After back-to-back wins against Tottenham and Manchester City, we all thought that Manchester United is getting significantly better. And yet, a home draw against Everton and a heavy defeat against last-placed Watford show that’s not the case.
Many would argue that the blunder by David De Gea and the stupid penalty by Wan-Bissaka are the main reasons why the Red Devils lost.
Both goals were preventable and you can’t argue against that. However, the main issue seems to lie somewhere else.
Manchester United struggled to create enough pressure against one of the worst defensive sides in the English Premier League.
The Red Devils have consistently failed to deliver against weaker opposition. Manchester United’s defeats this campaign came against the likes of Watford, Bournemouth, West Ham, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle.
At the same time, the team beat Chelsea, Spurs, Leicester, and Manchester City, and drew Arsenal and Liverpool. The record against the best in the division is exceptional but the points against teams in the bottom half are not enough for the top 4.
A closer look at some of United’s games shows the same weakness. The team has a solid defense and players that can hit hard on the counter. When the Red Devils are second-best in terms of possession, they are lethal for the opposition.
On the contrary, if they have more of the ball, they don’t really know what to do with it. The midfield can’t create enough scoring chances and the team struggles.
That has a negative effect on the confidence of the whole side and the defense is suddenly shaky as well.
The main issue is the lack of the proper players in the middle of the park and in the attack. Most of the forwards need space to operate and the team can’t break down opponents that are defending in numbers.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that Paul Pogba’s return will help Manchester United in this area. The Frenchman can certainly provide a spark and there are rumors about new offensive signings in January
Considering the results against the top teams in the league, there are reasons for optimism. If the Red Devils start beating the weaker opposition, they will become a favorite for the top 4.