Chris: Same problems, different day
As utterly embarrassing as Sunday’s loss to Manchester City was for Manchester United fans, we didn’t learn anything new about the team from the 4-1 thrashing Ralf Rangnick’s side received at the Etihad Stadium.
The result was, once again, due to a culmination of issues that have been on display all season. Harry Maguire had yet another shocking defensive display, and the leadership United needed him to display as captain in order to overcome a 2-1 deficit at half time was nonexistent in the second half. Victor Lindelof struggled next to the captain, as was the case as a centre-back pairing last season.
Fullbacks Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles were equally poor in all areas of the game—especially defending in one-on-one situations. It’s time for Diogo Dalot to start at right back once again, and Luke Shaw will have to regain form quickly in order to make a needed impact at left back.
The performance once again showed us that Fred and Scott McTominay don’t complement each other in a midfield pair, as United lost the midfield battle to superior side that retained 70% of possession. The summer transfer window can’t come quickly enough, as the team desperately needs a defensive midfielder to anchor the midfield.
There are too many problems that need to be fixed at this point of the season, and United’s crosstown rivals made the club look helpless today. Here’s to hoping that Spurs doesn’t do the same on Saturday.
Colin- Some defeats really encapsulate everything gone wrong
Some losses just sum up everything that has been wrong in a bad season, and that was the case in the Manchester Derby loss. Despite a first half with some bright moments a couple of glaring errors meant City led at the break, and then after the break United came out and played like a team that had just quit on the game. Even players I’ve staunchly defended were indefensible on the day, and it’s just made me all the more ready to end this season now. This is easily the most miserable I’ve been following the club since the final Jose days of 18/19, and might even replace that as the new low. It’s probably a long shot to even qualify for the Champions League at this point as Arsenal keep winning and are above us even with 3 games in hand. Unless the win the Champions League they’re likely playing Europa or Conference League football next season (yuck) and will once again be starting fresh with a new manager and the same bloated squad assembled by several different managers with sometimes clashing philosophies. That’s reflected now often with a manager who is trying several things but rarely putting together a truly positive performance as he tries to salvage what he can from this season.
Tactically It never seemed likely that United would sustain the kind of pressure they put on City leading up to their equalizer, and it was clear after the break that Pep wasn’t going to let them back off again. You have to play so carefully against this side and avoid making virtually any individual errors. Without playing compact as United have done in recent wins over City, the errors just led to total calamity at the back and they were deservedly punished.
There are several quality players in this squad, and most of the starting XI even I’d say should remain at the club, but the loss reflected the total blow to morale that this team has suffered and continues to fail to recover from. It just feels like the reset of a new season will at least shake that from them, but perhaps that’s too hopeful. Unfortunately that’s about all we can ever do from where we sit, but boy has it gotten tougher lately.