Man Utd suffer third defeat of season after losing 1-0 to Arsenal; New midfield diamond formation abandoned at half-time; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converts penalty conceded by Paul Pogba: Neville: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces tough decisions
Monday 2 November 2020 17:20, UK
Roy Keane thinks Manchester United's players will get Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked, starkly concluding "this team is nowhere near good enough" following their defeat to Arsenal.
In a withering summary of United's dismal start to the campaign, Keane told Sky Sports: "We were almost building up this season as make-or-break for Ole, but at this moment in time it's not looking good for him. I scratch my head at players who don't have enthusiasm for a game of football.
"Sometimes you say 'there's no reason to panic'. But the results and performances suggest you should be panicking. He says they are good boys and want to win but I judge a player by actions. My eyes don't lie to me. The last disappointment was just a few weeks ago against Spurs - this teams reacts for a few weeks and get carried away with themselves.
"Ole will lose his job working with these players - that's what is going to happen."
After six games of the new season, United are just 15th in the Premier League table having already suffered three defeats - all of them at Old Trafford.
"I am really, really worried about Manchester United now," Keane said after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty secured the Gunners a deserved victory.
"Where do you want me to start? A lack of energy, of enthusiasm, and a real lack of quality. That really concerned me. No quality, no composure.
"Some of the performances were really poor. Have they turned a corner? It's the longest corner ever. I am just not convinced by these players.
"I don't see any leaders out there. There's a real lack of quality. There's a long way back for this club."
United barely created a single goalscoring opportunity of note over the 90 minutes, with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood's partnership failing to fire.
"I looked at Rashford closely today. His body language was shocking," continued Keane. "Shrugging his shoulders when things didn't go his way? You roll your sleeves up when you play for Manchester United."
Gary Neville admitted "there are more problems than solutions" after watching Solskjaer revert back to a 4-2-3-1 at half-time after the diamond formation so successful in the Champions League fell flat.
And he warned the United boss that, rather than shoehorning players into a system, he faced big calls over some of his big stars.
"You have six midfield players at the club: Nemanja Matic, Fred, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Donny Van de Beek and Paul Pogba and you've somehow got to get them into a system, which is forcing Ole to play a diamond.
"I think there was an element of him thinking he could just put four players in that diamond and it would work after what happened in midweek but Scott McTominay on the right-hand side wasn't working after five minutes. You have to be comfortable moving out into that wide area; Aaron Wan-Bissaka's already a bit awkward on the ball at right-back so you need someone to balance it and the balance on the right is a real problem for United.
"When Greenwood went off it was even worse. They wanted Jadon Sancho obviously to play on that side and it looks like a real bad error in not getting that position recruited.
"Changing systems, players - having plenty in one position and not enough in others - is a real problem. Manchester United's full-backs aren't the best attacking full-backs in the world - Luke Shaw's ok going forward; he gives a bit of balance - but you're playing a diamond and your width's coming from players who don't really play that position well in terms of being high and wide. It's all looking a bit scruffy and towards the end, I'm not sure what shape United were playing.
"He might have to make some tough decisions, Ole.
"I thought Pogba needed to come off that left-hand side with Marcus Rashford going to the left and Edinson Cavani up top and Mason Greenwood to the right. It didn't feel like he wanted to take Pogba off. Did they really need McTominay and Matic on the pitch towards the end?
"He might have to upset a few. He's going to have to be selfish. He has to back certain players but ones that he doesn't want, leave them out rather than trying to fit them all in.
"He's rotating from game to game to try and keep everyone happy but he's going to end up losing himself if he's not careful."
Manchester United go to Istanbul Buyuksehir in the Champions League at 5.55pm on Wednesday, before going to Everton at 12.30pm in the Premier League on Saturday.
Arsenal host Molde in the Europa League on Thursday at 8pm, and then welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates at 7.15pm on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.