Manchester United deserved the beating they took at the hands of West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored the goals to keep their side unbeaten after the opening weekend of the season. United now have two defeats, two wins and two draws in six Premier League matches.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really needs to look at things that need to be changed on order to get the best out of his squad, that is if they want to give him the best. Some of these players have seen at least three managers at the club and could feel it in themselves to see at least another before they head for pastures new.
United will have the Carabao Cup third round match against Rochdale to find their feet but that will not give them any bragging rights whatsoever. In order to get over what they have endured, a good start to the season which turned into a continuation of a poor spell under the Norwegian. He needs to find a way out of this one to get United firing again.
Where was the leadership, desire, hunger, fight, energy and the will to win?
Against the Hammers, there was no fight, will to win, desire, determination, hunger nor leadership for that matter. For a club as big as United, this should be the bare minimum. Do these players get off by not winning? Do they care about the future success of the club? Do they realise the opportunity that they have been given?
In any other job, these players would be fired for not doing what they have to do. Football is different as its a 50/50 game from the very start. There are winners and losers, and despite wanting it to be so different, United seem to be losers at this moment in time. Each and every player will need to look hard at themselves in the mirror and ask questions.
Am I good enough for United? Do I have the hunger and the desire to win? Am I able to hold myself responsible when I make mistakes, or is it the fault of the manager? These questions need to be answered honestly. The ones that find more negatives do not belong at this club, they are part of the problem. The manager of the club needs to find them and get rid.
There are many things lacking at United, creativity is just one of those things.
United started the season by scoring four goals against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. That start to the season soon came to a halt after failing to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, Crystal Palace, and Southampton, then the 1-0 victories over Leicester City and Astana, followed by the poor result away to West Ham. United need to find a way to score goals.
In order for a goal to be scored, there needs to be creativity. Right now, there is none of that. Marcus Rashford has frustrated this season. He has scored three goals but two of them have been penalties. Anthony Martial has been lively, but for the past few weeks, injured and unable to play. Daniel James has scored three good goals, which is good for him.
The team is not creative. It was not creative last season, or the season before. Some of the best football that United has played has not been all that recent. There was a purple patch when Solskjaer took over last year but that fizzled out in March. You might need to look back to Louis van Gaal, David Moyes or Sir Alex Ferguson to find good football, consistently.
Injuries are going to be very costly this season. Youth could prop up this team though, no young players should be written off.
This season, United started with Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah on the sidelines – the latter two overcoming knee injuries and surgery. Not long after, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba joined the injury list and today, in the 2-0 defeat to West Ham, Marcus Rashford was added to that list. This will be a long season.
Injuries happen to every club, I mean Norwich City had ten players on their injury list not that long ago and they still managed to produce a victory over Manchester City, a team which scored eight goals against Watford this weekend. There are problems that need to be avoided in terms of injuries and replacing the unfit players in the squad.
Mason Greenwood missed this match due to illness, which was a big blow after scoring his first goal for the club, at a competitive first team level. Him overcoming his illness and Rashford not having a serious injury, along with Pogba, Shaw and Martial returning for the next game, which would be a blessing for us all.
Younger players are the ones we have our hopes on this season, time for the older players to admit they don’t offer much?
When you see supporters of the club talking about the talented youth, you see that they are desperate for them to be given a chance. On Thursday, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong both started, both were criticised by the ‘Einsteins’ who had clearly decided that they were not good enough as should not play for a while.
The future of the club lies with the youth as the current crop of players in the first team is underachieving. The likes of Gomes, Chong, Mason Greenwood, James Garner, Ethan Laird, Dylan Levitt and even Brandon Williams are the players who may come through and set a benchmark. It almost never happens from the very start.
In the 1995/96 season, the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt came through from the academy ranks. A 3-0 defeat in the League Cup, first leg to York City was not Beckham’s finest moment. However, he did not give up like some supporters have done with the current crop – he fought for his place and bettered himself.
When you gamble, you need a contingency plan to avoid failure. Lessons need to be learned here.
Solskjaer gambled this season and so far it has not paid off. It may do but many cannot see the wood for the trees at this moment in time. It seems to easy for so-called supporters to come out with their bile on social media; sack the manager, get rid of the owners, do this, do that. Easily said than done. How many time do you keep sacking managers?
Solskjaer let Ander Herrera leave as a free agent this summer – he wanted more money, the club felt he was not worth that. No replacement obtained. Romelu Lukaku also wanted to leave he left, no replacement. Granted, if you think about James Garner and Mason Greenwood, both players have been replaced, however, it is a gamble.
When gambling does not pay off, there needs to be a contingency, think Yellowhammer. The contingency plan then needs to be implemented when the gamble has not paid off. I don’t think Solskjaer has a contingency plan for this gamble, he may have hoped it could pay off. So far it has not, but it might, in time.