There has been a common trend within United’s play this season, with the team often finding success against the ‘bigger’ sides, but not against those in the bottom half of the table. In fact, three of their nine Premier League wins have come against those currently inside the top four, with the Red Devils holding notable victories over the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester.
Such success has primarily stemmed from their gameplay of counter-attacking football, with Solskjaer putting emphasis on the frontmen making runs in-behind, exploiting the space behind their opposition’s full-backs. This plan has looked effective against sides that like to open up and commit men forward, but not against those that like to sit back and deploy a deep block.
When United are in possession, there looks to be a lack of ideas and creativity whilst on the ball, with the team struggling to break down stubborn looking opponents. Solskjaer likes his central midfielders to sit deep, with their distributional duties being focused on releasing the frontmen with their runs in-behind. All is well when playing against open-looking sides, but against teams that keep their full-backs in line with a rigid defence, the Red Devils simply look lost at times.
With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay currently injured, United’s options in the middle look very depleted, hence the reason why so many of the club’s fans are welcoming the potential arrival of Fernandes. Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata have contributed to just six league goals between them this season, so an upgrade in the middle is certainly required.