In this article:
- Expectations from Bayern Munich fixture
- Midfield and winger issues burden ten Hag
- Would United be better off with de Gea?
- Second place in the group isn’t a guarantee for United
Another week, another disappointing Manchester United result following the 3-1 loss to Brighton. As per usual reports of arguments, leaks, supposed player bust-ups and their former manager sharing his views on his time at the club have risen to the surface. It’s never a dull time where Manchester United are concerned.
However, there’s still the small matter of an opening Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich to be played tonight. We sat down with Paul Parker to discuss his expectations for United’s hopes in Europe’s elite club competition.
Expectations from Bayern Munich fixture
This was not the start to the season United fans would have hoped for. Five games, two wins and three daming defeats. Next up is Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. A tough fixture for anyone. Let alone a struggling United side. Add to that injuries to key players such as Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan Bissak and United are stretched in an area of the pitch that largely served Erik ten Hag well last season. Parker shares concerns with how vulnerable United are defensively this season.
“The expectation has to be for Manchester United to come away with something from Germany to take into the weekend’s game against Burnley.”
“But on current form you would say they don’t have a chance. They don’t look like they’re going to score a goal and when you look at the best aspects of last season, it was their defensive displays.”
“That was due to the form of Varane and Martinez and Varane after whinging about the amount of football they have to play is out injured again.”
“Those two not playing together has made a difference.”
“Changes in the full back area with Shaw and Wan Bissaka being out is also an issue.”
Midfield and winger issues burden ten Hag
However, defence isn’t the only area of the pitch where United are having worrying issues. Last season’s signing of the season for the club in Casemiro has struggled to replicate the form that quickly made him a fan favourite, His passing has regressed and seems to lack the energy in his legs to assert the dominance that once made him a European great.
Meanwhile, United find themselves without both Antony and Sancho for differing reasons. Last season’s player of the season in Marcus Rashford also drew huge amounts of criticism for selfishes both on and off the ball against Brighton at the weekend. It’s an issue that Parker has spoken on before and he again highlights issues with both Casemiro and more so United’s academy graduates.
“Midfield is a big, big problem. Casemiro hasn’t started the season yet. Mount is injured and people are figuring out his best position. Fernandes is way off the pace. Eriksen hasn’t gotten going and Ambrabt is still injured.”
“Wide areas are a massive, massive problem. I don’t know why he hasn’t played Pellistri. I can’t understand why he hasn’t started the kid.”
“When you bring in young lads the fans will relate to that and give them a chance. It’s better than using the same old trick which isn’t working.”
“Marcus Rashford is still being Marcus Rashford. Giving away possession, running into blind alleys, looking to shoot rather than passing. If he doesn’t score there are thousands of cracks in his game.”
Would United be better off with de Gea?
Since it had been confirmed that United would be parting ways with David de Gea the conversation around his replacement has been bubbling away. Andre Onana was brought in to help facilitate ten Hag’s new dawn. Playing out from the back. A keeper capable with the ball at his feet. Picking passes. Press resistant. ten Hag got his man but is he the answer?
Questions have already been raised about Onana’s shot stopping ability. Something you could rarely question about the Spaniard during his time. Parker firstly hits back at the change in football in recent years which requires goalkeepers to be competent ball players. He feels if United had stuck with de Gea they may not be in the sticky situation they find themselves in so early on in the season.
“The goalkeeper? I’m still not sure. I still think United would be better with a keeper who is going to save a large percentage of shots at the goal. He just hasn’t done that.”
“I’ve seen cats jump across a wall better than Onana did for Pedro’s goal. It was a poor effort.”
“I don’t care that he can pass the ball. United aren’t good enough to play that style of football. They haven’t got the continuity to do it.”
“The modern fan is only concerned with how good a goalkeeper is with the ball at their feet when I’m concerned about whether he can save a certain percentage of shots at goal.”
“He isn’t that much better than de Gea but because he can’t ping a pass 60 yards to someone’s feet 9/10 times he wasn’t deemed good enough.”
“I bet there are a few fans this season who think United would be in a better position with de Gea than they are with Onana when you look at the goals being conceded”
Second place in the group isn’t a guarantee for United
United have also been drawn in a group Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen. Parker believes United will also find these fixtures difficult to navigate. This is a world away from the United sides he’s either used to playing in or watching during Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at the club. Parker says he is worried that his former side may not make it out of their group which would be a huge dent in ten hag’s reputation after a tough start to the season.
“United won’t have anything easy. United are still a big scalp for most teams. Teams will always want to beat them.”
“The Bayern Munich game is not worth the build up because United will also have tough games against Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen.”
“Manchester United used to be about finishing first or second. Now there’s no guarantee they will finish second.”
“Manchester United can’t expect to win the group.”
“Historically Manchester United and Bayern Munich is a huge game but they’re miles apart now. Bayern are always fighting to win their league and United have to fight to be in the Champions League.”