Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time is up and 5 things we learned as Manchester City school Manchester United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time is up and 5 things we learned as Manchester City school Manchester United

Manchester City stroll to victory over the Red Devils

In another embarrassing episode for Manchester United at Old Trafford, their once “noisy neighbours” did not have to break a sweat in order to ease past the Red Devils on Saturday afternoon, in front of an increasingly restless onlooking crowd.

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Two first half goals, firstly an own goal from Bailly and then a Bernardo Silva toepoke, left the result largely beyond doubt after just 45 minutes, when Solskjaer changed from the 3-5-2 to a 4-2-3-1 with the introduction of Jadon Sancho.

Like with Liverpool, however, it was only Manchester City’s lack of desire to score more that kept the scoreline respectable for Manchester United, and leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer holding on by a thread to his job.

Here are 5 things 101 picked out from the encounter.

1. 3-5-2 is not the solution Ole so desperately craves

For the third successive game, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer set his side up with a back three, and for the second consecutive game, he was forced to change halfway through.

Having conceded two in that shape against Atalanta, they conceded two more against their bitter rivals, and it could have been far worse had they not been able to rely on David De Gea to bail them out once more (before an awful mistake for the second goal).

Things did look like they would begin to improve in the second half, when the Red Devils reverted to a 4-2-3-1, but they were still chasing shadows for the most part. The 3-5-2, however, smacked of desperation, much like the introduction of outcasts Jadon Sancho and Donny Van de Beek. It feels as though Ole knows his time is coming to an end as he desperately tries anything to grab a result.

But who do they turn to? Antonio Conte has already slipped through their fingers, and unless Mauricio Pochettino decides to leave PSG, there are not many managerial options out there.

2. Joao Cancelo makes a serious claim for best full-back in the world

It did help that Cancelo was afforded the freedom of Manchester during the first half, but the Portuguese defender continued to prove just why he is rated so highly by Pep Guardiola and Manchester City fans.

Following his three assists against Club Brugge, Cancelo provided assists for both of his side’s first-half goals and threatened all half. It could have been several more had it not been for some brilliant saves from David De Gea to keep his side in the game.

Almost a cert to start at left-back for Manchester City, Cancelo is clearly one of the most effective defenders in the division in the opposition third.

3. Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire are well off the pace

On the other hand, two defenders have stood out for Manchester United for their sheer mediocrity so far this season, in the form of England internationals Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire. Shaw was spared the vitriol of the fans at full-time thanks to a concussion that saw him substituted just after the hour mark, but Maguire was not as lucky.

Both were largely at fault for one or more of Liverpool’s goals two weeks ago, and did not inspire confidence once more against the Citizens. For the second goal, Shaw attempted to shield the ball behind, only for Bernardo Silva to steal in and poke the ball home to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

Neither have looked anything like their normal selves since returning from the Euro2020 finals, but with defenders in short supply in the red side of Manchester, they don’t look like being dropped any time soon.

4. Manchester United fans have had enough

Being beaten at home is one thing, but being humiliated in front of the entire Old Trafford crowd is something completely different. The scoreline this time around was better than the 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool, but the difference in quality was no less cavernous.

The Red Devils could only watch as Pep Guardiola’s side ran rings around them, in typical Manchester City fashion, with precision and verve. While it will go down in the history books as less deflating than other results, it proved just how far the once revered club have fallen, and fans have had enough.

Boos rang out at half and full time, while Manchester United managed just one shot on target, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo volley midway through the first half.

The fans aren’t alone either, with Roy Keane also saying that he had had enough during the half-time interval.

So far, goodwill has kept Solskjaer in his job, but that goodwill is rapidly vanishing, despite his club legend status from his playing days.

5. The manager takes the blame, but the players continue to let him down

Of course, the manager is to blame for much of the failings and is clearly not good enough for Manchester United. However, his players continue to show their own frailty too. The own goal and giving the ball away on the edge of their own box for the second mean that they have now committed the most errors leading to goals so far this season.

It is not the table that the Red Devils really want to be atop of, and while the question remains as to whether Solskjaer is setting his players up to fail, there is certainly more quality in the Manchester United side than is on show at present.

Would they show more of their immeasurable talent with a new man at the helm?

Read more:

With Antonio Conte set to head to Tottenham, which 4 managers could Manchester United replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with?

“Worse than Liverpool” How Manchester United fans reacted to first half of the Manchester derby

 

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