Manchester United bounced back against Spurs in a morale boosting 3-0 win after a disastrous 0-5 drubbing against Liverpool. The win against Spurs can be attributed to many factors including the poor form of Spurs but one key factor was Solskjaer’s tactical switch. The Norwegian opted for a back three formation against Spurs and this enabled United to be more solid at the back preventing Spurs from having a single shot on goal. Although successful, this formation and tactic brings a new set of problems for the under pressure Manchester United manager as it only allows for two outright attackers in the starting lineup.
Against Spurs, Manchester United had Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood on the bench along with Paul Pogba being unavailable after his red card against Liverpool. With Cavani and Ronaldo instantly showing terrific understanding as a front two, Solskjaer will not be able to fit in any other attackers in the starting lineup. This might become a huge problem for the Norwegian as the club’s future depends on the likes of Rashford, Greenwood and Sancho being happy and developing well in the first team.
Solskjaer has the option to switch back to a 4-2-3-1 formation or opt for a 4-3-3 formation but after the defeats against Leicester & Liverpool, he might not be confident enough in his defence. In a back 3, Maguire who is terribly out of form, is less exposed and also has more passing options when under pressure from the opposition. Also, along with the formation changes, United sat back against Spurs instead of trying to win the ball high. This also allowed United’s defence to stay more compact and defend with more organization.
It will certainly be interesting to see if Solskajer continues to play this defensive and pragmatic approach or if he comes under pressure from the fans to switch to a more attacking style.