After three wins in a row, Manchester United toiled once again in their 1-1 draw against Everton yesterday.
United missed the chance to fully capitalise on Chelsea’s home defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday as familiar problems came to the fore.
We’ve got three questions Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs an answer for as he heads into the festive period on the back of yet another draw.
Why can’t United break down deep defences?
Solskjaer has had a year to come up with a formula for breaking down deep defences and he has so far come up way short.
It is such an obvious flaw in United’s game now than most opponents know they can sit deep and tight without fear that they will get ripped apart.
The midfield sorely lacks creativity and invention when it’s needed most, which slows United’s build up play considerably.
Solskjaer faces a run of relatively gentle opponents on paper but those games will prove sticky if he is once again unable to produce a plan to break down massed ranks.
Can United improve at set pieces?
Victor Lindelof’s own goal was the sixth Premier League strike United have conceded from set pieces this season, just one less than Aston Villa’s tally of seven, the worst in the league.
As a team who struggle to make masses of chances, it’s imperative that United are not giving up cheap goals. Letting them in from set pieces gives opponents a foothold.
At the other end, United need to make far better use of their attacking set pieces, too.
That’s another source of goals for sides lacking creativity but United’s delivery and invention at dead balls is staggeringly poor.
Set pieces can decide tight matches and United are not getting it right at either end.
Will United ever come from behind to win?
United struggle to break down defences and that problem is doubled down upon when they go a goal behind.
It gives opponents something to defend and combined with a trend this season for letting 1-0 leads slip, that inability to come from behind to grab wins provides a real problem for Solskjaer.
Mason Greenwood got United back into the match, but Everton were the better team thereafter at a time when the Reds should have been piling on the pressure.
United are a long way from the era of late comebacks and dramatic fightbacks but they have gone the other way, almost never coming from behind to win. That has to change.
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