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Mourinho on the Brink
03 December 2018, 11:41
Mourinho on the Brink
mr3002 / Shutterstock.com

Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford on Wednesday 5th December and it is no exaggeration to say this could be the final match in charge of home team for Jose Mourinho.

The 2-2 draw at Southampton on Saturday means Manchester United are seventh in the Premier League, 6 points adrift of the top four and 16 points behind current leaders, Manchester City.  The Red Devils also have a -1 goal difference, which is a very alarming statistic.

In the match at Southampton on Saturday, Manchester United’s defending for the first goal they conceded was woeful. There was no commitment in the challenges to win the ball and the defence was pulled out of shape too easily, allowing Stuart Armstrong the space in the penalty area to hit a low drive into the corner of the net.

Manchester United came from 2-0 down to pick up a point in a 2-2 draw but having been level at half-time, more was expected of Mourinho’s men in the second half.  Southampton are in the relegation zone and it became clear they lacked confidence as Manchester United worked their way back into the match.

However, The Saints were not the only team on the pitch who had confidence issues.  Many of the Manchester United players did not want to play a first time, attacking pass when they received the ball.  All too often the ball was being passed backwards and along the back four.  At best the ball would be played across the midfield until eventually a longer pass forward was made or Manchester United lost the ball.

Their appears to be no clear plan of what the players are trying to achieve in and out of possession. When they do not have the ball, the shape of the defence seems continually stretched.  Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly were both injured for the Southampton game but even before the weekend there were clear problems in defence.

There is no urgency as a group to press and win the ball back high up the field.  If one player presses to win the ball, he is rarely supported by a team mate and the opposition are breaking onto the back four or five of Manchester United too often in games.

In terms of attacking play, there has been very little to excite the fans this season. It is difficult to recall a period of Manchester United attacking play which has been slick and opened a team up through clever passing and movement.

Mourinho looked exasperated on the bench throughout the draw at Southampton.  There is no doubt Mourinho is unhappy as he struggles to get the best out of his players.  The former Chelsea boss pointed to the fact he needs someone in midfield to be aggressive and win the ball back for his team after the match.

Mourinho spent £52 million on Fred in the summer but he was on the bench at St Mary’s and clearly does not fit into Mourinho’s plans.  The Portuguese has spent plenty of money at Old Trafford but failed to create a winning team or one which plays good attacking football which is what the fans crave.

Just when he appears on the brink, Manchester United pull a result out of the bag and they could do so again on Wednesday night.  However, another poor result and performance could see both the manager and fans put out of their misery.

Predictions for Premier League

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_1 PR
Fulham FC
West Ham

15/12/2018 17:30
2
flag_1 PR
Brighton
Chelsea FC

16/12/2018 13:30
2
flag_1 PR
Southampton
Arsenal

16/12/2018 13:30
2
flag_1 PR
Liverpool FC
Manchester United

16/12/2018 16:00
1

England Premier League - predictions, tips, statistics
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Manchester City 44 17 14 2 1 48 10 38
2. Liverpool FC 42 16 13 3 0 34 6 28
3. Tottenham 39 17 13 0 4 31 16 15
4. Chelsea FC 34 16 10 4 2 33 13 20
5. Arsenal 34 16 10 4 2 35 20 15
6. Manchester United 26 16 7 5 4 28 26 2
7. Wolverhampton 25 17 7 4 6 19 19 0
8. Everton FC 24 17 6 6 5 24 22 2
9. Watford FC 24 17 7 3 7 23 25 -2
10. Bournemouth 23 17 7 2 8 25 28 -3
11. Leicester City 22 17 6 4 7 21 21 0
12. West Ham 21 16 6 3 7 23 25 -2
13. Brighton 21 16 6 3 7 19 22 -3
14. Newcastle Utd 16 17 4 4 9 14 22 -8
15. Crystal Palace 15 17 4 3 10 14 23 -9
16. Cardiff City 14 17 4 2 11 17 33 -16
17. Burnley FC 12 17 3 3 11 15 33 -18
18. Huddersfield 10 17 2 4 11 10 28 -18
19. Southampton 9 16 1 6 9 13 30 -17
20. Fulham FC 9 16 2 3 11 16 40 -24

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