Everything was going well ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa. United were on a nine-game unbeaten run and had last conceded in an open game almost a month ago.
But everything that could go wrong did go wrong against the Villans as the Red Devils succumbed to a 1-3 loss. The result meant that United failed in their chance to reduce the gap with the teams in the top four.
Villa scored through Leon Bailey and Lucas Digne in the first half before Jacob Ramsey settled things early in the second half. A Ramsey own goal late in the first half had given United a glimmer of hope before they were eliminated in the second.
Fatigue plays a role
Such a result was not expected and the poor result was due to many factors. The Reds entered the game just two days after a grueling Europa League game and the players definitely looked tired.
Christian Eriksen certainly looked jaded and often backed slowly and into second balls. Erik ten Hag, so far this season, has made the right decisions regarding the selection.
In the absence of Bruno Fernandes, it was essential that United not only have a creative presence but also someone who would work hard.
But on Sunday, the decision to start a below-par Donny van de Beek once again after his ineffective midweek display was not the right one.
The Dutchman looked lost most of the time and ideally, the team should cut their losses and bring in someone of quality.
It would have been better to start Fred, especially with his aggressive pressing and it was amazing to see the Dutch midfielder come out of the locker room in the second half.
donny is not good enough
Cristiano Ronaldo was wrong again and the decision to put Marcus Rashford on the right did not work. The Portuguese would have buried his header in previous seasons but now he looks like a shadow of his former self.
In chasing the game, the manager did not have the best of options to turn to in order to change the game.
When Ten Hag decided to switch, he had to bring in Tyrell Malacia, Anthony Elanga to force the issue with only Anthony Martial, a presence that could have swayed things.
The Glazers need to realize the need to freshen up the team, add coverage in important areas like at right back, in the middle of the job and especially up front.
With the same opposition ahead in the Carabao Cup, Ten Hag and United should ideally try to make up for their dismal display on Sunday.
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