It has been a busy month for Manchester United. Since it is the end of a small cycle and the players are now on international duty with their national sides, it is a good time for us to take a step back and reflect on the past. Manchester United have played seven matches between the October and November international break. Those seven matches come in two different competitions – Premier League and Champions League – and there have been some really good results and some not so great.
We could say that there was only one big slip up in this past month, although just one point won against two big London sides is not ideal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. Those results might not be too big in a wider scheme of things, but when the Devils want to show they can get to bigger heights in the league, then those matches are the chance to prove that.
The Good – Goals Scored, Important Wins
This was not an ideal month in terms of scoring goals, but some progress has obviously been made. Man United scored 16 goals in seven matches and looking overall – that is not so big of a number, just over two goals per game. But matches like the one against Newcastle and Leipzig had shown us that when United start firing, they are really tough to stop. That does not happen that often. In three of those seven matches United scored one or less goals and even against Leipzig (5-0) and Newcastle (4-1) most of those goals came very late in the match. That was also the case with the third goal against Everton (3-1) when things were already under control for Solskjaer’s team.
More important than these goals were the two Champions League wins, against PSG and Leipzig. United defeated Champions League runners-up and semifinalists from last season, showing their potential. But failing to further use that confidence in the league was one of the usual quirks of this team.
The Bad – Inconsistency, Relying On Individual Brilliance
Man United still have some of the issues they have had in recent years. Most prominently, that would mean being constantly inconsistent. They go to Paris and beat PSG, but then show a meek performance against Chelsea at home. They thrash Leipzig, but then play terribly against Arsenal and lose at home. They lose inexplicably to Istanbul Basaksehir after underestimating them, but then they go to Goodison Park and get back with an important victory. Whenever Man United get on the pitch, you never know what you will get. Similarly to that box of chocolates Forest Gump mentions throughout the movie.
Also, Man United way to often rely solely on Bruno Fernandes having a great day or even Marcus Rashford being in form – although to a much lesser extent. If opponents stop Fernandes, Man United’s ability to create meaningful chances is at least halved and that is never a good thing for a team that wants to show they are actually progressing rather than regressing.
Overall, this month had some poor moments which in the end eclipsed those big Champions League wins…