Manchester United‘s sluggish performance to eke out a 2-1 victory over West Ham United on Saturday reiterated the notion that the recent upheaval in their performances was merely a flash in the pan, and the deep rot that has set within the ranks needs to be shaken out and thrown away with disdain.
This is not to say that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done a bad job, and this is not meant to discredit him, for a manager is only as good as his team.
Solskjaer inherited a side which consisted of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as first-team regular centre-halves, and no disrespect to the duo, but surely they are no match for the likes of Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique, and Aymeric Laporte, which technically they should be if United are to contest for major European honours.
United scored both their goals against West Ham via penalties, and it is a scary fact that they would have remained goalless if Robert Snodgrass and Ryan Fredericks had not made those errors in toppling Juan Mata and Anthony Martial respectively, inside the box.
West Ham looked much more fluid and aggressive, and a pure piece of bad prevented Michail Antonio’s shot from going in beyond David de Gea.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot be blamed if United did not have cover for Luke Shaw at left-back and it is increasingly worrisome when one realises that Shaw had the ageing Ashley Young as his backup and that the latter regularly plied his trade at right-back.
Marcos Rojo, by profession a centre-back, was tried at that position on Saturday since Shaw was out due to suspension, but the Argentinian was rendered ineffective over and over again by Felipe Anderson.
Rojo is not defensively solid nor is he blessed for pace, and made just his third start of the season, and yet he takes home £80,000 a week, more than Jones, Victor Lindelof, and Eric Bailly do.
Juan Mata, another player who is no longer the first name on the team sheet, partly because of a change in the system and partly because of his tiring legs, takes home £140,000 a week, almost as much as Ashley Young and Marcus Rashford do collectively.