Manchester United-and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer- need a convincing response today against Newcastle
By Preye Campbell
We know what is to come should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fail to impress in Manchester United’s next seven fixtures.
Interestingly, these are high-profile games that will very well set the course for the rest of the season for the Red Devils.
The Norwegian club legend turned manager is facing the heat as we speak, after an underwhelming start to the season. Going into the 2020/21 season, United gave an impressive account of what could come in the future during the second half of the 2019/20 season. The arrival of some notable players to the Theatre of Dreams seemed to coincide with the awakening of a squad that had lacked confidence earlier on.
The explosive displays, the confidence, and the super-fast attacking line made of youngsters all looked to brand the classic United of old. With that, victories affected a long unbeaten run.
The honeymoon now seems to be over- not for the first time in Solskjaer’s reign- and gloomy days looked to have returned to the record 20-time league champions.
A disappointing transfer activity in the summer and the loss of form of a number of key players have contributed to the woeful displays of United this season. All three league games played this season have been obviously unconvincing, with the last – a 6-1 hammering by Tottenham Hotspur– potentially showing that Solskjaer and United could be in for a really long season.
And that spells trouble.
In an excruciating list of fixtures, United travel to St James’ Park Saturday to face Newcastle United. They then take on Paris Saint-Germain in the opening round of the UEFA Champions League. What comes next that weekend is Chelsea at Old Trafford before further games against RB Leipzig, Arsenal, Istanbul Basaksehir, and Everton come in thick and fast (barring any unforeseen circumstances).
It is why Solskjaer faces an interesting period between now and the end of November. With talks of Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri circulating in the press in the last few weeks, Solskjaer knows the axe is well upon him and could drop at any moment in any of the next games.
The former Molde manager has been disappointed by the club’s transfer business in the summer, as they failed to capture any of his desired signings, including Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. There is a believable theory that if Solskjaer gets his desired signings, the team’s fortunes will improve and that is evidenced by last season’s transfer deals and January’s Bruno Fernandes acquisition.
Then again, in a game of football, when the team performs badly consecutively, the manager is often the scapegoat, not the players. Signings acquired or not, Solskjaer’s fate will only be sealed by results on the pitch.
So, with the perfect audition coming up, how will things play out for the 1999 treble winner?
We start with Newcastle on Saturday.