Manchester City lost further points on Liverpool, following a 0-2 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Liverpool won 2-1 against Leicester City on Saturday, opening up an eight-point cushion over City.
The Blues weren’t at the races on Sunday from minute one. Without De Bruyne, City looked lethargic and passive in the attack. Albeit Wolves defended resolutely, and counter attacked with real pace and quality.
A hugely disappointing day for The Blues. With Liverpool winning their last 17 Premier League games, it will take a monumental collapse from here to lose it, although we all know they’re capable of that.
Let’s see how Twitter reacted to Wolves’ shock win at the Etihad Stadium…
There are some huge ties to come in round four of the Carabao Cup. The standout ties are undoubtedly Chelsea vs Manchester United and Liverpool vs Arsenal.
The two last ranked teams Colchester United and Crawley Town will face each other, with one guaranteed to reach the quarter-final. While Oxford United will host Sunderland after both knocked out Premier League opposition in the third round.
Manchester City will be favourites to win the cup again, after drawing Southampton at home. Wolves will face Aston Villa at Villa Park, in a Midlands derby.
Manchester United take on League One side Rochdale tonight, hoping to book their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
The Red Devil’s were poor during their 2-0 loss to West Ham United on Sunday, and need a big performance to lift their spirits again, ahead of Monday’s huge game against Arsenal at Old Trafford.
United fans just need something to hang onto, whether it’s a brilliant individual performance a huge win, just anything to lift the mood around the place. Their performance on Sunday was a million miles from the level they need to be at – no quality, fight, closing down and very little positives to note.
Who will Ole Gunnar Solksjaer be hoping can light up Old Trafford tonight?
In my opinion, this kid is going to be a superstar. Just a goal scorer that looks destined to lead their frontline in the near feature. Greenwood has immense confidence for his age, just look watch his goal against F.C. Astana in the Europa League. Another poor United performance, saved by the youngster taking it upon himself to win the game with a great individual goal.
A young defender that I think will feature in United’s defence for many years. I think Harry Maguire has settled in reasonably well, however, Victor Lindelof just isn’t a United defender. Not good enough in the air, and just doesn’t fill me with any confidence when watching him.
Tuanzebe was outstanding at Villa last season, both defensively and offensively, in terms of starting attacks from the back. That’s what United are lacking in my opinion, players that can continue waves of attacks by feeding their creative players.
Tuanzebe is comfortably carrying the ball out of defence, finding Paul Pogba in pockets of space for example. He needs to start tonight and show why he should be starting alongside Maguire.
Brendan Rodgers is well aware that the top clubs of England have a big enough draw to lure his superstar midfielder away from Leicester City.
It doesn’t take the biggest brains in football to see that there is a crucial deficiency in the Man Utd squad. Their recent performances have been very up and down. Showing great team spirit, determination and moments of individual genius. But these three qualities are that of a newly promoted side who are on a bounce, not the qualities of a once-great side trying to reclaim their crown.
Luckily for Man Utd fans, the introduction of two top-quality midfielders and one top quality forward could be the missing piece to this young but hopeful squad.
Solskjaer’s transfer parameters have been to seek out young, hungry and predominantly British talent. This may be an attempt to re-establish the old-school Man Utd, where every player who steps out onto the pitch is living their dream. Not dreaming of a move to Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus.
James Maddison has reportedly been on Solskjaer’s radar for some months now and could be launching a heavy bid for his services in January.
There is little doubt that had Maddison joined the Reds is Summer, their problems would have decreased massively, and dropped points may have easily been won.
This is because Man Utd completely lack creativity in the final third. Pogba is by far the most creative midfielder but gets played in a deep position where his attacks are few and far between.
Having an attacking midfielder of Maddison’s calibre would transform this terribly irritating Man Utd side into a side who create chances for fun. It is evident that the system and structure can provide attacking football, but the personnel to do it isn’t quite there.
