Anger among United fans at Crystal Palace’s win was another blow to their title hopes and should serve as a cautionary tale.
O’Neil’s appearance on Monday Night Football provided an intriguing look into the Wolves’ preparations for big matches, specifically how they managed to neutralize Manchester City last season. He provided insight into their strategies.
Why is United’s form so flimsy?
Ralf Rangnick comes across as someone with an obvious plan and a sense of urgency when discussing how Manchester United should operate as a club. His intention to include players directly in decision-making shows a passion to ensure his stamp can be placed upon this group of individuals.
But results indicate that his plan may not yet be working: Wolves’s narrow defeat left Spurs and Arsenal as potential punishment targets for failing to put in enough work.
Ten Hag is pleased with the progress made by several members of his squad, such as Harry Maguire who has become dominant against opponents, and Andre Onana who saved an FC Copenhagen penalty save with style. Furthermore, Ten Hag believes his United team is improving in terms of spirit.
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Rash Ford’s injury
As the 2022/23 season progressed, it became evident that Emery’s team would differ considerably from what Ole Solskjaer brought in. Ralf Rangnick often lamented United’s inability to retreat into compact shape quickly enough and leave too many open areas that opposition players could exploit.
Marcus Rashford’s injury has not helped, with the England striker citing illness on Friday despite training well for much of the week. Though this may cause concern amongst fans and club officials alike, Ten Hag stressed his team has enough scoring options – in particular Anthony Martial who has scored at roughly the same rate as his expected goals this season. Additionally, Ten Hag noted Marcos Rojo and Bruno Fernandes returning as signs that their attack can cope without Rashford and this claim will be put under rigorous testing in the coming weeks.
Manchester United’s win against FC Copenhagen had many memorable moments worthy of celebration, but one in particular stood out: Harry Maguire’s winner. Maguire had seemed uncertain about his future before the injury crisis, so his goal against Danish champions FC Copenhagen will no doubt serve as proof that he remains an important contributor.
Ralf Rangnick frequently lamented their off-ball work, particularly their physicality of tackling and retreating into compact shapes when losing possession. Ralf would often criticize their lack of effort in those areas as well as their failure to get after loose balls in midfield.
Emery recognized this issue from last season and is working to address it by studying each match for where improvements can be made and then tailoring his training sessions accordingly.
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United’s poor away form
Erik ten Hag warned Manchester United players they needed to do more during a “bad period” for their club following its 3-1 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. Ten Hag’s squad had dropped into 13th position in the Premier League following road defeats at Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, prompting Ten Hag to warn his squad about “stepping up.”
Ten Hag gave as examples Harry Maguire and Andre Onana, two players who had appeared to be heading downhill before making dramatic comebacks late in their careers.
However, he was quick to point out Manchester United’s poor record away from home against top-10 opponents this season and since February 2022. United has lost all three away games this season and hasn’t tasted victory in league play since that month; an unacceptable record that must be rectified regardless of who holds office at Old Trafford.
Man United’s Slumping Form Revealed
Manchester United have now failed to win away in any European competition this season for the first time, which should alarm both fans and management.
United’s loss to Barcelona on Thursday night left little cause for optimism, but there were encouraging signs. Even with their third-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana making several smart saves and showing his best form.
Without a lasting solution at the back, this club will never reach its former heights again and the rot will continue to destroy their performances.
Ten Hag’s task
Erik ten Hag is still getting used to life at Old Trafford but, so far, has managed to appease staff and fans with some big decisions and promises of change. However, true progress will require more than dining with staff and reaching out to former players for United.
Fans have taken exception to several substitutions this season, but Rasmus Hojlund’s removal on Thursday caused particular outrage from supporters. Holland isn’t working hard enough without the ball and isn’t being as effective with his teammates in front of him allowing opponents free access.