Manchester United have come under fierce scrutiny after yet another high-profile defeat, this time at the hands of local rivals Manchester City on Saturday. There were poor performances all over the pitch for the Red Devils, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has understandably taken the brunt of the criticism as United lost more ground on the Premier League’s form sides.
The hosts were in need of a positive result after punishing defeats by Leicester and Liverpool in recent weeks.
Their midweek performances also left plenty to be desired, relying on late drama both home and away against Atalanta.
Pep Guardiola’s City side were too clinical to let that happen to them, however, racing into a 2-0 lead by half time and seeing out the game during the second half.
With three players in particular putting in performances to forget, Express Sport looks at a United trio who are running out of chances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:
JUST IN: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists Burnley ‘stole points’ as Blues held to lacklustre draw
The right-back has built a reputation as a strong one-on-one defender, although his brief changed slightly during recent games.
Due to Solskjaer’s experiment with a five-at-the-back formation, Wan-Bissaka featured at wing-back with a more liberal license to fly forward and attack.
That is not particularly well-suited to his skill set, however, which was painfully obvious during City’s comfortable victory at Old Trafford.
His decisions to press high were also questionable at times, meaning the chances of United and Solskjaer venturing into the transfer market for right-back reinforcements are perhaps higher than ever.
Defensive midfield is another position in the United ranks broadly seen as a weak point, placing greater emphasis on Fred and Scott McTominay to perform over the coming games.
The duo got completely overrun on Saturday, with the Sky Blues packing the midfield full of talent to the point where ‘McFred’, as they have been endearingly termed, barely had room to breathe.
Fred has been no stranger to criticism since his big-money move from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018, with many feeling as though he has not lived up to his £47million price-tag.
Former Red Devils captain Roy Keane concurs, pulling no punches after the game to state that McTominay and Fred simply ‘are not good enough’.
When the Ivorian lashed into his own net less than ten minutes into the Manchester Derby, it became clear that it was not to be his day.
United’s defensive trio were left chasing shadows for large parts of the game on Saturday, on a day when peripheral figures like Bailly should have been staking their claim for more regular first-team action.
The 27-year-old was given a surprise contract extension earlier this year, despite seeing minimal Premier League game time over the past few seasons.
In light of his shaky display at Old Trafford this weekend, he is unlikely to be thrown back into the fold any time soon unless injuries force Solskjaer’s hand.