By Imran Kardar
Manchester United suffered their fourth consecutive loss, something that had not happened in the last 52 odd years. It is easy to say that Manchester United is now a club in crisis. Initially one would have thought that it’s just a bad phase in the season and that United will turn a corner and start winning however that doesn’t seem to be happening. The team and the manager are now at the centre of a lot of media attention, one that could lead to the manager being sacked.
It was always going to be a difficult game facing up to Stoke City on their home ground where they have already beaten Chelsea and Manchester City this season. Things were not made easier when Memphis Depay gifted the first goal to Stoke with a hopeless back header to De Gea, which the attacker pounced on and laid it back to Bojan to open the scoring. That goal really dented whatever little confidence United had and then a few minutes later Arnautovic scored an absolute screamer from outside the box to take the lead to 2-0. United looked stunned and clueless.
The second half started with United putting on a much better show. Rooney was brought on from the start for Depay who had a torrid first half. There was more purpose to United’s play however they just couldn’t manage to score. A wonderful chance fell to Fellaini close to the hour mark but his timid shot was straight at the keeper. I must say Fellaini has been absolutely poor in front of goal this season. He has missed at least four goals in the last one month and those were all very easy chances with most of his shots straight at the keeper. If he is to play in the starting XI he needs to be far more clinical in front of goal.
The match ended 2-0 and United had succumbed to another defeat. In a post-match interview LVG looked absolutely clueless. He looked like a defeated man who had no idea what to do to turn things around. He also hinted that he may resign. It’s gotten quite tough for the manager who spent the whole week lifting the spirits of the team. There was hope that after his media rant the team would pick itself up and win the game but that didn’t happen either. Now he has two days to the Chelsea game and another loss at home should seal his fate, unfortunately. A win might also not be enough to keep him in the job. I personally would give him till the end of the season. But for the fortunes of the team to turn around they will need to buy in January. The attack needs to be bolstered with at least a striker and a winger. I would recall Blackett and Wilson from their loans as in the last one month United could have done with those two given the injury crisis.
Can LVG turn things around? Will United beat Chelsea at Old Trafford? Or will United fail to score yet again and lose the game? All key questions, good thing is that we don’t have to wait long for the answers.