Man Utd is in a bad mood after suffering their third loss in as few as five games to start the current Premier League season.
Manchester United has had a difficult start to the season, and it doesn’t appear like things will get much better with a trip to play Bayern Munich next midweek. They have dropped three of their first five games for the first time in Premier League history, which is even more shocking considering how terribly they performed in the two games they didn’t lose.
In the first few games of the season, no club can win the championship, but they can lose all hope of doing so. If it hasn’t happened already, that is in danger of happening.
But football is a strange old game, and all it takes is one game to change everything, as we saw a year ago when United defeated Liverpool to start their season and launch a strong ascent up the league.
In a strange way, Erik ten Hag’s team’s journey to Bayern next week—where they are heavy underdogs with a point to prove and little else to lose—might even be exactly what they need.
Although there are some noticeable positives to take into their journey to Munich, United will eventually require a significant improvement in many areas of the field if there is any possibility of that happening.
Rasmus Hojlund, United’s new striker signing, has started out well and has the potential to play significant parts in two memorable outcomes already, even though the majority of attention will be on Harry Kane, the player who got away.
He was a key player in what could have been Alejandro Garnacho’s winning goal at Arsenal, so it was arguably cruel to have his goal against Brighton yesterday disallowed. In those two appearances, he has generally captured the attention of the crowd with his hold-up play and movement, and with a little bit of luck, he may really make a statement against Bayern next week.
Marcus Rashford also has a similar line of thought. He made things happen out of nowhere in yesterday’s loss, but he also failed in his one-man effort to try and save the game. He was both a godsend and a curse.
The 25-year-old is equipped to terrorize any defense he encounters, but he still has to improve his finish, both in terms of completing and collaborating with his teammates rather than competing with them.
United may also find comfort in the fact that, despite losing to Brighton and Arsenal, they had excellent starts but fell short at critical stages due to individual mistakes. After two losses, it may sound incredibly upbeat to say that, but United needs to focus on the positives right now rather than wallowing in self-pity.
If fans still need more optimism, Sergio Reguilon’s debut performance, which undoubtedly demonstrated his ability to contribute when other left-backs are out injured, could serve as a further source of hope. When called upon to defend, the Spaniard did a respectable job. If Rashford had been more generous with the ball, the Spaniard could have had more attacking success.
The thrilling cameo of Hannibal, highlighted by his magnificent consolation goal and passionate celebration, will also bring some solace to United supporters. He is a guy who plays with his heart on his sleeve, so it was obvious how much it meant to him to finally get another chance to play for the club.
In addition to scoring a fantastic goal, he also completed the game with 100% passing accuracy, winning four ground duels and drawing two fouls. He is undoubtedly a choice in the coming weeks as long as the midfield is still such a problem.
Despite the obvious reasons for concern, there is still cause for optimism given that United may shortly benefit from the return of several important players from injury.