Premier League Successes and Failures: Manchester United’s Puzzle Lacks Pattern | Football news

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United’s foundations are still built on sand

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Manchester City’s victory over Manchester United

Gary Neville had talked about Manchester United having “better foundations” after moving to a three-man defense and some more encouraging results against Tottenham and Atalanta. After the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City, those foundations seem to be built on sand.

Even Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to accept now that the answers he found in the wake of that miserable 5-0 against Liverpool will not be a long-term solution for this team.

“The performance against Tottenham was good, but it’s not what we want it to look like,” he said in his post-match press conference. “Unfortunately we had to try to get a result”.

Solskjaer described the derby against Manchester City as passive and this is how this game can appear on the break when they are unable to get close to the opponents.

The problem for Manchester United is that they cannot play a pressing match – there are few signs that Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes are suitable for such a tactic.

Nor can they produce the kind of possession game the City offers at Old Trafford. In fact, they appeared so uncomfortable on the ball that fans were left to urge David de Gea to pump his goal kicks onto the pitch rather than risk losing the ball once again.

So what now? What is the future of this team if it means returning to an approach that it was forced to abandon by adopting this more cautious 3-5-2 first and foremost?

Solskjaer spoke of the “need to be more aggressive” later. “You have to come out against Watford like a real wounded animal and get back to who we can be.”

Three years after the start of the work, understanding exactly what it is remains the puzzle.
Adam Bate

Bernardo and Cancelo make the difference

When Pep Guardiola chooses his team there is always a surprise. Jack Grealish has been a mainstay since his £ 100m transfer in the summer, but he has given way to this at Old Trafford. There was also speculation that Kevin De Bruyne’s place might be in doubt.

The presence of Bernardo Silva seems essential and he proved it with a decisive performance in the derby won 2-0 by Manchester City. It was he who took the game away from Manchester United, sneaking into the far post to deflect in the second goal.

This was just the highlight. The overall performance was outstanding, setting the tone for his team and providing an irresistible contrast to the home team’s efforts. Silva has suffered more fouls than any City player and has covered 12.51 kilometers, more than anyone else.

If he was denied the man of the match award it was Joao Cancelo, who enjoyed his role as left-back, scoring both goals. His performance owes much to individual quality, but was made possible by Guardiola’s tactical prowess of his counterpart.

Phil Foden’s choice over Grealish on the left was important, the left remained high and wide, lengthening the game and immobilizing Aaron Wan-Bissaka. With United wingless in the first half, Cancelo gave Old Trafford freedom.

Guardiola has world-class options, of course, and no doubt there were many ways he could have won this match. But one left the stadium feeling that his use of Cancelo was significant – and that his dependence on Bernard was typical.
Adam Bate

Selhurst Park is full of hope and excitement beneath Vieira

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Crystal Palace’s victory over the Wolves

There have been times in the last three seasons or so that a trip to Selhurst Park has been a bit of a chore. The kick under Roy Hodgson was pragmatic and ensured that Crystal Palace wouldn’t fall through the trap door. Selhurst Park is now an exciting place to watch football.

Patrick Vieira deserves immense credit for making his mark throughout the club. Watching fans can dream a little bigger now with Vieira at the helm. Their 2-0 win over a sad Wolves takes them to the top half.

There is every chance they will stay there too. Football is easy on the eye and based on ball possession, which is seeing their forwards thrive in areas where they can hurt opponents.

Wilfried Zaha came to life in the second half, scoring the all-important goal of the lead, before Conor Gallagher, full of life in midfield as always, resolved the match with a deflected shot. The fact that Palace went after the second goal rather than closing shop 1-0 shows you exactly what the mentality is now here. Offense is the best form of defense for Vieira. The building is going around.
Lewis Jones

Is this the beginning of the great Norwich escape?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Norwich’s victory over Brentford

If only Norwich could face Brentford every week. The Canaries are now unbeaten in their last six fights, winning four, but when manager Daniel Farke came over to hug his away supporters, the German was under no illusions as to what their hard-fought 2-1 victory would mean. west London must represent.

