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Do Solshire and Manchester United have the right to dream of the title?

Welcome, let’s start by reviewing 5 reasons why Manchester United qualify to win the Premier League title this season: First, Bruno Fernandes is a legendary player, and he may be the best midfielder in the world now. Second, Manchester United has all the historical motives to return after years of loss. Thirdly and most importantly, after his crush on Leeds and their coach Bielsa, the man whom the likes of Guardiola and Pochettino regard as their inspiration and mentor, Solskjaer has proven that he is a tactical genius who can never be underestimated, and that he is capable of … hahaha. We’re kidding, of course. (1)

The above was the introduction of one of the “Football 365” editors, who refused to be named, in a report titled “Five reasons why Manchester United qualify to win the Premier League this season.” The only difference is that he was not joking, unfortunately. (1)

In such cases, that is, in a case where a team competes for the championship without a convincing performance, a few phrases are repeated almost always, and analysts and followers treat them as one package, so it is said, for example, that the problem of Manchester United is that it is a volatile and weak team, and its performance cannot be expected, then it is added to what Previously the phrase “a team without identity”, of course, as it corresponds to the vibration of the level and the fluctuation of the team’s conditions.

This is the first problem here; Manchester United is a really volatile team, but the reason for that is that they are a team with a very clear identity; A team that is able to counterattacks efficiently and its elements are at the top of their mental and psychological state when they encounter an opponent who wants to keep the ball and spin it, then all that is missing is to choose the right moment to hijack the ball and pounce on the spaces. This is the identity created by Mourinho and cemented by Solshire after him, despite all the latter’s enthusiastic statements about “the return of Manchester United offensive ball” and “sticking to the legacy of Sir Alex Ferguson”, which later turned out to be just statements for media consumption and tickling the feelings of the fans. (2) (3)

Throughout Solshire’s career with United, which has now surpassed the two seasons, the team earned an average of 2.15 points from matches in which its possession was less than 50%, and when its possession exceeded that percentage, the points dropped to 1.7 per game. (4)

This statistic alone was enough to keep Manchester United out of the competition for the title this season, or any season under Solshire in general. In fact, it was only a 3-0 win over Everton that prevented United and their worst start at home in the last 30 years!

This brings us to the second reason why United Solskjaer is a very volatile team; Bruno Fernandes, the man who guaranteed winning points for the Norwegian against Everton with a remarkable performance as usual, who, since joining, has completely turned the equation in the literal sense of the phrase, as United get more points when they get a greater amount of possession compared to their opponents. (4)

Solshire

This did not, of course, solve the problem. Rather, it created another problem of less weight, which is the exaggerated dependence on the Portuguese, to the point that made him participate with more than half of United’s goals in the months he played with them, either by industry or by scoring, and without it United Solskjaer would turn into a team struggling to relegate. Result and performance. (5)

Of course, Bruno’s performance had an effect on the rest of the team, including Pogba, whose pride received a bad blow as a result of the brilliance of the Portuguese, a slap that finally made him feel that Manchester United would not hope for him to stay as he expected, and he finally became ready to abandon him, which prompted him to give his best in weeks. The latter, although this is not, of course, sufficient to justify the mythical figure that the demons spent for it, in addition to the motives of this awakening remain under suspicion, as it is more likely that its only reason is to secure a new transfer to Real Madrid or a return to Juventus, as indicated by continuous press reports. (6)

In spite of all of this, even Bruno’s superhuman efforts every week did not succeed in ending the ups and downs of United, but rather United has fluctuated even in its results away from home, that is, the only thing that the Norwegian excelled in last season, which confirms that the situation has not improved much in Old Trafford this season. Manchester United did not improve, but rather the rest were the ones who fell back hard.

Digitally, United Solskjaer has scored at least 7 more points than expected this season, and it is puzzling that most of them came away from home from two victories against Brighton and West Ham, in two matches that it was logical for Solskjaer to lose based on the opportunities made available to score for each team, as each outperformed them. Graham Potter and David Moyes are clearly shown in the number and quality of chances over 90 minutes. (7) (8)

picture; West Ham match statistics, chances made and goals predicted for each team – Source Anderstatt

picture; Brighton match stats, chances made, and goals predicted for each team – Source Anderstatt

Also against City at home, Solshire got a point despite the fact that the quality of the chances and their number on the scale of “Xg” (expected goals) was clearly inclined towards Guardiola’s team, and on the other hand, the opposite happened against Leicester, as United equalized after disastrous individual errors despite That he was clearly better than his opponent, winning one point instead of the 2.16 that the algorithm expected him based on the available chances. (9) (10)

picture; City match statistics, chances made and goals predicted for each team – Source Anderstatt

picture; City match statistics, chances made and goals predicted for each team – Source Anderstatt

The volatility is evident even in the matches United won outside their home country, as the team only kept a clean sheet in only 6 out of 19 matches, and in many of these matches it played a bad first run during which it scored goals and then returned in the result during the second half, which is what It brings us to the third problem.

