A lot has gone wrong at Manchester United. You can end the statement there and it would nicely sum up the last decade.
But diving a little deeper, a lot has gone wrong at united this season specifically and there’s a lot of blame to go around. Erik ten hag deserves his fair share of it for some peculiar selection and tactical decisions that see his side sit down in 10th as the only top-half team with a negative goal difference
Yet, it can’t be discounted just how much the manager has been hamstrung in the opening weeks of the campaign. New signings arriving injured, off-the-field problems, a remarkable injury crisis that has decimated his defence and continued uncertainty thanks to a protracted injury crisis which has drained nearly all optimism from the club.
It’s hardly a good environment for success. Incompetence at the top is bound to trickle down to the bottom, regardless of the good work of those in between.
Ten Hag has made mistakes but United’s dreadful start is hardly surprising given the chaos that engulfs the club. But, hopefully, that could soon change.
There is at least a speck of sunrise on the horizon as Sir Jim Ratcliffe closes in taking some control away from the Glazers and, on the pitch, Ten Hag may finally catch a break.
United were desperately short on goals last season, with only Aston Villa and Fulham scoring fewer than them out of the top 10 sides. That was when Marcus Rashford had struck a career-best form.
This time around, with Rashford struggling to find the back of the net as he did so freely last term, the goals have dried up further. Only fix teams have scored fewer than United’s nine this season, and four of them take up places 20-17.
But Rashford, or the side in general, hasn’t been helped by the fact Ten Hag hasn’t started his first-choice attack yet this season.
Rasmus Hojlund arrived from Atalanta with a back problem that kept him out of action for the opening few games and by the time he was fit, starting and beginning to impress, Antony was unavailable. The Brazilian returned from his leave of absence before the international break but wasn’t deemed ready to start a match.
Now, with an international break for Antony to get back to full fitness and Hojlund beginning to find his feet at Old Trafford, Ten Hag is finally in a space where he can start his best attacking trio together. It’s come at a needed time.
United travel to an already-desperate Sheffield United on Saturday with a win a must if they are to build upon the galvanising comeback over Brentford. But with stormy conditions forecast under the floodlights in the late Saturday kick-off, it’s the perfect conditions for another slip-u
Being able to start the first-choice attack together for the first time in a must-win game is obviously a huge boost. The sooner the trio can start playing together consistently and begin to form relationships and understandings, the quicker United’s goals should begin to increase.