What’s going on over at Old Trafford?
From collapsing mid-fielders to a boss in the hot seat, what’s going on in Manchester?. Manchester United is 2-1-2 in the EPL at the time of writing this piece. And let’s just say that sitting back in 15th place in Britain’s top-flight league is not what Man U fans or top brass had in mind for the 2020-2021 season.
Donny Van de Beek MIA
Just what is going on with Donny Van de Beek? The Dutch mid-fielder signed on to the Red Devils this summer to the tune of 39 million Euros but has yet to step on to the pitch for Manchester United during a match.
Van de Beek is sitting on the substitutes bench. He has yet to start sensei arriving from Ajax; management has elected to go with Fred and Scott McTominay. Some think that Ole Gunnar Solskjær is reluctant to start Van de Beek for reasons unknown. However, the real reason is defensive protection. With the acquisition of Donny Van de Beek over the summer, most thought it was a foregone conclusion that Solskjær would go with a rotation of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, and Donny Van de Beek. Especially given how Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes played together at the end of last season. That said, that’s not what we are season. Solskjær is going with a more defensive-minded strategy. Now because of the formation and strategy, it’s unlikely that Van de Beek will get much playing time with Fernadez and Pogba in the lineup. Because instead of having two of Pogba, Fernades, Van De Beek on the pitch at a time, there will only be one rotating at a time because of the defensive formation. And when you watch the matches, you can see Donny Van de Beek with dejected body language as the cameras pan to him and zoom in. He clearly wasn’t expecting to be transferred just to end up riding the pine.
That said, it has been assured that Van de Beek will get playing time. But without an injury, how much becomes the question. Furthermore, many were questioning the wisdom of the transfer in the first place. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Why the additional expense to strengthen a position where you are already strong? So, Van de Beek may just be a victim of circumstance rather than a regression in his play during practices.
But is this the right mindset for Solskjær to follow?
Manchester United Recent Performance
In the latest tilt at Old Trafford, Man U hosted Chelsea in what was supposed to be an exciting affair filled with attacking offense. But despite the promise, it was a rather anticlimactic affair with just one shot on target during the second half of play. It ended as a goalless draw and was a massive let down in the eyes of most. That said, they did keep a clean sheet for home play. And they won at Paris St. Germaine and got a late win over New Castle.
But can the Red Devils beat Arsenal FC on November first? The odds favor Man U to -0.25 (-117), but you can get a parlay with Manchester on the goal line and Aston Villa FC and Everton FC on the money line, which returns 87 dollars on a 10 dollar wager (77 in winnings).
Now there are rumors floating that Solskjær may be on the hot seat for replacement with Southampton’s former boss. So, I imagine that if the Devils don’t play well against the 11th place Gunnars while at home in Old Trafford, those rumors might come to be a reality. Arsenal seems to be slumping on offense a bit, taking back-to-back EPL losses to Man City and Leicester City without netting a single goal in either match. They did net two in their Europa League affair against Rapid Wien.
For the Red Devils, we’ll get to see how they play in the Champions League against RB Leipzig before they return home to face the Gunnars. As mentioned above, Man U got a 2-1 win over PSG in the Champions on October 20th. In their tilt against Newcastle, Man U put up four goals on 28 total shots and 14 on target. All the while, they held the Magpies to just seven total shots with four on target at St. James’ Park. If the Red Devils formation works like this more, they’ll be a tough squad to face down the road.
Pass accuracy was one of the deciding factors in this match. Man U distributing the ball for 86% accuracy. Meanwhile, the Mags only passed for 71%. Arsenal isn’t a bad team. So, the Red Devils will have to get more than four shots on target during the game –as they did against the Blues– if they want a handy win and to keep that clean sheet at Old Trafford.
Odds on the Game
The three-way money line has Manchester United as a 2.200 favorite to win, Arsenal a 3.710 dog to win, and the Draw at 3.390. You can get a valuable goal line of -0.25 at 1.909.