The red Devils premier league resurgence lasted just one week precisely, after an outstanding performance against Tottenham, on reflection,was more an indictment of Tottenham’s woes than evidence of United’s quality.
It was a scenario of Normal service resumed when Manchester city visited Old Trafford, surely now leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with nowhere left to hide.
Though there was no repetition of the 0:5 score line from Liverpool’s visit last month, but 0:2 by Manchester City flattered United.
City dominated from start to finish half, just as Liverpool were, had it not been for several David De Gea saves.
Disappointingly for United fans, City didn’t have to work particularly hard for their comfortable win. They took full advantage, but United’s problems were entirely their own.
De Gea aside – and even he wasn’t flawless in the end – Solskjaer’s team never really turned up.
The manager is failing. Whether through poor tactical choices that aren’t right, a lack of specific preparation to make players aware of City’s strengths and weaknesses, an inability to properly motivate his team, it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that it is increasingly clear he has run his course and things aren’t getting better.
Without top goalscoring forwards, City weren’t clinical like Liverpool and therefore didn’t blow United out of the water like was perhaps deserved.
In addition to a clear lack of strategy that stopped United putting anything of note together or limiting City’s dominant possession, it was mistakes and errors that gifted their opponents the lead before they even had chance to try and work for it.
A recurring theme this season, United were their own worst enemy. Eric Bailly’s own goal, turning the ball into his own net while trying to cut out a cross, was not an unlucky deflection or last ditch stretch to get something on the ball…it should have been an easy clearance.
In the build up there was no pressure on the ball in midfield or defence. Aaron Wan-Bissaka lacked the awareness to track the run of Ilkay Gundogan, who managed to keep the ball alive, while Bruno Fernandes then failed to get within 10 yards of a crossing Joao Cancelo.
It was a similar story for the second. There was no pressure on the ball, while a lack of awareness again proved costly. This time it was Luke Shaw, who seemed to let the ball run on for a goal kick, only for Bernardo Silva to poke the ball in behind him instead. De Gea was also at fault.