“Solskjaer played in the infamous grey kit game at the Dell,” says the BT Sport commentator. Wrong! He did come on in the 6-3 defeat though.
“If United really are going to embrace the ‘Crisis’, they may as well do it in style,” says Matt Dony. “Grey shirts? Or a 6-3 loss? Soundtracked by an era-appropriate Slight Return, or something.”
The odd thing about those three consecutive defeats at the Dell is that the one that really mattered is the one nobody remembers.
The players are in the tunnel, their gamefaces have been applied. It’s time for some football.
“Now,” says Aslan Greer, “I understand how France won the World Cup: by playing 4-3-3-1.”
N’Golo Kante, innit.
“What I don’t understand is why no-one seems to try Pogba as a No10,” says Richie Patterson. “He’s obviously amazing on the ball, has a killer pass and scores goals. None of which he can do if he’s having to tackle back as part of a Dm two. Imagine him receiving the ball just behind Martial, Rashford and James and setting them free without having to worry about defensive duties. Fred can then fit in on the left, next to McTom, in his natural position…”
I’m not sure. Isn’t his long passing his greatest strength? I agree 4-2-3-1 isn’t ideal either. The best system for Pogba is 4-3-3, or the 4-3-3-1 that France used at the World Cup.
“Hi Rob,” says Duncan Edwards. “It’s ironic that after missing consecutive penalties United now face Southampton – the club of arguably the greatest penalty taker of our lifetimes.”
But which one?
Southampton (4-2-2-2) Gunn; Cedric, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Danso; Hojbjerg, Romeu; Boufal, Ward-Prowse; Ings, Adams.
Substitutes: McCarthy, Yoshida, Stephens, Valery, Armstrong, Long, N’Lundulu
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; Pogba, McTominay; Pereira, Mata, James; Rashford.
Substitutes: Romero, Rojo, Tuanzebe, Matic, Lingard, Chong, Greenwood.
Referee Mike Dean.
That didn’t take long. Just two games after a stirring 4-0 win over Chelsea, Manchester United are apparently in crisis again. It’s infantile nonsense, of course, which doesn’t deserve the time of the day. But this is the culture football chose, and all the old-fashioned values in the world won’t help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once the media go for him. The only way he can succeed with his long-term plan is to get enough good results to divert the noise elsewhere.
If United don’t win today, that noise will just get louder. It’s an unspoken rule of modern football that the Premier League must always have at least one club who are In Crisis. And if it’s one of the Big Six, so much the better.
Kick off is at 12.30pm BST.