After appearing like he might be short on time at Old Trafford due to a series of underwhelming results and performances, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has masterminded consecutive sensational victories. Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City were both defeated; however, the next game on the Red Devils’ Premier League fixture list could be even tougher.
Typically, under the Norwegian, Manchester United have picked up points against the bigger sides who dominate possession but have struggled when they are given the ball and no space to work with in attack.
Against Chelsea at the weekend that is precisely how Everton played under Duncan Ferguson, giving the Blues 70 per cent possession, then hitting them with fast transitions through Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Richarlison. Therefore the hosts will have to find a method of breaking down a stubborn opposition defence who looked sensationally committed against Chelsea, making the most tackles of any Everton side this decade.
Solskjaer will not have long term absentee Paul Pogba to unpick the Everton defence, but one player who does appear to have the ability to slice through opposition backlines is Daniel James. Against their Manchester rivals, the winger made four key passes, but against the Toffees he will have to show he is capable of achieving the same creative output in tighter spaces. Alternatively, Jesse Lingard’s form appears to be improving, in the win over Spurs he also created four opportunities with key passes. In the past, he has proved he possesses the vision to create for teammates while opposition sit back, both in a Manchester United and England shirt.
Should opportunities be created, Marcus Rashford is one man in fine form who should be there to finish them. The England forward has ten strikes to his name in the Premier League this season, and in total, he has been involved in 15 goals in his last 14 appearances for club and country.
During both Solskjaer’s recent victories Manchester United looked imperious, but with the possibility of little room to create against Everton, they will have to make the most of their time on the ball to act thoughtfully, instead of instinctively.