Manchester United have a massive summer transfer window ahead of them.
Liverpool, after a prolonged wait of 30 long-lasting years, finally lifted up the devoted Premier League title on Wednesday night, beating Chelsea in what was an eye-watering eight-goal (5–3) encounter that ended superbly in the favour of the home side.
Not only Liverpool devotees, but the reds of Manchester were happy with the outcome of the late-night fixture. Earlier that day, United hosted West Ham United in their last league game at Old Trafford.
Everybody surrounding the Mancunian club expected Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils to put up another sensible performance as they have done — albeit the 3-1 loss against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend — since the resumption of football following a three-months of suspension due to lockdown imposed by the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.
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However, the actual game saw something unusual from the men in red as they conceded a late first-half goal via a penalty given for Paul Pogba‘s deliberate handball while protecting his face during a set play inside United’s own 18-yard box.
Michail Antonio’s opener soon got cancelled out by Mason Greenwood‘s clean and crispy finish in the 51st-minute of the game. United looked tried in the middle of the park and lacklustre going forward, earning them only one point from their very last home fixture of the 2019-20 season.
Some may argue that it was a lucky point for Solskjaer’s men as Liverpool’s victory against Chelsea saw them end the night from the 3rd position on the Premier League points table. As it stands, a draw against Leicester City on Sunday would be enough to give them the long-awaited Champions League spot.
Congested fixture list and playing with almost same eleven twice in a week have not only taken a toll on United’s high-intense gameplay bit by bit but has massively pointed out the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lacks depth and quality in the bench.
As you may know, if needed, Premier League clubs have permission to use five substitutions in a match. Solskjaer, who had benched nine of the fittest players at his disposal, only went on to make two changes in the form of Aaron Wan-Bissaka for Timothy Fosu-Mensah at the interval and Odion Ighalo for Marcus Rashford in the 85th-minute of the match.
“We wanted to have goalscorers out there and score goals. We know Bruno [Fernandes], Paul [Pogba], Mason, Anthony [Martial], they can create a goal in any second, Marcus as well. We wanted to win the game, of course, it would have been nice to go into Sunday with a win but we are where we are.”
The statement might sound quite good to some United fans, some have raised questions over Solskjaer’s disbelief in the likes of Scott McTominay, Fred, Juan Mata, Daniel James — who has had a decent 2019-20 season.
So what are they doing on the bench? Do they not have the ability it takes to turn the game around? They should sell them if they are not good enough to change the course of the game, no? — there are more questions than answers regarding the squad depth of Manchester United at this moment.
Gary Neville, a former Manchester United captain and the winner of 12 Premier League titles with the club, believes there is a long way to go before Solskjaer thinks of catching Man City and Liverpool, claiming they need to make at least ‘three or four’ signings.
While speaking on Sky Sports, Neville went on to claim:
“I don’t think this Manchester United team at this moment can challenge for the title next season. It needs more additions and more of the right additions.
“To be fair to Ole, in the time he has been at the club, I think the players he has brought in have improved his team enormously.
“I think that he needs three or four more of those as a minimum before he can even think about getting up into third or second place.
“My concern isn’t really for the front three or the midfield three, it’s the depth and the drop that you have beneath that talent.
“When I say that Manchester United need a centre-forward, that’s not me saying they should sell Anthony Martial.
“They need a centre-forward because Manchester United should have two or three great centre-forwards.
“They should have two or three great wingers. Not just one in each position.”
Former players and fans all think Manchester United need to invest heavily to rejuvenate their bench strength in this upcoming summer transfer window. Now it is up to the club and its authority to act likewise.
How many of Manchester United’s current squad players do you think are good enough to change the mood of a match after coming off the bench?