Manchester United's lack of squad depth was always going to be downfall
Manchester United’s lackadaisical and strange approach in the summer transfer window left the current squad looking very thin, lacking depth and quality, and it is already coming back to bite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
After a promising opening matches, United’s season has suffered an almighty nose dive with Solskjaer’s side’s tally of nine points after eight games their lowest since the 1989-90 season, when they were a point worse off.
With injuries mounting, it has become abundantly clear that United’s thread bare squad doesn’t have the depth to deal with the absence of key personnel.
The Red Devils don’t have the same talent at their disposal that Manchester City possess, with Pep Guardiola having an embarrassment of riches at his disposal with two world-class options available in every position, meaning they can rotate at will and still compete in four different competitions.
A reckless summer
The signings of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire has improved a defence that has conceded eight times so far, which is the third-best record in the division. Dan James who was expected to be on the fringes of the starting line-up, has performed admirably, having to carry the attacking torch seemingly by himself.
United fans would have been hoping for more signings to follow in the footsteps of the three young British stars, but they never materialised.
However, it didn’t stop Solskjaer ruthlessly wielding the axe on a host of the clubs experienced players, fans backed the Norwegian’s decisions and they believed replacements would be found and at the very least, the clubs academy stars would be given the chance to flourish if not.
The problem is Solskjaer has opted to give the clubs under-performing experienced players numerous opportunities ahead of the youngsters.
With the Red Devils’ crisis reaching new dizzy heights with every passing week, surely giving the clubs youngsters the chance to lift the mood would be a statement from Solskjaer to the board demanding major improvements to his squad.
Who is indispensable?
It was clear that if either Maguire and Wan-Bissaka were to suffer any injuries, the dynamic of Solskjaer’s side would completely change. Injuries to both Luke Shaw and Wan-Bissaka has meant that Ashley Young at the age of 34 has found himself being a regular in United’s defence once again.
Paul Pogba has taken on a new quarter back role since being deployed as a deep-lying playmaker, but an injury to the World Cup winner has left United’s midfield bereft of any creativity. The likes of Nemanja Matic and Fred have produced too many below par performances, leaving Scott McTominay with an uphill task marshalling United’s midfield.
Keeping Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial fit was always going to be crucial in ensuring United have the firepower to improve on last year’s sixth placed finish, especially with the brave decision to allow both Romelu Lukaku and Inter Milan to depart for Inter Milan in the same window, without a replacement signed. With Solskjaer reluctant to start Mason Greenwood in Premier League games, James has been used as a make shift striker.
United’s season could hinge on the availability of their key players, if Solskjaer is able to call upon the same young, energetic and dynamic squad he selected against Chelsea and Wolves week in week out, United fans could be quietly optimistic that the season could still be salvaged.
On the other hand, if injuries to Solskjaer’s big name performers continue to occur throughout the season at the current rate, United could be set for their most embarrassing Premier League campaign to date.
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