5 things that have gone wrong with Manchester United's season
An analysis of issues behind Manchester United's slump in performances
Going into this international break, Manchester United sit second on the table and are a point away from qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
At a glance, United seem to be doing quite well and the entire ruckus around the recent string of performances seem overzealous.
Add that to the continuous criticisms from fans and media and you have a feeling that the Red Devils must be languishing near the mid-table, when actually they are second on the points table, at least for now.
In spite of United's good start, the issues in the squad have become evident and the skeletons reveal themselves.
So what’s actually gone wrong with Manchester United this season? Has Jose Mourinho lost his Midas’ touch? Or did the club spend £300m across two seasons on a bunch of misfits? Or, is it just luck?
While a part of the criticism can be attributed to Jose Mourinho’s media skills, his persona, and his playing style, there are, however, deeper issues with the team.
If these issues are not addressed, United supporters might as well forget any hopes of the Premier League title this season.
#5 Lack of options in the squad
Modern day football clubs compete in three-four competitions simultaneously and clubs like United are expected to win them all. In order to do that, a club is expected to create a squad with enough depth, so as to minimise the risk of burning out or injuring key players.
United currently have a squad full of mix and matches. Excluding the goalkeeper, central midfield and left attacking midfield positions, the Red Devils do not have significant depth to continue challenging for a trophy in every competition.
While Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are the centre-back combo of choice, Chris Smalling is often used to compete in European matches or if the team plays a three-man defence in the Premier League.
Victor Lindelof is yet to settle at Manchester and his last appearance came during the Huddersfield horror show.
Other than Romelu Lukaku, there isn’t any striker in the team (only considering players who are fit to play) who can be expected to score goals every week.
Marcus Rashford has sometimes been supported to play in the middle alongside Lukaku, but not shown his quality lately.
Even in the hole behind the striker, United have players who are established number 10 candidates in Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan but fail to create as many opportunities as the other top teams.
As a result, Mourinho’s team even though it looks full of world-class names on paper, is still nowhere near to being a finished product.
So in crunch matches, when Mourinho glances back to the bench to see who he could use to turn around a match, he is actually faced with very limited options.