The reign of Ole Gunner Solskjaer at Manchester United is coming to an end. It’s something I’ve maintained since last season and something that both Gary Neville and Roy Keane reluctantly admitted after United’s defeat at home to Arsenal.
This is not a knee jerk reaction to a solitary, loss but more of an assessment based on a succession of grim and indifferent performances over his 100 match reign. Solskjaer is, without question, a thoroughly decent and honourable guy, but he is starting to look overwhelmed by the task and unable to get the maximum of his players.
If we use Arteta as an example, his intelligent management and use of Mohamed Elneny has given him twice the player in the same body, yet Solskjaer can’t get an extra ounce out of Paul Pogba. The Frenchman sometimes loafs around the field like he owns the ball and subsequently, makes everyone reluctant to challenge his contribution for fear of not being able to continue the game.
United have plenty of players but no leaders. They have a great many unsuitable and average players that don’t fit together and the route cause is certainly poor recruitment and a lack of direction from the previous coaches. It appears that United went shopping in Harrods and ended up with just an expensive bag and a receipt. Too many of the players are still earning a living without justification like Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay.
When you look at the array of treasures Ferguson had at his disposal, it’s hard not to emphasise the lack of quality available to Solskjaer, but pity won’t save him. In a results-driven business, United are failing and if the house isn’t put in order soon, Solskjaer will pay the ultimate price.
It was clear that Keane and Neville were angry and embarrassed by the performance against Arsenal, not necessarily the score. I agree with Keane that Arsenal were made to sound as if they were Bayern Munich but then, that’s even worse from a United perspective. Having performed well in the Champions League, United were subjected to a crash and burn reality that exposed a great many faults.
Solskjaer is not the man to rescue United, he never was. He was a PR remedy to a much bigger crisis that was beneath the surface and I believe, he’ll be gone by Christmas at this rate, especially if they are still in the wrong half of the table.