Man Utd invited Astana to the Theatre of Dreams from Kazakhstan, as the newly formed club expected to depart after an embarrassing defeat. Instead, the Red Devils left with an embarrassing victory, only managing to put one goal past the visitors.
Usually, fans will be vocal and vibrant after a European victory. But these circumstances differ. Man Utd fans, who failed to fill the stadium due to a lack of interest in Europa League football, were left with heads hanging low as if they’d suffered defeat.
Fans on Twitter have had their say about the lack of goal-scoring ability in the entire squad.
Performances from individuals have also been assessed. Man Utd fans are displeased with the results and decisions in a game that Man City would have won by five.
Perhaps the players gazing up at the empty stands played a role in the team’s performance. But this is entirely due to the squad themselves, Man Utd fans don’t expect or deserve Europa League football.
But, amongst all the negativity of bad performances, poor recruitment, amateur tactics and amateur competitions, Mason Greenwood was the beacon of hope who grabbed the three points they didn’t necessarily deserve.
Fred, Dalot and Tuanzebe are all players fans want to see do well, and they certainly were the best of a fairly bad bunch on the night. But Man Utd have a lot of work to do to win the Europa League with the side Solskjaer put out against Astana.
Man Utd is currently suffering from a squad depth crisis in a season filled with football, as they have the demands of the Premier League. They lost six first-team players in the transfer window and brought in three, leaving a scarce midfield and attack in front of a fairly solid defence.
The 1-0 victory at Old Trafford was certainly a good team performance. But Man Utd holding out for a narrow win from a penalty at home against Leicester is cause for concern.
Man Utd was dominated on the ball despite being solid defensively. They had 41% possession and made only 345 passes compared to Leicester’s 471. This shows that a commanding and dominant midfielder is needed at Man Utd to help them control the game, as a slight slip up could nullify the one goal that the Reds can’t seem to add to.
Pogba was out of the line up due to a minor injury, and his presence could have allowed for Man Utd to see more of the ball. However, Fred came on as a substitute for Matic and partnered alongside Scott McTominay which instantly saw the Reds look more comfortable and confident in possession.
Having Fred and McTominay as deep midfielders is the way to go for Man Utd, should they want to dominate possession. But having a creative midfielder in front of them is crucial to Solskjaer’s side racking up goals on a consistent basis.
With Pogba seeking a move away, Juan Mata reaching the latter stages of his career and Angel Gomes arguably not ready for first-team football, who can Solskjaer add to his side to undertake this role?
Ironically, Man Utd could have solved this issue in summer. Being heavily linked to the likes of James Maddison and Bruno Fernandes, they are precisely the calibre of player that Solskjaer needs in his side. Both are keen on scoring and assisting whilst adding a spark of flare and quality to their sides.
Solskjaer admitted that his side is not complete in terms of tactics and personnel, meaning that a few signings could be made in the next two transfer windows.
Man Utd lack in both the midfield and attack, being limited in players and quality.
The main goalscorer at Old Trafford was Romelu Lukaku until his departure to Inter Milan in summer. Currently, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford lead the Reds’ attack, despite both being unproven strikers. New signing Dan James is giving the forward’s a run for their money, being joint top scorer for Man Utd with Rashford, who has scored three goals, two of which were penalties.
Is Muriqi the right signing for Man Utd?
The 6 foot 3 striker is certainly built for the demands of the Premier League. He made a name for himself last season as he scored 17 goals and got 8 assists for his former club Caykur Rizespor. Before swiftly moving to Fenerbahce for only £3.1million.
However, Man Utd desperately need a prolific striker who can reach the 20 goals per season mark on a consistent basis in the Premier League. Muriqi, on the other hand, has reached 17 goals on two occasions in Turkish football but has fallen well short in other seasons.
Man Utd’s safe bet would be to acquire the services of a proven Premier League striker. Such as Jamie Vardy or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. As opposed to adding another hit-or-miss player to the squad.
Paul Pogba’s move to Real Madrid could result in a player moving the other way. But who can Man Utd go for to replace the midfielder?
