Manchester United are on the verge of dropping out of the UCL and top half of the PL table. This is not only down to the manager but also the top three players. Their ongoing Premier League campaign has seen them grapple with consistent challenges when facing formidable opponents in the top half of the table.
The struggles persist, exemplified by their recent encounter against Newcastle United at St James’ Park, resulting in a 1-0 defeat. However, the scoreline hardly captures the extent of Newcastle’s commanding performance.
Throughout their last 12 away games against the top nine teams, they have managed to secure just a solitary point. While injuries have undeniably plagued Erik ten Hag’s side, there are discernible concerns revolving around specific individuals that could potentially jeopardize his managerial position.
The overall performance of Manchester United has been disappointingly subpar. Erik ten Hag’s in-game management has come under scrutiny in certain instances, adding to the challenges. The manager found himself teetering on the edge of dismissal, especially facing a potential defeat against Brentford, until Scott McTominay’s individual brilliance salvaged the situation.
Unfortunately, the forwards have struggled to convert chances, and the midfield has proven porous. Beyond the on-field struggles, off-field issues such as the concerns surrounding players like Mason Greenwood, Antony, Jadon Sancho, and the ongoing takeover matters have further compounded the campaign’s woes.
Amidst this intricate web of challenges, here are the three players who are leading Erik ten Hag and Manchester United’s downfall:
Manchester United: Marcus Rashford
Despite an outstanding 22/23 season where Marcus Rashford notched an impressive 30 goals across all competitions, the subsequent contract renewal has presented unexpected challenges for Erik ten Hag. The club sought to secure Rashford amidst potential competition, especially from clubs like Paris St Germain. However, the anticipated positive trajectory has not materialized in the ongoing season.
With only 5 goals/assists to his name, including a modest two goals in the Premier League, Rashford has struggled to find both the net and his creative touch. His diminished pace and form have been noticeable, adversely impacting the team’s overall performance. Furthermore, lapses in field presence and a failure to track back have proven costly in multiple games under Erik ten Hag’s management.
Despite these struggles, the manager has been hesitant to drop Rashford in recent times, and this decision could pose a challenge to Erik ten Hag’s tenure at Old Trafford, especially if the player’s performance continues to hinder the club’s success.
Manchester United: Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial, having completed eight years at Old Trafford since becoming the most expensive teenager in the English Premier League, has encountered challenges with consistency and playing time.
Despite breaking multiple records, he has struggled to establish reliability under various managers, except for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Notably, even with Martial in the squad, Erik ten Hag opted to make a significant investment in acquiring the young talent Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta.
In the current season, Martial has managed just 2 G/A across all competitions for Manchester United. His reputation for a lack of work rate when out of possession has been evident, drawing visible dissatisfaction from manager Erik ten Hag, particularly in the performance against Newcastle United.
With uncertainty around the return of Greenwood and no apparent second striker signing in January, Anthony Martial’s struggles to deliver could potentially become a focal point that contributes to Erik ten Hag’s managerial predicament, especially if goal-scoring options remain limited for Manchester United.
Manchester United: Andre Onana
The much-anticipated £47.2 million signing from Inter Milan, Andre Onana, has encountered a challenging start at Manchester United. With 34 goals conceded in 21 games and a modest seven clean sheets, the Cameroonian goalkeeper was expected not only to fill the void left by David de Gea but also to execute the play-out-from-the-back style seamlessly.
However, the implementation of this strategy has not gone as planned. Onana’s struggles are evident in his long ball completion rate, standing at 27.4 compared to David de Gea’s 31.4. The pass completion rate, hovering around 40, also fails to demonstrate a significant improvement over his Spanish predecessor.
In the ongoing Champions League campaign, Onana has conceded eight goals, contributing to Manchester United’s precarious position with only four points, teetering on the brink of an early exit from the prestigious tournament. Individual errors have become glaring, indicating a lack of confidence in the 27-year-old goalkeeper.
As clean sheets prove elusive and the demanding December schedule unfolds, the persistently poor performance of Andre Onana raises concerns that could potentially lead to the dismissal of manager Erik ten Hag.