Papering over cracks: First home win gives more questions than answers

A first home win of this season could prove to be the boost United desperately need to kickstart their charge this season. In spite of this the fact that the only consistency is inconsistency could leave their season in the mud before it gets going. 

After consecutive disappointing performances at home to both Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League, as well as comical playground defending away in Istanbul in the champions league. it appeared the writing was well and truly on the wall for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Typical of his reign though, Ole’s side produced a result when he needed them to find one. An uncharacteristically balanced and clinical United ran out comfortable 3-1 winners away to early pace setters Everton. Even after an impressive result, all did not seem well. The manager claimed they “were set up to fail“. An obvious swipe at the busy fixture schedule faced by the Premier League teams fighting in Europe.

A much needed first home win came courtesy of a Bruno Fernandes penalty and a favourable VAR decision. Two things that featured heavily in United’s improbable run to third last season. This was already penalty number seven for the season. In addition to the incredible 22 they received in 19/20. Ole himself admitted that United were a “tad lucky” to come away with 3 points. If the result was there it’s clear the performance wasn’t.

Is it Cavani time?

Brought in shrouded in scepticism following the clubs high profile failure to land Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani has so far featured only from the bench and has looked unfit and off the pace. Scoring just the once in four appearances. One of the few brighter notes from Saturday was Cavani’s movement once he did appear from the bench. He was far more willing to make runs and stretch the West From defence than the woefully out of form Anthony Martial. Perhaps its time to take Martial out of the firing line if Cavani is able to lead the line.

Midfield mystery

United’s defence need extra protection with two holding midfielders. The best performances this season have been with Fred and Scott McTominay protecting the backline. This leaves United very slow and ponderous transitioning from defence into attack and struggling to break teams down. Bruno Fernandes is the sole source of any attacking energy in the midfield.

Ole has options in this area but with Paul Pogba performing way under-par since contracting COVID-19, it becomes harder and harder to understand why the proven quality of box to box technician Donny Van De Beek is bizarrely wasted on the bench. Surely he would provide exactly the kind of spark and class United badly need in that area?

Ben Mockridge
Manchester United Central staff writer.
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