Manchester United started the season in catastrophic fashion with a 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace. They then beat Brighton 3-2 before getting hit for 6 by Tottenham at Old Trafford a few days later. This wasn’t the start Solskjaer had imagined but things would soon pick up…
After a 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal on the 1st of November, United would then go 13 league games unbeaten winning 10 of them. By the end of December United were really in the mix and on the 12th of January they went top of the league after a 1-0 win against Burnley at Turf Moor.
United would be top for 3 weeks before losing to bottom placed Sheffield United. It allowed City to overtake them at the top of the Premier League. This would spark a poor run of form for United as they would win one game out of the next four. It was a memorable victory as they beat Southampton 9-0 equaling their own record previously set in 1995 when they beat Ipswich Town 9-0.
The poor run of results against Sheffield United, Everton, WBA and Crystal Palace had put a huge dent in their title aspirations. United were 2-0 up against Everton but ended up drawing 3-3 after conceding from a late free kick. During this poor run City pulled away and they now sit 14 points ahead of United with 8 games remaining.
United were more than in the title race but did anybody really believe they would last the distance? There continuous habit of conceding soft goals and being vulnerable from set pieces was never going to be a good combination. Not only that but you always felt they were 1-2 injuries away from being in trouble. The squad is nowhere near big enough and when both Pogba and Cavani got injured it left United in a sticky situation.
Once again Rashford and Fernandes have been the outstanding performers but even they are starting to fade away towards the end of this demanding season. The games have come thick and fast but United now have two weeks to recover and recharge before they face Brighton in the Premier League.
The league may be out of sight but United are still in the quarter final of a European tie. Solskjaer is desperate for some silverware and he will be hoping his side can go all the way in this years Europa League. In Solskjaer’s second full season a 2nd place finish and a trophy would signal progression, but next season United need have to be aiming higher.