Manchester United lost 2-0 against Arsenal yesterday following an abject first half display.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side remain fifth but missed the chance to make up ground in the race for the Champions League spots, with Chelsea, Tottenham and Wolves all dropping points.
That result – and the nature of the performance – has raised a host of questions for Solskjaer and we’ve picked out three of the most pressing.
Will the penny ever drop about consistency?
United had been on a decent run, with just one defeat in nine Premier League games going into the New Year.
But United take promising periods as an invitation to slacken off and yesterday’s performance was absolutely insipid.
As soon as United find some form, complacency and inconsistency follows, setting them back to square one.
That mentality will undermine everything Solskjaer is trying to achieve if he cannot change it.
How many more chances will Shaw get?
Solskjaer has restored Luke Shaw to the first team after an extended absence but he was ripped apart by Nicolas Pepe yesterday.
Shaw offers none of the facets a modern elite full back should have; he is poor defensively, lacks speed and endurance and offers little going forward.
Solskjaer may be looking to move on from Ashley Young and manage Brandon Williams carefully, but Shaw should be running out of chances now.
What is going on in central midfield?
Solskjaer was quoted by the Independent saying Scott McTominay faces ‘a few months’ out with the injury he picked up against Newcastle on Boxing Day.
That’s a much more serious prognosis than the one initially suspected and Paul Pogba is another who now faces an extended spell out.
Solskjaer said Pogba was in contention to face Arsenal, but the pre-match team news was that he faces surgery and yet more time out.
Whether Pogba is trying to force a move or the medical team have got it wrong initially about him and McTominay, United face even more serious problems in the engine room than they had already.
United let Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera leave – as well as moving Nemanja Matic to the brink of departure – without a single new face from either the academy or the transfer market stepping into the breach.
How does Solskjaer make a central midfield out of that? It’s a huge question to answer.
- Former opponent jokes he’s sick of Marcus Rashford celebrating debut
- Captain Maguire is showing leadership in more than just words
- Three questions for Manchester United ahead of Club Brugge second leg
- David Beckham praises Solskjaer for the way he protects United players
- Martin Svidersky is given a show of faith with a first pro contract at United