football

Micah Richards is emphatically wrong with Manchester United title assessment


Let’s face it, for once, the punditry was probably more interesting than the football.

Micah Richards was certainly more committed to attack than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

“Manchester United will not win the Premier League playing like that,” he declared at half-time.

Likeable, insightful sort, Micah, but emphatically wrong on this occasion.

Of course, Manchester United can win the title playing like this.

This is a team that is a year unbeaten away from home in the Premier League.

This is a team that is three points ahead of the champions.

This is a team that has as good a collection of back-up players as any in the competition.



Sorry Micah, you got this one wrong
Sorry Micah, you got this one wrong

Not getting turned over at Anfield, even against quite significantly weakened opposition, is the stuff of genuine challengers.

And let’s face it, Solskjaer’s side never really looked like getting turned over. Not badly, anyway.

In fact, they could have nicked it had both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba not unerringly picked out Alisson late on.

But if United do go on to become champions – and their odds shrunk a little last night – it is unlikely to be in the cavalier manner of old.



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United watches from the touchline
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United watches from the touchline

In fixtures against Spurs, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and now Liverpool this season, they have yet to register a win.

But beating the Big Six might not be an essential in this unusual instalment of the Premier League.

Just as well. While the masterplan could have paid full dividends with those two opportunities in the dying embers, United’s early lack of ambition was still a little startling.

Believe in yourselves. They were Solskjaer’s parting words to his charges ahead of kick-off.

Not to great effect, it has to be said.

Initially, it looked like they believed this was some sort of FA Cup giant killing challenge, plucky part-timers against European elite.

Happy to allow Liverpool possession, Solskjaer’s intention to rely solely on the counter-attack could hardly have been more obvious.

It made for a stalemate that was pretty unwatchable at times.



United were solid defensively throughout at Anfield
United were solid defensively throughout at Anfield

Towards the end of an utterly dreary first half, Martin Tyler referred to the contest as a ‘colossus of a Premier League game’.

As a matter of fact, it was a pygmy of a Premier League game.

One of the most thrillingly efficient attacking machines of recent footballing times spluttering every time it got within shouting distance of David de Gea against one of the boldest club teams of the last few decades parking all the buses they now have to use in these Covid days.

The temptation to go all Micah and suggest United should have gone for the jugular of a side that had to play two of its best midfielders as centre-halves is clearly there.

And when Solskjaer is further down the road of an elite managerial career that is well-established, he might be a little more gung-ho on these type of occasions.

But in his last 16 Premier League games away from Old Trafford, Solskjaer has produced 12 wins and four draws.

Their last five home league matches have produced four wins and a draw and they are a dozen unbeaten. Seriously impressive.

It was not a thing of beauty, it was not vintage United, but it maintains their unlikely momentum at the very top.

And despite what Micah thinks, that is all that should matter to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

They CAN win the title playing like this.

Will either side win the Premier League this season? Have your say in the comments.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more