Is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Time At Manchester United Already Under Threat?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived at Manchester United in a time of utter crisis.
Jose Mourinho’s poisonous reign had seen player power replace the manager’s authority and the squad had suffered for it. They have tumbled from the very top of the English game to outsiders for a Champions League spot – let alone a Premier League title.
That initially seemed to be changing, with the former striker bringing in what has been called the Solskjaer effect with his appointment. Same players, same Manchester United, but different outcomes.
A Forbes article even suggested the Red Devils had good grounds for optimism in the new season, with the opening day win against Chelsea seemingly raising the bar for the rest of the campaign.
However, that win has been followed by a run of disappointing results. bwin Premier League’s prediction piece for the Manchester United vs. Leicester City match notes how Solskjaer’s side are reeling from their surprise loss to Crystal Palace. They followed that up with a draw against Southampton, a result Solskjaer felt was strange.
“The strange thing about it is the three other games that we haven’t won were better than the Chelsea one,” Solskjaer is reported as saying by Sports Star after the game.
He went on to reflect on their recent form, which coupled with a draw against Wolves was three matches without a win.
“We’ve missed some penalties, we’ve missed some great chances, we should have won today as well… so it’s not a dip in form, it’s a dip in results. Definitely.”
Is the new manager’s run coming to an end though? A piece by Sky Sports was even asking if the honeymoon was over at the end of last season after a poor run of results.
The opening day destruction of Chelsea might have raised expectations, but they’ve come down to earth with a sharp bump.
The problem is that all the positivity generated by the popular manager cannot mask what has been a very weak summer in the transfer market for United. They moved two midfielders out of the club; Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, but did not recruit anyone to replace them.
Similarly, the decision to sell Romelu Lukaku and not replace him has led to them looking a little toothless in attack.
Home fixtures have them looking to try and hit teams on the counter attack. That’s all well and good when they play Chelsea or Liverpool, but it won’t cut it against Crystal Palace or Sheffield United.
That’s not to say all of the summer business was bad; Dan James has seized his chance with relish and looks a great capture. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have also added stability to a defence that has given them the bedrock upon which to build going forward.
However, with the recent run of results, will those changes be enough to protect the Norwegian, or will the pressure of being Manchester United boss mean he doesn’t get the time his transfer policy perhaps needs? Sir Alex Ferguson was given plenty of time to turn his side around in the late eighties, but have times changed too much for Solskjaer?