Football News

Solskjaer must stop “worrying trend” at Man Utd ahead of Mourinho reunion, says Cascarino

By Ben Green

Published: 10:03, 4 December 2019

Ex-Chelsea forward Tony Cascarino believes Manchester United’s slow first-half performances may come back to haunt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

As it stands Man Utd have produced just 70 first-half shots this season, the 17th worst record in the Premier League, with only Burnley, Crystal Palace and West Ham sitting below them in this particular metric.

What is Man Utd’s “worrying trend”? Five things to know…

  • Man Utd have had just 70 first-half shots in the Premier League this season.
  • Only Burnley, Crystal Palace and West Ham have produced less in 2019/20.
  • Cascarino believes this will ultimately prevent Man Utd climbing up the table.
  • Solskjaer’s men are now winless in three matches after drawing 2-2 with Aston Villa on Sunday.
  • They next face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, which will see Jose Mourinho return to Old Trafford.

They had to come from behind at Old Trafford on Sunday to salvage a point against Aston Villa, with the two sides sharing the spoils in an intense 2-2 stalemate.

This was Man Utd’s sixth draw of the campaign and they occupy ninth place in the table ahead of Wednesday’s Spurs showdown, in which Jose Mourinho will return to Old Trafford for the first time since his dismissal last year.

And Cascarino believes Solskjaer will need to buck this “worrying trend” of below par first-half performances if Man Utd are to have any hope of climbing the table.

In his column for The Times, he wrote: “When you begin a game, you want your team to show drive, hunger and ambition. A fast start gets the crowd onside and builds a positive atmosphere. Starting slowly and falling behind can set the supporters on edge and create anxiety.

Solskjaer on his “young” Man Utd team ahead of Spurs showdown

“Last Sunday, Sheffield United had seven shots to Man Utd’s one in the first-half. The figures yesterday were closer but Villa still outshot United in the first- half at Old Trafford by five to four.

“Over the whole season, Man Utd have taken 70 shots in the first-half but faced 67. Compare that with the league leaders Liverpool, who have had 101 to 62, or Manchester City, who have outgunned their opponents by 140 to 52.

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“While United have kept things relatively tight in the opening 45 minutes of matches, only Burnley, Crystal Palace and West Ham United have had fewer attempts.

“This is a worrying trend for Solskjaer that cannot continue if Man Utd are to start climbing the Premier League table.”

The Red Devils are eight points off the top-four pace as things stand but will climb above Spurs if they are victorious on Wednesday night.

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