I’m not a betting man because I realise that the odds are normally stacked against me and that’s exactly how Ole Gunner Solskjaer must feel at present.
With a depleted team and few quality options, the former United striker who is trying desperately to settle in the massive chair of expectation vacated by Sir Alex Ferguson must wonder what’s hit him.
He was probably bamboozled into the job and given heaps of assurances that the club would support him in the inevitable rebuild, but the reality is that Solskjaer has been sold a plum.
Lukaku and Sanchez were justifiably shown the door but they let the departures rumble on so long, that they failed to secure an experienced striker that could give them some form of penetration up front.
It’s unparalleled negligence and one suspects that the manager isn’t happy with what’s left in his toolbox despite publicly endorsing his current squad. Thin, threadbare, shallow, pick a term to describe the current United team and either or all will do.
They lack quality in 60% of the positions available and it looks as if United’s season will be defined by novices and apprentices. It’s not the United way and who knows what the finances look like after three years of Mourinho folly, where spending money was a daily event, mostly on low quality defenders.
Their activity in the transfer window was a complete travesty with money to consolidate their defense, but none spent in the areas that would bring winning results. Given how the present season is turning with no respite in sight, it’s hardly a surprise that bookies seen on AmazingBet are offering hardly any chance on United finishing within the top four. Moreover with this abysmal start to the season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the second favourite among leading bookmakers to be the handed the pink slip in the Premier League right after Toffies boss Marco Silva.
Scott McTominay is no more a Manchester United player than I am. Juan Mata is past his best. Andreas Pereira, Victor Lindelof, Jessie Lingard and Ashley Young are not good enough, nor is Luke Shaw who is currently injured.
Of the remaining players, only Rashford, Matic, James, De Gea and Pogba have genuine quality, with the jury out on both Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. Mason Greenwood has promise, but it’s too early to say that the kid can save an entire season.
So, for the next few weeks Solskjaer will be seen sporting his newfound frown, instead of his infectious smile, in the knowledge that even a result against Arsenal is just a brief respite in a long bumpy road ahead.
January seems a long way away for United to eventually make good, but it may be too late and teams’ knee deep in league campaigns and cup competitions are hardly going to sell off prized assets.
No ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing a cock up of epic proportions and one that is currently sitting on the affable shoulders of Solskjaer.
As I’ve said and Sky sports Paul Merson agreed, it would be a desperate shame if the manager were blamed for any failure this season.
Roy Keane, never one to mince his words said of the 2-0 defeat to West Ham:
“It’s scary how far United have fallen. I don’t know where to start.”
“I was shocked and saddened by how bad they were.”
“You can lose a game of football but everything about them… they were lacklustre, no quality, lack of desire, lack of leaders, lack of characters.”
Speaking on Super Sunday, Keane said that there were several first team players that were just “not good enough”.
And on Solskjaer, Keane said:
“I’ve known Ole a long time – I can tell he is fuming, he’s disgusted. Managers can back their teams up all they want but it’s what they do on the pitch.
We’re talking about Man Utd here”
We are but they are a miles away from the days of their premier league dominance under Ferguson.