Premier League 2019-20: 3 tactics from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that cost Manchester United the game against Newcastle
The game against Newcastle United was crucial for Manchester United’s Norwegian manager, for a lot of reasons. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had failed to live up to the expectations since the start of the season and the fans were growing impatient over the team's lack of results.
The listless performances on the field, especially in midfield against AZ Alkmaar, had added fuel to the fire of dissent that was getting too close for comfort for the Norwegian. As such, the trip to St. James Park was a chance for Solskjaer to vindicate himself.
Manchester United’s vulnerabilities have been clear as daylight this season and every team, irrespective of their capabilities, knows that they can stretch Solskjaer’s side. Newcastle United, despite their league position, had the ability to cause United a lot of problems. And Solskjaer was crippled with injury problems while deciding on his first XI for the game.
The Norwegian opted for David de Gea in goal, with Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire and Ashley Young making up the back four. He stationed Fred and Scott McTominay as the double pivot in the midfield, while Juan Mata operated in the No. 10 role. The front three consisted of Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Andreas Pereira.
United failed to capitalize on the few chances that came their way in the first half and the score remained 0-0 at the break. In the second half, the home side stunned United by taking the lead through Matthew Longstaff in the 72nd minute. United never managed to recover from the setback and lost the game 1-0.
While the team failed to impress, Solskjaer himself was culpable for a few decisions on the day. Here are 3 tactics from the Norwegian that cost United the game.
#3 Team selection
Solskjaer might have had his hands tied due to injuries, but the Norwegian was still guilty of getting his team selection wrong against the Magpies.
In the absence of Anthony Martial, Solskjaer once again opted for a front three of Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Andreas Pereira. Perhaps the Norwegian would have been better advised to trust Mason Greenwood in the No. 9 role, especially since Rashford had been struggling.
Tahith Chong in place of Pereira was worth a try, while Angel Gomes in place of Mata would have also made sense.