Real Madrid made attempts to sign Paul Pogba in summer, but the Reds managed to keep hold of their prized midfielder for one more season.
With Man Utd’s current midfield lacking in both depth and quality, they already need to sign one or two midfielders without the loss of Paul Pogba. With the loss of Pogba, that adds yet another item to the shopping list for Man Utd, who have several positions already that need more depth.
However, there are 2 players Man Utd could use more than Toni Kroos and should be offered by Real Madrid in a swap plus cash deal for Paul Pogba…
27-year-old Brazilian international Casemiro has been a successful defensive midfielder with the Spanish giants since moving from Sao Paulo in 2013. Spending six years in Madrid will have given Casemiro the talent, fitness and pedigree to slot nicely in front of Solskjaer’s back four and play a pivotal role in transitioning from defence to attack.
Man Utd was rumoured to be considering a loan deal for Bale in summer. The Welshman has been out of favour in Madrid despite proving his class on multiple occasions. A recent example is being taken off in the 3-0 defeat to PSG although he was their best player on the night.
Bale’s astronomical wages could be a difficulty in the process, but Man Utd certainly need quality in their side and will have to spend big to get it.
Man Utd played in the infamous Europa League on Thursday night football, with a mismatched squad of youth and fringe players. In a very dull, disappointing performance, seeing the inclusion of the young Reds was one of the few positives of the outcome.
Fans have been calling out to see the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood getting more game time, with the first-team squad not appearing to be doing much better,
However, the 1-0 win against Astana from a well taken Mason Greenwood finish was far from enough to prove that they are ready for the first team or Premier League football.
Although Man Utd controlled the game, it was not a convincing performance. Astana had two or three counter-attack opportunities that all looked like they could have been scored.
The Reds had 20 shots to Astana’s 3. Whilst some shots, particularly from Fred and Greenwood, looked absolutely stunning, there is no way Man Utd should only be winning this game by one goal.
Chong’s pace and determination were evident, but his involvement was light. Gomes drifted in and out of the game, but looked totally world-class on the ball. Greenwood got his goal, but his usual ability would have seen him score two or three.
Overall, it appears that there is a reason that the selected team against Astana are not the first team, as they looked disjointed and unimpressive.
Marcus Rashford consistent lack of impact continued in a game he should have probably missed out on. But the 200k per week Premier League star failed to make any contribution whatsoever against the team from Kazakhstan.
Though, Solskjaer said post-match that we will see this team feature a lot this season, meaning these players will get a lot of game time in Europa and the League Cup. This is excellent news for the youngsters, but will they be part of a Champions League run next season?
Out of nowhere. 20-year-old Leeds-born Norwegian Erling Haaland has caught the world by storm with his recent run of form.
Erling Haaland, now playing for RB Salzburg, was turning heads whilst playing for Solskjaer’s previous side Molde.
The young forward scored an impressive 12 goals and 4 assists in 25 games, enough for the Austrian giants RB Salzburg to spend £4.5million. Should Haaland take another step up to a bigger European club, that fee will increase by at least ten times over.
Since starting his campaign in the Austrian Bundesliga, RB Salzburg remains undefeated seven games in. With their star boy Erling Haaland scoring 17 goals and getting 5 assists in 9 games. One of which was a cup game and the other a Champions League.
So far, Haaland is proving himself on every stage he performs on.
Should Man Utd’s own Norwegian, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, see him as a strong fit to his squad, there would certainly be those who assume that their national bond played a large role. But looking at the aforementioned goals and assists for a 20-year-old striker demonstrates a natural ability, and a determination to take his game to new levels.
However, will Solskjaer’s Norwegian heritage be enough to lure Erling Haaland, when the world’s biggest clubs have all heard of him?
Man Utd’s current squad most definitely need this sort of goal scorer. They have failed to score more than two goals in a single since the opener against Chelsea. Perhaps a move for Haaland to Man Utd isn’t so far away.