Manchester United’s season has not gone the way any fan would have wanted nor expected. They have crashed out of every cup competition and seem unlikely to achieve a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.
The situation they find themselves in is partly due to their performances against the Premier League’s top sides. The 4-1 and 2-0 losses against Manchester City showed the gap in quality between United and their noisy neighbours, while the 5-0 loss to Liverpool was an embarrassment for all involved.
But it’s not just against the opposition they weren’t expected to beat that United created problems for themselves. They have struggled against teams lower down the table as well.
Since Ralf Rangnick’s appointment, United have drawn with Burnley — whose form has just seen them sack manager Sean Dyche — and lost to Everton, who had some of the worst form in the Premier League. In those games, the team looked devoid of ideas and in some ways seem to be ignoring the coaching of the manager.
And against the newly promoted sides United have been no better. In fact, it was a 4-1 loss to Watford in November that acted as the final nail in the coffin for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and saw him removed as manager.
And the team did not fare any better in the return fixture, drawing 0-0 at Old Trafford. United were on top for the majority of the game but could not find their finishing touch and inevitably dropped two points when they should have walked away with all three — typifying a lot of results this season.
And against Norwich, the finishing boots were again absent, only pulling through with a 1-0 win thanks to a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Manchester Evening News understands that Erik ten Hag is set to be appointed the next manager of United, and based of these results he will have a task on his hands.
The only scoreline that reflects a comfortable win for United against the promoted sides is their 3-1 win against Brentford, and even that wasn’t without it’s problems. The outburst from Ronaldo as he was substituted in the second half lives long in fans memories — and it’s fair to say that Brentford also had their chances to pull the game back.
United need to set the record straight with a convincing win against Norwich on Saturday and give themselves some confidence back and possibly some momentum going into the final games of the season. But more importantly, they owe it to the fans that watch them week in and week out to give them an enjoyable match against a team that looks destined for the drop.