Does Man Utd lack confidence in the challenge of titles? Solskjaer leaves Bore draw with Arsenal with more questions than answers

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Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United: Match statistics

The Red Devils were kept to a 0-0 draw at Arsenal after
losing at home to Sheffield United, casting doubt on their confidence in their
own potential. After a tough week featuring two frustrating results, the
euphoria that filled the Manchester United dressing room six days after Ole
Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat Liverpool feels like a lifetime ago.

The manager had called on his squad to use the FA Cup
victory over the side of Jurgen Klopp to help them hit the necessary heights of
a genuine Premier League title challenger, but they had a reality check by the
side sitting bottom of the league and another shorn of several star men over
the course of seven days.

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Having seen leaders Manchester
City make it eight wins in a row with a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United
earlier in the day, United’s 0-0 draw with a weakened Arsenal cannot be
viewed as anything other than two points dropped.

Solskjaer was hoping the Liverpool win would increase momentum
and belief but these last two games have had the opposite effect. The
admirable grit that had been getting them over the line in recent weeks
has disappeared for the moment, with the defence and the attack taking it
in turns to let the side down.

Edinson Cavani, who before the Emirates clash had barely put a
foot wrong in a United shirt, had the two biggest chances of Saturday’s game
and thought he’d won it in the 88th minute only for his bicycle kick from six
yards out to go wide of the post.

“The big thing is that he’s there on the end of all the chances,
which is something I hope Mason, Anthony, Marcus will learn from,”
Solskjaer told reporters afterwards.

He certainly can’t be too pleased with his forwards, as United
once again failed to score a goal from open play against the ‘Big Six’. This
season in the Premier League, United’s strikers have twice drawn a blank
against Arsenal, and once apiece against Manchester City, Chelsea,
Liverpool and Tottenham – that’s just not good enough for a team who have real
desire of mounting a title charge.

While Arsenal spoke at full time of signs of progress, having
taken four points from United this season, Solskjaer was left wondering how to
get his side back to winning ways.

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Where it was the defence who let
them down midweek against Sheffield United, it was the lack of precision up
front that cost them against Arsenal.

And United couldn’t blame absentees either. Marcus Rashford,
Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes all started at the Emirates and
there were minutes too for Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

However, even with all that attacking talent on the pitch, they
just couldn’t find a breakthrough. Of their 14 shots on goal, only
three were on target and just one came in the second half.

Solskjaer had urged Rashford to take on Gabriel Martinelli in
the first half because he “couldn’t defend” and while the
England international looked lively, the killer final ball was missing and
his last contribution, which was a shot into the side netting, summed up his

“I’m scratching my head with them, to be honest,” former
United skipper Roy Keane mused in the Sky Sports studio
after the game. “They almost lacked the belief to go and win the

That was the biggest problem for United: the game had been
there for the taking. They had the last six shots of the first half, while
Arsenal failed to have an effort in the 15 minutes that preceded the

When Solskjaer needed his team to step up in the second half,
though, the failed to deliver.

Despite the fact that Scott McTominay’s illness-enforced
withdrawal saw Martial enter the fray, United lack penetration and incision in

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This was a night on which United
set a new club record for games unbeaten on the road (18)
that was hardly cause for celebration, given United now trail City by three
points having played a game more than their neighbours.

“Of course, you look at every game but you look at the games we
have played against Arsenal, Chelsea, City and Liverpool and we defend
well,” Solskjaer mused. “We don’t really concede many chances and
that’s one foundation to build on.

“But we need to take our chances and we know we have
players to do that. We just haven’t done it, so we have to keep on working
with them on the training ground.

“Today, with the chances we had, we feel that we should
have won it. But you have to take those chances. It’s definitely something
I want my forwards to sort out, given they’ve scored so many goals throughout
their careers.”

Solskjaer had called for that elite mentality to get them
through the week after the Liverpool win but they lacked self-belief when
they really needed it.

The Norwegian compared the busy scheduling to that of the NBA
and if this United side are to really show their mettle as potential title
challengers, then six points against Southampton and Everton is a necessity.

They need to rediscover their killer instinct, starting at Old
Trafford on Tuesday night. If they don’t, they can forget about the title for
another year.


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1 thought on “Does Man Utd lack confidence in the challenge of titles? Solskjaer leaves Bore draw with Arsenal with more questions than answers”

  1. I want to agree with this author of the piece somehow. There is some lack of confidence when it comes to finishing clinically. They can be so sloppy.

    I wouldn't even relie on the defence. Manchester United need a top class central back. Also it need serious wingers to supply the ball.

    If it could buy Grealish, Upamericano, Haaland and Jadon Sancho; the confidence will surely come.

    My fear is, if we remain playing like this, without getting high quality players as named above; our superstar Bruno Fernandez will drop or leave the club in the very near future.

    Cheers! DJ

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