Premier League: Manchester United travel to Everton with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign on the line

Manchester United travel to Everton with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign on the line

 

Manchester United travel to Everton with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign on the line.

As Manchester United line up on Saturday afternoon at Goodison Park, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have every right to feel uneasy about his time at Old Trafford.

The Norwegian will be well aware that David Moyes also faced the axe after a loss to Everton and it was in this very venue that he Solskjaer reached what was until recently his lowest point – losing 4-0 to an Everton side that is miles behind the one he will take on at lunchtime on Saturday.

Seven of the starting line-up at Goodison that day — David de Gea, Victor Lindelof, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial — remain first-team regulars and could play again on Saturday.

There is uncertainty over formation and tactics that was exposed to a shocking degree in Istanbul on Wednesday night. United’s players all went up for a corner in the 13th minute and left Basak-sehir striker Demba Ba standing all on his own on the halfway line.

Several weeks ago, United had put the blushes of losing 6-1 to Tottenham by recording convincing wins over Newcastle, RB Leipzig and Paris-Saint Germain. However, it is the lack of consistency that is killing a United team languishing 15th in the table, having lost three of their opening four Premier League fixtures at Old Trafford, the latest a 1-0 loss to rivals Arsenal.

Against this backdrop and increasing speculation over Solskjaer’s future, the shadow of Mauricio Pochettino looms large — just as Jose Mourinho haunted Louis van Gaal in the final months of his reign at United.

Important to note is that Solskjaer has been on this sticky wicket before. In December 2019, he was under pressure going into successive games against Tottenham and Manchester City and won them both. The heat was on again the following month before the signing of Fernandes sparked a revival.

But as he goes back to Goodison, Solskjaer will be well aware that he needs to turn it around sooner rather than later.