The 2019/20 season started on a good note for Manchester United with an outstanding 4-0 win against Chelsea.
Since then it’s been dark stories all over.
United dropped points against Wolves at the Molineux last week and have dropped further points after their shock defeat to Palace over the weekend.
In both of those games, an emerging issue has been the talking point for the Red Devils, the issue of set-pieces – penalties to be particular.
This has surprisingly been sort of a setback for Ole’s side and has even sprung controversy among the fans.
How it all started
The Red Devils failed to claim a victory against Wolves in a 1 -1 draw as Paul Pogba who has scored only 7 out of 11 penalties (the worst record of any Premier League player in the past year) failed to see the back of the net with a saved penalty by the keeper.
Paul Pogba: Has missed four penalties in the Premier League since the start of last season, more than any other player in that time
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 19, 2019
This brought about a cloud of dissatisfaction as most fans took to social media to express their anger and dissatisfaction.
Ole initially agreed to stick with the Frenchman but after much pressure, he reportedly stripped him of the role which was handed over to Marcus Rashford who supposedly had a better track record.
Marcus Rashford has never missed a penalty. https://t.co/bdfzWSV9Ay
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2019
Which leads to the current headache Solksjaer has to deal with.
Just when Ole thought he was done with the incident, Rashford also failed to score against Crystal Palace on Saturday which led to the Red Devils first loss of the season.
What could be the problem?
It would seem that these players might be affected mentally by the negative reaction from the fans and the public in the previous game.
Also the unnecessary clamour and situation made out of the penalty miss put further pressure on any player at all to be given that responsibility.
Not to forget that Paul Pogba also suffered further racial abuse after his miss and the same has now happened with Rashford as well.
Also not a coincidence Rashford had never missed up until there was an incident made earlier from the saga. Right?
This could also be a mental problem than a tactical one and perhaps more attention now needs to placed on the art of “composure” during penalty taking.
If only they could hire Luka Milivojevic from Crystal Palace to give them some lessons.
Well that’s not happening.
Manchester United fans are among the most vocal set of fans and did not also fail this time to express their dissatisfaction with tweets and comments regarding the issue.
Perhaps they might have even solved the “problem” for Solksjaer.
Recently a poll was done on a popular United fans outlet on Twitter asking who should take the penalty and Pogba didn’t get the win, neither did the Englishman.
Alas, Anthony Martial, United’s new number nine was identified as the ideal candidate they all want to be taking the penalties.
Who should take Manchester United's next penalty? #mufc
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) August 25, 2019
A fair point stating that he is the club’s striker and that role should be given to him to boost his confidence going forward. Good move or not? Only time will tell.
If Martial takes a penalty and misses it would mean United’s trio of most influential players going forward would have all missed a penalty and perhaps they might have to call on new boy Harry Maguire to take over the duties.
Ole doesn’t look like he’s letting the fans decide for him and has even publicly defended both players in the aftermath of missed penalties.
“Two games, two missed penalties. It’s part and parcel of it. Sometimes it happens,” the United manager said, according to Metro. I have missed a few myself. ‘If we score them it’s a different story. If we keep putting ourselves in those positions we will get more penalties and we will score. It is just one of those things. We trust them to score again.”
That all but shows that the United boss is indeed sticking with his current options and would not be pressured to change his mind.
Whether it would come back to haunt him in the course of the season remains to be seen. Imagine what another miss for any of the players could do to their morale.
However, Solksjaer has taken a good stance in sticking with the current players and he’ll be hoping they prove many pundits and of course the United fans wrong.