Manchester United must address right flank weakness to beat Tottenham

Manchester United must address right flank weakness to beat Tottenham

Manchester United managed to overcome Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday but many fans would agree it was not a convincing one.

Perhaps out of all of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s five games so far, yesterday’s one was the worst of them all in terms of performance.

United won well against Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth while they put on a fighting display against Newcastle to overcome them.

Against Reading however, the players put in a disjointed performance where they were sloppy, submissive and far too relaxed.

The common theme however so far and not just in Solskjaer’s reign has been how little the Red Devils opt to use their right flank.

Star man Paul Pogba plays on the left of midfield while being paired with the deadly combo of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial so it makes sense why most of the club’s attacks are through that side.

However, it’s concerning since it means Manchester United are predictable and force things through the left-wing and are narrow otherwise.

On the right flank a badly regressing Antonio Valencia offers little moving forwards whilst the likes of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard don’t seem too keen on staying near the touchline.

In fact both players opt to move into their natural attacking midfield role or even often going as far as the left-wing to get involved with attacks.

Diogo Dalot definitely helps resolve this issue a little but it’s clear he still needs time to adapt to his new surroundings.

Another way to overcome this problem is to either change the formation or address the position in the January transfer window.

United rely heavily on their full-backs to provide width while the players ahead of them cut inside but this can backfire if they’re left isolated.

Valencia and Dalot occasionally have to opt to not take their man on in the simple fear of being exposed due to a lack of cover.

Newcastle were the perfect example of how they focussed on that weakness as well as crowding out the Red Devils’ left flank and their right.

It meant for a frustrating game though it didn’t have to be had the right flank actually been a viable option.

Perhaps if it wasn’t for a rather lucky opening goal, Manchester United might’ve ended up sharing the spoils or worse, losing the game.

The right of the central midfield also doesn’t offer nearly enough of the same mobility or dynamism that Pogba obviously offers on the other side.

Ole has to overcome this problem before more teams catch on to United’s one sided attacks and expose their weaknesses on the other flank.

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Freelance football writer and Football Manager enthusiast. Unhealthy obsession with tactics, debates and chasing after a ball with 21 other people.