Premier League crisis club of the week: Manchester United
Another week, another Premier League football club in crisis.
Well, there’s actually quite a few seemingly in permanent crisis right now (here’s looking at you Tottenham and West Ham United), but this week there was only one team that could be chosen for the ‘Premier League crisis club of the week’ article and that club is the one who lost 7-0 to their arch rivals on Sunday.
Manchester United, come on down:
What’s the crisis?
As mentioned above Manchester United lost 7-0 to their arch rivals Liverpool on Sunday at Anfield.
That is the biggest defeat the Red Devils have ever suffered in the Premier League, and they suffered it at the hands of Liverpool.
A tough one to take.
Why are they in crisis?
For this answer, we enlisted 90min’s Man Utd podcast ‘The Promised Land’:
“We have seen, perhaps not a collapse as big as that one given that it was seven goals that they shipped, but last season’s defeat at Old Trafford to Liverpool was worse than this one – that one was the very, very bottom and it couldn’t really get any lower than that.
“United have only lost a handful of games this season, but what we have seen in those defeats is a suggestion, or actual proof, that they just cannot deal with – at times – the adversity. I think they’re still mentally very fragile, and they’re showing at times that they’re able to get over that but in big games, or at times when they feel like the world is piling upon them they just allow that to happen.
“They conceded six at City, four at Brentford, seven at Liverpool, at Arsenal they gave up three – although there was a bit more mettle in that performance – three at Villa, and two at home to Brighton. There’s something in common: five of those defeats were away from home and looking at the Brentford, City and Liverpool defeats in particular, that’s 17 goals given up in three games.
“For me there’s a common theme with all of them, it’s that they haven’t closed the game down, they’ve not been smart, they’ve not been able to deal with the pressure that’s coming with going behind. I think that’s a completely mental issue. Against Liverpool they lost all of their structure, all of their heart, they kind of thought ‘oh my god, here we go again’ and I think that’s a common theme in those three losses that I’ve just mentioned.”Scott Saunders.
What can they do to rectify it?
Unlike most other crises that have been discussed during this series, there isn’t a whole lot that really needs doing in the short term.
Despite being thumped by Liverpool, Man Utd have generally been on the right path for the last number of months and they just need to ensure they stay on that path this week with wins over Real Betis and Southampton – two teams who aren’t very good.
In the mid/longer term there is a need to get rid of squad deadwood like Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire and replace them with players Erik ten Hag actually wants, and sign a world class striker to take the goalscoring burden off Marcus Rashford a bit.