Under-fire Solskjaer in must-win Everton game

THE knives are out, again, for Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It has happened on many occasions in the Norwegian’s short tenure that he seems used to it.

Two shambolic performances. Individual errors, basic defensive errors, questionable line-ups and shoddy tactics. It has truly been a week to forget for Man Utd fans.

Arsenal were mediocre last week but still came away with full points, their first Premier League away win at Old Trafford since 2006. But Man Utd had no business losing to Champions League debutants Istanbul Basaksehir in midweek.

It was a dreadful performance compounded by “comical” defending, according to former Man Utd stars Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.

Solskjaer knows that the buck has to stop somewhere or he will be shown the exit door as Mauricio Pochettino, who is favourite for the Man Utd hotseat, has made it very clear this week that he is ready to return.

Sitting in 15th spot and yet to win at Old Trafford in the league this term is simply not acceptable for a club of Man Utd’s stature.

Which makes today’s early fixture against Everton a huge game.

The 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham at home was followed by three impressive wins and a draw to buy Solskjaer more time, but lose to Everton and his time will be up. And rightly so.

It is still early in the season and bringing in Pochettino can steady the ship and maybe bring out the best in this hugely talented squad.

How can a team that comprises quality players such as Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and David de Gea, just to name a few, not perform well on a consistent basis?

Granted, the fixture list has been punishing with the current pandemic and the absence of fans obviously does not help, but these are professionals who earn top dollar and are adored by millions worldwide.

It is still early days in the Premier League but Man Utd are already nine points behind leaders Liverpool albeit with a game in hand.

The Red Devils are still top of their Champions League group and in the quarter-finals of the League Cup where they come up against today’s opponents at Goodison Park next month.

Then there is also the FA Cup to look forward to in January. So all is not lost at the Theatre of Dreams if they can get their act together, string together wins and show consistency on the pitch.

Anthony Martial is in contention to play today after serving a three-match ban for his red card against Tottenham.

It will be interesting to see if the manager starts with Pogba after the Frenchman’s careless tackle led to Arsenal getting the penalty that eventually won the game for the Gunners.

Donny Van de Beek should be given the opportunity to play alongside Fernandes as Man Utd clearly lack creativity when teams sit back and defend.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping to halt a run of two successive defeats after losing to Southampton and Newcastle.

The Toffees will be missing Brazilian attacker Richarlison but will have James Rodriguez back in midfield, with Lucas Digne and Jordan Pickford also likely to play.

Both sides enter this match after back-to-back defeats and will be eager to earn full points. A share of the spoils is a likely result but for Solskjaer, especially, he knows that his expensively-assembled squad must start to lay down a marker or he risks losing his job.

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