Crunch time for under-fire Solskjaer


Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

MAN Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is once again the favourite with the bookies to get the sack. This has been a position that the Norwegian has been all too familiar with in a so far inconsistent season for the Red Devils.

Man Utd were dumped out of the Champions League in midweek by German side RB Leipzig and today face a crucial derby at Old Trafford against neighbours Man City and anything less than a positive result against their hated rivals will surely put Solskjaer under more intense pressure.

Man Utd were sloppy in their defeat in Germany and a loss was exactly what they deserved as their defence was in sixes and sevens trying to stop the Leipzig attack.

Having started with impressive wins over PSG and a 5-0 home thrashing of Leipzig, the exit from the Champions League is a painful and frustrating one to take.

Poor defending has dominated the side’s performances so far this season but the inconsistency of the squad is baffling, especially when playing at home.

Their record of nine straight league wins when travelling is commendable, but at Old Trafford, however, they have drawn one, won one and lost three, including a 6-1 defeat to Tottenham.

United come into today’s derby clash a point ahead of City in sixth place but its their neighbours in blue who will start as favourites to bag full points.

While Man Utd’s form and goal tally have been pathetic at Old Trafford as they struggle to break down sides who come to defend, they continue to create chance after chance when playing away, especially on the break.

Solskjaer’s side scored a famous win at Old Trafford over their Manchester rivals last season but the result in Germany would have deflated the side ahead of today’s big match.

There are injury doubts as forwards Anthony Martial and Edison Cavani limped off in last week’s 3-1 win at West Ham.

Solskjaer is set to recall Brazilian defensive midfielder Fred who was suspended for the disappointing defeat in midweek.

Paul Pogba, the centre of intense speculation on his future this week, has scored in the past two games so the fired up Frenchman may be a better choice in midfield.

Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes will be sure starters while at the back, Harry Maguire and David De Gea will have to be at their best to stop the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres.

Elsewhere, Everton will be up against it when they welcome form side Chelsea to Goodison Park after the Manchester derby match.

Frank Lampard’s side have shown their title credentials with a series of eye-catching performances and will be favourites to come away with full points.

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham – so impressive in their derby victory against rivals Arsenal last week – face another London test as they head to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace.

Tottenham topped their group in the Europa League in midweek and will surely start as favourites against Roy Hodgson’s Palace as will be Liverpool when they head to Craven Cottage tomorrow to play struggling Fulham.

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