Manchester United: 3 important decisions Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should take after the winter break
Manchester United, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have always found ways to disappoint their fans. ' One step forward, two steps back ' has been the story of the Red Devils' season thus far, especially in the Premier League.
They currently sit sixth on the table with 36 points from 25 games and are five points behind the top four. United signed two players in the January transfer window in a bid to bolster their threadbare squad. Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon and Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua have been brought in to help the Red Devils' charge for the Champions League spots this season.
After the winter break, United will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a clash that will have huge consequences on the top four race and we will also enter the latter stages of the UEFA Europa League in February.
Solskjaer, currently, has some huge decisions to make as he just cannot afford another winless run from his team and here, we are going to state the three important decisions the Norwegian should make for the last part of the season.
#3 Play in a 3-4-1-2 until Marcus Rashford returns
Solskjaer, predominantly, has used the 4-2-3-1 formation this season but for some reason, without Marcus Rashford, that formation just doesn't seem to be working. There's a reason for that and that's because Manchester United don't have a goalscoring winger in their ranks other than Rashford.
Anthony Martial loves to drop deep and operate as a false 9, while Daniel James has looked a shadow of himself over the past couple of months. Juan Mata is not really a winger and Mason Greenwood is very young and he is a center-forward, not a right-winger.
So, it would benefit Martial if Solskjaer goes with a front two as it would not leave him alone with the opposition center-backs and he will have someone to link up with, which is something the Frenchman does well.
The biggest reason why Solskjaer should contemplate going with this formation is that United don't really have out and out wingers in their squad, which means they are always going to struggle in a formation that puts pressure on wingers to deliver.
In a 3-4-1-2, Martial can lineup alongside either Odion Ighalo or Mason Greenwood, with Bruno Fernandes as the number 10, which seems to be the better option with this squad.
#2 Drop Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard all together
This is a decision that Solskjaer has to make, especially now that Manchester United have signed Bruno Fernandes. The Norwegian needs to show some ruthlessness as Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard haven't been performing at all.
It's as if they have taken their positions in the squad for granted. Over the past couple of months, we haven't seen any of these two perform at a level that is expected for a Manchester United player and they need to be punished for that.
After the winter break, neither Lingard nor Pereira shouldn't be starting for the Red Devils.
#1 Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams should play over Daniel James and Luke Shaw
Another tough but necessary decision that Solskjaer should make after the winter break is giving priority to Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams over Daniel James and Luke Shaw respectively.
That's because both youngsters have earned their place in the starting XI with their performances, especially Brandon who hasn't put a foot wrong since being promoted from the youth team.
Mason is someone who is a goal threat no matter where he plays and because of Marcus Rashford's absence, United need more goalscorers and we all can agree that James is not that prolific a goalscorer. Greenwood has already scored 10 goals this season, while Williams has been absolutely brilliant at left-back.
To be very honest, Shaw just doesn't bust his gut to get forward, which is something Williams always does and at a club like United, the instinct should always be to attack. So, the Norwegian should consider giving Greenwood and Williams a consistent run in the starting XI.Published 08 Feb 2020, 23:42 IST