Toothless Manchester United lose at home against Aston Villa
A late goal from defender Kortney Hause sunk Solsjkær's side before Bruno Fernandes skied a penalty
Manchester United looked to recover from a sour midweek defeat by West Ham in the Carabao Cup as they hosted Aston Villa at the Old Trafford stadium.
The dazzling frontline of Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Bruno Fernandes all dazzled and created chances but to no real effect, and in the race to be title contenders, this game, as well as the draw against Southampton may just be to their disadvantage.
United simply did not play with the zest of so-called title contenders, and more questions will be asked about Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s ability to take the team to the next level.
While they had the most possessions and chances, United failed to capitalise on it. For all the ball possession the Red Devils had, Aston Villa arguably came up with the more clear-cut chances and were in control of the midfield, thanks to John McGinn’s brilliance at being first to the balls and a good range of passing, which left Fred playing second fiddle for all of the game.
The Fairy-tale seems over now for United but the writing has always been on the wall. The 1-1 draw against Southampton, the 2-1 loss to Young Boys in the Champions League, and the uncharacteristic 1-0 loss to West Ham at the EFL cup third round all show that there is something tactically missing from Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s squad.
Perhaps the 1-0 defeat to a stunning Aston Villa side is only a result of how shoddy Manchester United have been. Apart from Ole Gunnar Solksjær’s constant need to overload his attack - which then leaves his midfield wide open, his in-game tactical ability, which was particularly questioned last season, is still far from convincing.
Today’s defeat means Manchester United have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 matches, and while Ole can get one world class defender after the other, if the midfield setup is not sorted, United will very much remain this way all through the season.
The Villans took their chances, and probably could have seen a couple more decisions go their way.
It is also rather amusing that after Ole Gunnar Solskjær had moaned about United no longer getting awarded penalties since Jürgen Klopp’s comment back in January, that the Red Devils were then given a spot-kick which would have spared the blushes.
Defender Kortney Hause gave Villa the lead in the 88th minute with a near-post header only to handle the ball moments later, giving United the chance to salvage a point.
Bruno Fernandes however skied the ball well over the net to wrap up a truly comical display from the Red Devils, and to offer some introspection by the club’s management.