Usually when a club like Manchester United chooses a man like Solshire to take over the manager’s position, his lack of experience and tactical knowledge is compensated for by an assistant who can fill this void, and that was the problem in Manchester Solshire and it is still so, between Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna there is no one person who can Compensating for Solskjaer’s tactical shortcomings, although McCaina is the closest to this role, but we do not imagine that the fourth man in the coaching staff has many opportunities to influence the choices of formation and game plan. (11)

This situation has earned Manchester United a bad habit that raises its head from time to time, which are the bad beginnings, the beginnings during which you feel that the technical staff made mistakes in many matters and did not study their opponent well, which leads to a delay in the result and then relying on Fernandes’s efforts and Kavani’s help to compensate in Second half.

Trio Phelan, Carrick and Makina had a clear role in feeding the first team with excellent elements from the academy and creating a strong bench that gave it depth not appreciated enough.

When United won six against Leeds, his bench included: Dean Henderson, Eric Baie, Alexander Theys, Pogba, Match, Van de Beek, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani. Daniel Story, editor of Four Four Two, considered it the most powerful bench in Europe’s length and breadth this week, and he’s probably right.

The problem is that this is the best that the trio can do to the first team; Names such as Rashford, Greenwood, McTominay, Henderson and others, as for preparing for matches, studying opponents and devising new tactical methods to address the current existing problems, it does not seem that they can add much, and it seems clear that this crisis will continue as long as Solshire is coach of Manchester United.

Being a coach without huge tactical knowledge or just starting your way is not a big problem these days, especially if you look at the names who are currently coaching Europe’s big teams. The real problem is that you are a coach without huge tactical knowledge and do not realize that you are a trainer without huge tactical knowledge, and therefore do not seek to hire someone to help you in these matters.

This is the problem with this school of coaches, it seems, who played and retired at a time that has been overtaken by current events and developments. Ferguson, for example, was not a tactician in any sense of the meaning, but he never sought the help of someone who excelled in knowledge in these matters, perhaps because he felt that this might shake his image in front of his players, and his belief that his position in the minds of his players is much more important than any addition that any specialized tactical mind might give him .

This problem also appears evident in contracts of the type of Donnie Van de Beek, the man who came to United and became locked in the bench for a very simple reason, which is that neither Solshire, his assistants, nor Woodwards have sufficiently studied his career and his playing style, but rather relied on their ability to persuade him to do what he was asked to do. And even if that was completely different from what he was providing with Ajax.

Donnie Van de Beek

This is the same problem that Lampard has with Havertz as well. The likes of Lampard and Solskjaer have not yet realized that times have changed, and that if you are not Klopp, Guardiola or Allegri, it is difficult to recruit players to take on different roles and change their style and tasks completely to find a place in your squad. It is difficult to convince those who starred with Ajax as a free player to adhere to harsh defensive tasks that are not accustomed to in the Netherlands, and it is more difficult to convince the most expensive German player in history to switch from a player served by the system in Leverkusen to another serving the system in Chelsea.

Even Guardiola, Clob and Allegri did not succeed in all their attempts, and it was difficult for them to adapt some of the players to their desire, simply because the names of the clubs, their history and the glamor of playing for them no longer aroused the same prestige in the hearts of young stars as they did in the past, not even the names of the coaches themselves.

The only thing that has clearly improved in Manchester United in recent weeks is the amount of effort the team exerts during matches, as it gradually escalated from the start of the season until the moment, which was confirmed by Solskjaer after meeting Leeds with his statements that United has become “a stronger and fitter team”, which is a positive point. It is never underestimated, especially with a team that constantly plays on transformations and relies on running in spaces behind the opponent’s lines, but at the same time it is positive that confirms all of the above negatives and does not deny them. (4)

picture; Manchester United players ’physical fitness at Old Trafford this season as measured by the number of kilometers the team traveled per match – Source Sky

It is difficult to expect the Premier League champion, of course, this is a phrase that has been exhausted by repetition through past seasons, but it remains true this season at least, with the short preparation period and the flood of injuries in all teams, and the repercussions of Covid that still threaten the season with cancellation until the moment, but despite all of that we can To say with a clear conscience that Manchester United needs a miracle to win the title, a miracle that will not come from the red side of Manchester at least, and until it occurs it would be naive for Salshire and his men to dream of the title, and so are the dreams, they are often naive.

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Sources

  1. 5 reasons Manchester United won the Premier League this season – Football 365
  2. Can Solshire take Manchester United to the promised Premier League land this season? Independent
  3. Solshire nostalgia for Ferguson’s days with his pledges – The Standard
  4. Has the title challenge started for Solshire? – Sky
  5. Relying on Bruno Fernandes creates a problem for United Solskjaer – Guardian
  6. Paul Parker: “The brilliance of Fernandes is smacking Bogba’s pride” – Goal
  7. Stats for West Ham and Manchester United – Understat
  8. Brighton vs Manchester United match stats – Understat
  9. Statistics for the match between United and City – Understat
  10. Leicester vs United match stats – Understat
  11. Get to know Manchester United’s technical apparatus – Manchester Evening News




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