Friday 4 November 2016

Problems mounting for lightweight and unbalanced United

Paul Pogba's injury on Thursday added to an ever growing list of problems and questions for Jose Mourinho, who at the moment looks like he has no answers.

Pogba started on the left of midfield in a 4-3-3 but limped off after half an hour of a largely ineffective performance and a long absence on the sidelines will leave us light in midfield.

Ander Herrera is suspended for the trip to Swansea on Sunday, Michael Carrick has yet to nail down a regular place and Morgan Schneiderlin just isn't good enough.

With those two and Rooney, Marcus Rashford (who looked tired) and Anthony Martial- also struggling for form- we were too congested through the middle and lacked the width to get in behind Fenerbahce. 

There's no getting away from the fact that there's at least seven of the starting XI from last night that simply aren't good enough.

United had their central midfield exposed time and time again against Fener and while there was little we could do about either of the goals, the hosts were a constant threat on the counter attack.

Herrera has never convinced me that he's up to standard and along with Schneiderlin (who again flattered to deceive) endured another below-par outing, too often getting outpaced and bypassed when United's pedestrian attacks broke down.

United looked laboured and ineffective in a midfield that cried out for the under-rated brilliance of Michael Carrick.
Although he's in the twilight of his career, his intelligence and use of the ball are vital for United and we always play better with him in the side so his absence- particularly with Schneiderlin ahead of him- was baffling. 

The centre-back pairing of Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo lack height, pace and power and were too easily bullied and beaten in the air by Fener's striker Emenike and Sow.
The returns of Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling cannot come soon enough: it's no co-incidence that our best form this season came with that partnership and, with Blind's intelligence and reading of the game utilised at left-back, we looked a lot more balanced.

I like Blind but he lacks the attributes for a centre-half and it's no co-incidence that we're shipping goals with two-left footed players in defence, neither of whom are good enough for the position. 

United have won once away from home since August (and even then it was Northampton) and things don't get any easier as we travel to bogey side Swansea on Sunday. 

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