Showing posts with label Southampton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southampton. Show all posts

Ole the smiling assassin

First thing Ole sensed when took over as the Manager was that Marouane Fellaini's style of play has nothing in common with the traditions of MUFC and promptly he was packed off to China. Fair play to the Belgian who saved the poor team's blushes on many occasions. Then Antonio Valencia's contract was not renewed in March and it was too late to salvage the one with Ander Herrera. In the summer Ole has sent Romelu Lukaku, Matteo Darmian off and loaned Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling. That's SEVEN players off the first team squad which is massive.

Questions about Ole unable to handle big name personalities sound premature giving the apparent mismatch in the style of play warranted by the Gaffer and the unsuitability of those players. Only Ander Herrera can be counted as a loss while Romelu Lukaku's guaranteed goals against non-top 4 sides will be definitely missed. These two should have been replaced no doubt.

On the pre-season tour many academy grads have been initiated, can Ole match the records of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson now by handing debuts to 9 or 10 of them? Certainly as he has left himself with no choice but the number might not as high. This will earn the support of traditional fans and buy him time for the squad rebuild to eventually challenge for the title in 3 years time.

The two penalty misses in two games costing MUFC 4 points have exposed the known flaws very early in the season undoing the pre-season form. Marcus Rashford's penalty was very well taken and beat the goal keeper who went the wrong way. MUFC need to persist with him as first choice. With a weak spine, only Pogba as a player of repute in midfield and no options on the bench other than Mata, results will not be predictable like early 60's of Busby and late 80's of Ferguson era. That calls for Patience from fans which will be regularly tested especially in social media where everyone seems to vent their anger or react instantly than construct a balanced thought.

Poorly taken free kicks and corner kicks in the last game will nudge Ole to pick Andreas Pereira more frequently. However playing Pereira on the right wing is not the answer as he is not a natural winger nor picking a deadball specialist if he does not offer anything else. Pereira though is still in his formative years. Ole has settled on the 4-2-3-1 formation yet the midfield composition needs to be worked out. If the results do not improve Matic will be back in the equation as a damage control exercise. Daniel James might be eventually entrusted with spot kick duties in the long run.

It's a make or break season for 26 year old die-hard MUFC fan in Jesse Lingard. His social media immaturity in the summer rightfully earned him a censure from Ole. He is no longer an academy grad but having played in 170 games and not having cemented his position in the squad. Lingard needs to be selfish to match his instincts to deliver when the team needs it. He has done that against mid-table teams in away fixtures for Jose Mourinho in 2017-18 season. He did not start against top 4 rivals Chelsea the only win of MUFC thus far perhaps highlights his eventual fate.

David de Gea will again be in the spotlight as he has a recent tendency to go for the spectacular save instead of basic keeper tactics. His contract renewal hasn't been sorted adds to the indecision despite MUFC duly naming his as Captain in the absence of Ashley Young. The new #130 million defensive unit had its first jolt and how it responds to defeat will be keenly watched against Southampton. If they do not sort themselves Chris Smalling enhanced with Italian experience might be in the reckoning next season.

Ashley Young for injured Luke Shaw seems a direct swap but considering the urgency to avoid 3 games without a win scenario Ole might bring in Nemanja Matic for Scott McTominay and Juan Mata or Andreas Pereira for injured Anthony Martial. Mason Greenwood on the bench. Angel Gomes played in the U23 match on Friday means he will not feature in this match.

With the international break coming up Ole will know the result best suited for this Saturday lunch time kick-off.

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