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Man United’s Southampton stalemate again highlights the one glaring hole in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad


Man United’s Southampton stalemate again highlights the one glaring hole in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad

 

Manchester United were held to an altogether disappointing draw by Southampton this afternoon, with one particular area of concern having since been widely highlighted.

Greenwood cancels out Adams

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were back in Premier League action a short time ago.

The Red Devils made the trip to Southampton, aiming to build on an inspired opening day drubbing of Leeds United last weekend.

United headed into proceedings as overwhelming favourites, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood all in from the off, on the back of starring opening day displays.

When all was said and done at St. Mary’s, however, the visitors ultimately came up short, on the back of a frankly underwhelming 90 minutes.

Southampton opened the afternoon’s scoring on the half-hour mark, when Che Adams’ deflected effort from the edge of the area squeezed beyond David De Gea and home:

United, though, to their credit, emerged for the 2nd-half with renewed vigour, eventually culminating in Greenwood levelling things up from another Pogba assist with 55 minutes on the clock.

From here, the visitors were simply expected to take over, overwhelming Southampton courtesy of a prolonged siege of the Saints’ goal.

Such an outcome, however, evidently based on the final scoreline, was simply not forthcoming.

Instead, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s hosts held their own, defending stoutly to secure a hard-fought share of the spoils, their first of the Premier League season.

Midfield concerns

On the red half of Manchester, though, the inquest will now get underway.

Most will likely look towards the two opposite ends of the pitch as the problem areas for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men today, with Harry Maguire and co. having looked far from comfortable at the back, whilst Anthony Martial again toiled in his efforts to get back on the scoresheet.

Ultimately, however, it was the middle of the park which proved United’s downfall at St. Mary’s.

Time and time again, deep-lying pair Fred and Nemanja Matic, restored to starting duties this afternoon, failed in their efforts to deal with Southampton’s midfield press.

The latter has long been past his sell by date, whilst Fred, well, the fact that his own goal proved the least concerning takeaway from the Brazilian’s showing says it all.

Man United’s Southampton stalemate again highlights the one glaring hole in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad

Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder Fred gestures during the English FA Cup quarter-final football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 21, 2021. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Red Devils have of course been hailed for their work on the transfer front to this point in the summer, and rightly so.

Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, over the course of the season, will undoubtedly prove themselves stellar additions to Solskjaer’s ranks.

But the fact remains that the Manchester giants possess neither an elite ball-winner or ball-progressor to operate behind Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.

And, if today’s evidence is anything to go by, then such a shortcoming could yet prove the ultimate difference between United mounting a sustained title challenge, and simply vying it out for a top-4 berth.

 

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This article was edited by
Josh Barker.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 2 5 6
2 Brighton & Hove Albion 2 3 6
3 Everton FC 2 2 4
4 Brentford FC 2 2 4
5 Manchester City 2 4 3
6 Manchester United 1 4 3
7 Chelsea FC 1 3 3
8 West Ham United 1 2 3
9 Aston Villa 2 1 3
10 Leicester City 1 1 3
11 Tottenham Hotspur 1 1 3
12 Watford FC 2 -1 3
13 Crystal Palace 2 -3 1
14 Leeds United 2 -4 1
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 -1 0
16 Southampton FC 1 -2 0
17 Arsenal FC 1 -2 0
18 Burnley FC 2 -3 0
19 Newcastle United 2 -4 0
20 Norwich City 2 -8 0
Player Team Goals
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 3
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 2
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 2
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 2
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 2
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 2
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 1
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 1
Doucoure, Abdoulaye Everton FC 1
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 1
Richarlison Everton FC 1
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 1
James, Reece Chelsea FC 1
Cresswell, Aaron West Ham United 1
Klich, Mateusz Leeds United 1
Duffy, Shane Brighton & Hove Albion 1
Alonso, Marcos Chelsea FC 1
Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea FC 1
Ayling, Luke Leeds United 1
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 1



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