Home » This side with eight changes could save Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s career at Man United

This side with eight changes could save Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s career at Man United

by Red Billy

If Manchester United lose to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, especially if it is a bad defeat, it is widely believed that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be sacked.

Given the gravity of Solskjaer’s situation, the question is, will he keep faith in the XI, or broadly the same XI, as the one that succumbed so abysmally to Liverpool last time out? Or will he ring the changes?

In fact, in the horrible 4-2 defeat to Leicester, the narrow 3-2 victory over Atalanta and the 5-0 loss to Liverpool, the team has been the same, other than Rashford replacing Sancho and Scott McTominay and Fred replacing Matic and Pogba after the Leicester game.

Normally, the harder Solskjaer’s back is pushed up against the wall, the more he relies on his trusted lieutenants, but surely this time, he needs to change things up. This is a broken side.

Paul Pogba will not be an option on Saturday as he will be serving the first of a three-match suspension, but countryman Raphael Varane is back in training and could feature.

But if places in the side are kept based on current form and merit, arguably there are very few who deserve to keep theirs right now – David de Gea, Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes are probably the only three.

Also, the formation has to change. The 4-2-3-1 that has served Solskjaer thus far is now failing badly.

So if the Norwegian were to step out of character and become a ruthless manager, what kind of side could he pick?

First, the whole back four could and arguably should be replaced. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have been woeful, and Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka have not been much better.

There are not many options at right back, but in the spirit of ‘couldn’t do much worse’, Diogo Dalot could be brought in. while prone to errors, he does keep tighter on his man than Wan-Bissaka and does offer more going forward.

Varane and Eric Bailly could make a world class centre-back partnership if Bailly is at his best. He is always a gamble, of course, but right now, is Harry Maguire any less of a gamble? And at left back, Alex Telles impressed last time out and is probably currently a better option than Luke Shaw. A run in the side could finally allow him to rediscover the form that made him such a potent weapon at Porto.

If United were to switch to a 4-3-3 formation, Nemanja Matic could sit as the single defensive midfielder and Donny van de Beek could finally be given a proper opportunity to show what he can do.

Bruno Fernandes has looked far better when dropping deeper recently and was historically an excellent number eight – a position he still plays for Portugal, the position he has tattooed on his arm. So a Matic – Van de Beek – Fernandes midfield is an attacking one, but the Dutchman and the Portuguese are grafters and will still put in a defensive shift to help out the Serbian.

Marcus Rashford has started two successive games since returning from a long layoff and although he has not been the worst player on the pitch, he could be replaced by either Jadon Sancho, who needs games to find his feet, or Jesse Lingard. A fit-again Anthony Martial is another option but probably not your go-to man when you need an injection of adrenaline.

Up front, Ronaldo could be rested for Edinson Cavani. Ronaldo has played quite well but, like Rashford, arguably needs resting and Cavani’s work rate, hold up play, pressing and movement could suit the 4-3-3 better. Ronaldo and Rashford as impact subs would also be quite an ace to have up your sleeve.

These changes would result in a line-up like this:

It would of course be a massive gamble and seems unlikely given what we know about Solskjaer’s personality. But on the other hand, every one of the players in this line-up is a full international. Could they do any worse than the side they would be replacing? And even if they lost, would Solskjaer not at least get credit for trying something different? If nothing else, it would certainly make a statement.

Latest Top Stories...