Solskjaer's Luck Finally Runs Out!

24th Nov 2021

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In the end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lasted 168 games in charge of Manchester United but the end simply had to come as United lost their 5th game of the season and slipped to 8th place after losing 4-1 to Watford.

There had been many false dawns under Solskjaer, some of the performances under the Norwegian did evoke the feelings of Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest teams. But there was never the consistency and the truly magical bits were only in fleeting moments. It didn't matter that the club went the whole of last season unbeaten away from home, who will remember that when no trophies were forthcoming? They did reach the Europa League final and with the team they had should have beaten Villarreal, but United had no characters in the final, no fight and instead it was the unfancied Spaniards that won. That one game summarised Solskjaer's time at United.

Tactics were another problem for Solskjaer who seemed to be lacking in tactial nous, with no plan B. When Cristiano Ronaldo was signed he got the team out of a few sticky situtaions with last minute goals but Ronaldo couldn't be expected to do that in every game. Before him Bruno Fernandes had been superb, but looking back his greatness was actually glossing over some of the deeper issues at the club. 

It's interesting to note that Solskjaer's win rate was only 1% higher than that of David Moyes and 4% lower than Jose Mourinho's and yet the Norwegian lasted 2 years more than Moyes and one year more than Mourinho. The reason? That could well have been down to the fact that Solskjaer is seen as a legend at the club, a club he spent 11 years with. But once you strip away that fact one had to question why a club of their size would have employed Solskjaer? Previous stints at Molde and Cardiff hardly shape up a resume to go and work at Old Trafford. 

As it stands former player Michael Carrick will takeover managerial duties and United will be looking to employ an interim manager for the remainder of the season before opting for a full time one from next summer. Here are the latest odds.

Next Manchester United manager: Mauricio Pochettino 2.50, Ernesto Valverde 4.00, Michael Carrick 7.00, Brendan Rodgers 11.00, Erik ten Hag 19.00

 

Of course it's too early to say just yet but Chelsea are looking good for the league title. In 1st place and 3 points clear they were able to beat Leicester 3-0 away from home. Everything is clicking for the Blues who have scored 30 goals so far and conceded just 4. Already we are seeing the league title shaping up though and Manchester City and Liverpool will be Chelsea's nearest rivals. City beat Everton 3-0 in a one sided affair and they are in 2nd place with 26 points. Liverpool crushed Arsenal 4-0 at home and they are in 3rd place with 25 points. It was an important victory for the Reds who had gone into that game with no wins in their last two.

It was more or less a good weekend for the newest managers in the Premier League. Steven Gerrard who has swapped the Scottish Premier League with Rangers for the English Premier League with Aston Villa saw his side beat Brighton 2-0. The first goal didn't arrive until six minutes from the end but it was coming and Gerrard will be delighted with a debut win. Dean Smith now at Norwich witnessed the Canaries 2nd win of the season and their second win in a row as they beat Southampton 2-1. The win was significant as Norwich are now in 19th place.

Antonio Conte was undertaking his 3rd game in charge of Tottenham but in playing Leeds it was the Italian's first league home game in charge. Tottenham were not at their best and went a goal down but dug deep in the second half and won 2-1 much to the delight of Conte who celebrated as if Tottenham had ended their 60 year wait for a league title- the fans are going to love him though, that is already evidently clear.



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