Solskjaer must make ruthless decisions on three Manchester United players
Manchester United failed to secure their second straight Premier League victory on Sunday afternoon after Southampton held them to a draw.
While there were some bright spots in the game, particularly in attack where Paul Pogba grabbed attention with another solid display and Mason Greenwood found the net again, the game also drew the attention to several key decisions that Solskjaer must take over the coming week.
The United midfielder couldn’t resist Southampton’s intense pressing style and often lost the ball recklessly in dangerous situations.
The midfielder’s lack of cohesion and backbone will be a worry for Solskjaer as he embarks on a quest to return the Premier League title to Old Trafford.
This will be even more worrying given that the Norwegian has deployed two starting midfielders to Nemanja Matic and Fred.
And with a game against Wolves next weekend, the Norwegian has three key personnel decisions to make. Here, the MEN have selected the players that Solskjaer may have to give up for next weekend …
The French striker has just returned from a long injury absence and he didn’t look sharp enough against Southampton.
Martial produced a languid performance and Solskjaer will have to seriously consider starting the striker in United’s next game.
With Greenwood having drawn attention with another goal – and United looking more dangerous when the teenager plays at the forefront of the attack in a central role – Martial falling to the bench would be more than justified.
Martial needs to get back in shape. When he does, he’ll be ready for use in the future, but the Wolves game should see him return to the bench.
With an upcoming international break, the period will allow Martial to regain clarity with no competitive matches on the horizon.
The Serbian international was not in the game against Southampton.
However, Solskjaer faces a difficult dilemma. There is no traditional midfielder in the United squad who can play the role of Matic, which means United could be looking to enter the transfer market.
But as time passes, the likelihood of the club signing another player remains slim.
Solskjaer must decide if he persists with Matic in the squad or prepares someone else in the role.
If the Serbian stays in the starting 11, United will still be at risk of being exposed for their lack of pace in midfield.
Fred didn’t have the best of games and he will be largely responsible for the deflection that led to Southampton’s only goal of the game.
The Brazilian was slow to shut down Che Adams and it ultimately cost United all three points in the game.
However, when Fred was replaced United looked even more disjointed without him.
There’s no denying the Brazilian’s ability to cover the pitch in midfield and tackle opponents, but his pass can be crooked and he can be caught in position.
With people like Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek waiting on the sidelines, Solskjaer has other options as well, and he must decide if Fred is worth persisting.
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