’s safe to say that it has been a couple of months to forget for everyone involved in and around the club. A sort of dark cloud of negativity, skepticism, and doubt has descended upon Old Trafford.

From failing to sign their primary transfer targets in the summer window to disastrous performances by the players on the pitch have left fans disappointed and furious with how things are being handled by the people in the upper echelons of the club, with the rage being directly aimed at The Glazers and Chief Executive of the club, Ed Woodward.

All the signs were there during the pre-season, when German club Borussia Dortmund slapped a 120 million dollar price tag on young English forward Jadon Sancho, who was considered United’s most important transfer target. Even though personal terms were agreed and were never a problem, the Red Devils’ bids kept getting rejected as they did not meet Dortmund’s valuation on the player. The club also failed to land many of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred transfer targets such as midfielder Jack Grealish and a defender like Dayot Upamecano or Nathan Ake.

What followed was a predictable sprint by the club to sign players on deadline day to save some sort of face in front of fans and avoid embarrassment for their lack of clarity and initiative in signing players. After initially signing only young Dutch midfielder Donny Van De Beek from Ajax before the start of the new season, Manchester United completed a number of transfers on the final day of the summer transfer window signing star striker Edinson Cavani (Free agent), left-back Alex Telles from Porto for 13.6 million pounds plus add-ons, 18-year-old Uruguayan footballer Facundo Pellistri from Penarol for 9 million pounds plus add-ons and exciting young talent Amad Diallo from Atlanta for 19 million pounds plus add-ons, who will join the club in January.

The skepticism and doubt over signing Cavani, a 33-year-old striker past his prime struggling with recurring injuries is imminent. Especially after experiences with signing similar players in the form of Radamel Falcao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Meanwhile, Alex Telles seems to be a good signing and should fit into the team well but even he wasn’t United’s first choice for Left back.

While the reinforcements during the transfer window have been mediocre, the squad’s performances on the pitch have been nothing short of catastrophic. United are lamenting down in 16th place in the league after just the one win in three games. Even that one solitary victory was to a Brighton side who played the better football and if it were not for a lucky 100th Minute penalty dispatched by Bruno Fernandes, things could’ve actually been even worse.

The Red Devils’ defensive frailties are glaringly obvious and it seems the other teams in the league have really started to take advantage. United are allowing an average of 5.7 shots per match this season compared to 2.6 last year and have shipped in a mammoth 11 goals in their three games with goalkeeper David De Gea yet to keep a clean sheet.

The center-back partnership between club captain Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof has clearly not been working and putting Eric Bailly in defense against Spurs didn’t help as they ended up shipping six. Now with Bailly out again with injury on international duty and Chris Smalling on his way permanently to Roma, The premier league giants are really short on quality center-back options.

This uncertainty and lack of confidence in defense seem to have carried on and affected players forward up the pitch too. A regression in attacking play from last season was understandable and expected due to the unsustainable amount of penalties won and an elite level of finishing by Mason Greenwood that was too good to continue. But United really seems to be struggling in the final third of the pitch, they’re creating chances but there’s no one clinical there to finish them off. According to ESPN, Ole’s men are 19th in the league in terms of xG differential which points to the fact that everyone in the forward half of the pitch is underperforming heavily.

The signings of Cavani and Telles along with the revival in form of many of the underperforming stars like Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, and Anthony Martial should help the premier league giants finish in and around the top 4. But with games coming thick and fast, the United players can’t afford to be sluggish and slip up any more than they have done. Ole will have to work with the squad he’s been given or he may be shown the door out pretty soon with manager Mauricio Pochettino still available.

Image Credit – Manchester United Facebook

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Dhruv Suri

Dhruv Suri

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