Manchester United: Three ways the Red Devils can improve their performance this season
Manchester United suffered a humiliating 2-0 defeat to West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday in the Premier League. Manuel Pellegrini's men took the lead through Andriy Yarmolenko late in the first half and sealed the deal through a brilliant Aaron Cresswell free kick in the second.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could only look on in disappointment as the Red Devils failed to create chances which could break the Hammers' defence. Although the side from Manchester had more possession and hit more shots in total, they lacked the killer instinct and were rightly served by the home team's clinical performance.
This is United's second loss of the season after their 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace and Solskjaer must be scratching his head trying to work out a way to improve his team's performance. In this article, we pick out three ways in which it can be done.
#1. Make more use of the wings
To bring back the glory days at Old Trafford, Manchester United must start making more use of their wings and put in dangerous balls from the sides. More crosses need to be played into the attacking third and vital passes made from empty spaces.
New signings winger Daniel James and fullback Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who ply their trade along the wings, are blessed with pace and can create attacking balls from their regions. James can be quite hard to catch when on the run and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to give him a bigger role in the side.
Wan-Bissaka, too, is a brilliant crosser of the ball and he can be encouraged to move forward from his natural right-back position. Creating more chances from the wings will catch the opposition unawares and give United more opportunities at scoring goals.
#2. Play Fred instead of Nemanja Matic
It might be a tough pill to swallow for some Manchester United supporters, but Serbian giant Nemanja Matic is probably past his prime. The 31-year-old takes too long to turn with the ball and when he is without it, his positioning skills are highly questionable.
Matic's passing has been below par this season and he has evolved into becoming a squad player at best who can start games only in cup competitions against lesser oppositions. On the other hand, Fred, who was signed from Shakhtar Donetsk last season, has had a brilliant start to the season and is someone who compliments Scott McTominay perfectly in midfield.
The Brazilian can form a good central midfield partnership alongside McTominay and Paul Pogba when the latter gets fit. His awareness off the ball and creativity skills are what have endeared him dearly to the Old Trafford faithful.
#3. Look for a backup option for Marcus Rashford in January
It was clear to see that on Sunday, when Manchester United travelled to London to take on West Ham United, Marcus Rashford looked rusty at the top of the attack. This has been a regular occurrence of late and the 21-year-old has offered the Red Devils very less from the centre forward's position.
Now that both him and Anthony Martial are out injured and starlet Mason Greenwood ill, manager Solskjaer has zero attacking options left with him. It is hard to believe that United let Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez go in the summer and signed nobody in their places.
Solskjaer must look for a good central attacking option in the January transfer window and add reinforcements. The lack of a world-class striker is one of the main reasons why United are unable to create chances or score goals at will and their football has descended into timidity.