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A midfield mess: Solskjaer's biggest problem is the area he chose not to fix

Man United's loss to Dean Smith's Villa last week Saturday highlighted the deficiency in the team's play that has been threatening to surface all season.

The main issue was United's midfield, which was unable to link or efficiently build play, leaving the team's attack isolated.

We're five games into the Premier League season, and we still don't know who Manchester United's best midfielder is. Scott McTominay and Fred are Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's favoured midfield pairing. However, it is undeniably not the best.

Perhaps in gritty away games. Fred and McTominay, on the other hand, lack the necessary inventiveness and defensive nous to fully shut out teams who sit back and dare United to unlock them.

Under Solskjaer, there have been times when he preferred the pairing of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba.

They took a step back as a duo last campaign, but the Ex-Serbia international, Matic has shown positive indications this campaign following the game at the St Mary's against Southampton, and French Midfielder, Paul Pogba will be moved away from the left side of attack, when England forward, Marcus Rashford returns from injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer used Matic and van de Beek against the Tofees in preseason, and the team exceeded expectations. They were adequate in the EPL Cup match against David Moyes last week, but United lost, with the Netherland Midfielder missing his man for the deciding goal.

Van de Beek hasn't been given nearly enough chances. The Norwegian tactician does not have faith in him. When he plays so irregularly, it's difficult for him to develop any sort of rhythm or sharpness.

On social media, Fred is frequently used as a scapegoat. Some of the criticism is unjustified; his pressing off the ball is a strong suit for Solskjaer, but the issue is on the field. The Brazil International is just as likely to stop a United attack as he is to stop an opponent.

There are five players, yet there is no winning combination.

The Manchester based club are in a position where they've the numbers but not the winning pairing with McTominay, Fred, Pogba, Matic, and Van de Beek.

Sure, Ole team are in a good position in the English Premier league and has been in the top 4 for the previous two campaigns, but they've gotten to a stage where the fans want more. Fans are becoming restless and skeptical that this club has what it takes to win trophies this campaign.

The midfield is the most important position on the field. If it doesn't work, the backline will be put under additional pressure and will concede silly goals.

The Norwegian gaffer has tried a number of different combinations but is yet to find the right one. In the midweek match against Unai Emery's Villarreal, he is likely to revert to Fred and McTominay.

By choosing ‘McFred,' Solskjaer would be playing into the hands of the Spanish outfit, who are likely to defend deep. United supporters are equally fed up with the situation.

This week, there is a desire for change in midfield. But to what, precisely? Will Ole start Paul Pogba alongside Matic? Is switching to a 3-5-2 with defensive players unavailable and relying on Cavani and Ronaldo in attack the solution? Should Solskjaer take a chance and start Van de Beek?

United are in a must-win situation, and the team's midfield has more questions than answers. It is not good enough to be in this position after three complete seasons under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

This week, we might be able to uncover a winning midfield combination. It's possible that McTominay and Fred are involved. However, United have discovered that what works one week often does not work the very next.

United's midfield must be blamed on Solskjaer.

Solskjaer deserves credit for all he has achieved, including being the first manager since Sir Alex Ferguson to secure back-to-back top-four finishes, but he must also take responsibility when things go wrong. Solskjaer has the financial means to sign midfielders. He rarely uses the one he bought, Donny van de Beek.

James Garner, a young midfielder, has not been given an opportunity. In pre-season, Solskjaer prioritized game time for Andreas Pereira ahead of the England under-21 international.

Rather than being the team's weekly backbone, Fred and McTominay should be squad players. If United decides to spend money on finding the appropriate partner for Paul Pogba, he might play a bigger role.

For the past eighteen months, Nemanja Matic's abilities have waned, and The Red Devils chose to prolong his contract rather than hunt for a replacement. This summer, the position was skipped over in favor of something else. It's a risky move that could backfire.

Ruben Neves or Yves Bissouma, for example, would not have broken the bank. It's hard to think that with United's scouting network, there couldn't have been more affordable options in Europe for those who would have either upgraded to Fred or Matic. Solskjaer simply hasn't placed enough emphasis on it.

As a result, They are going into a vital Champions League game this week with no notion who the team's strongest midfield combination is. This feels like it could go on for the entire season.

The worst part is that everything is entirely foreseeable. Under Solskjaer, United fans have been watching this unfold, and it's clear that the midfield needs to be addressed. The manager, on the other hand, has a stubborn streak that has led him to refuse to do so.

The uncertainty surrounding Pogba's contract adds to the position's lack of clarity. In the January transfer window or next summer, Solskjaer may have opportunities to modify the situation and increase his options. He only needs to ensure that the team's form improves rather than crumble, or else he may find himself without a say in the matter.

Photo Credit: Google Images

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Fred McTominay Nemanja Solskjaer Villa


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