“Last season we were winning game after game, but the fans couldn’t celebrate with us, so it’s a big party for them too,” said Farke. “They had to be very patient. We know we have to move forward and it will be a long way.”

Farke spoke of excellent margins and scoring the first goal formed the platform for this unlikely success. Norwich finished a streak of 14 Premier League matches without taking the lead in a match, going for the first time since July 2020 against Watford, a 2-1 defeat. This can only be the beginning.

After finishing a 20-game winless Premier League streak spanning two seasons to kick off their latest quest to prove they belong at this tier, Farke pounded on his chest to celebrate the celebrations and as he headed down the Brentford Community Stadium tunnel, he knows his side are already in survival mode.

The 45-year-old had said in the accumulation that he would ignore the “rotten tomatoes” and continue undeterred on Carrow Road. This wasn’t quite a last-chance saloon, but it’s a sweet win that can toast to silence those murmurs that the Derby’s miserable 11-point record in the 2007/08 season was about to be eclipsed.

Norwich’s next three games read Southampton (home), Wolves (home) and Newcastle (away). This spirited win must serve as a stepping stone to additional points in those games if the momentum is to be maintained.
Ben Grounds

The Brentford needs the Toney tonic to stop the slide

Brentford collapsed for a fourth consecutive defeat
Image:
Brentford collapsed for a fourth consecutive defeat

Brentford have suffered four straight league defeats for the first time since December 2016 under Dean Smith in the Championship, but Thomas Frank has no plans to snatch his formula for success.

“Do you mean a bad execution of the form or a bad execution of the results?” he asked a reporter on Saturday after his team’s latest setback at home against Norwich.

Frank was right with his assessment that Brentford “destroyed” Norwich in the second half, but their hefty 45-minute opening in which much of the damage was self-inflicted left a mountain too big to climb.

The Brentford boss hates to lose and will spend most of the international hiatus agonizing on how to stop the slip, with the credit taken by a vibrant seven-week opening of their Premier League tenure that was tainted by the losing quartet.

“I’m devastated and my body is burning,” said Frank. “I’m very upset, so it’s important that they ask me good questions because I hate losing.

“When I watch the video on Monday, I know it will be more relaxing because I feel that we are on the right track. It will be impossible if we don’t collect more points if we continue to perform as we are. All the xG tables tell me it will change so we just have to keep it going. faith and the results will turn ”.

Rico Henry has become Brentford’s 10th different scorer in the Premier League this season – only Chelsea (15) and Manchester City (11) have had more in the competition this season – but Frank will focus on his talisman’s rematch.

Ivan Toney has played six league games without scoring and has so far scored only one Premier League goal in his 11 appearances. Understandably, given the move to class, it is his longest barren run without a goal in the league since playing for Peterborough in April 2019.

Toney rarely seemed to want to end his drought here, occupied by the excellent 19 year old Andrew Omobamidele, and Brentford must try to get the best out of him to climb the ranks again.
Ben Grounds

Will Smith be able to resist during the international break?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Southampton’s victory over Aston Villa

When Aston Villa took the 2-0 lead at home to Wolves, everything looked rosy for Dean Smith. Yet here Villa are. That capitulation to lose 3-2 to Bruno Lage’s side was a hard memory to shake for the team, which is now in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Losses against Tottenham, Wolves, Arsenal, West Ham and Southampton don’t look good when one evaluates the case where Villa is going under Smith.

Against Southampton, it was more or less the same in terms of attack patterns. Creating chances remains a big deal for Smith without Jack Grealish’s influence. Anwar El Ghazi wasn’t the answer, putting on an erratic show, while Leon Bailey, understandably, is still struggling with life in the Premier League. An expected 0.7 goal figure at St Mary’s perfectly showed Villa’s problems up front. There are some big decisions to be made during the international break, starting with moving forward with this manager.
Lewis Jones

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