Chris Sutton believes that Manchester United’s major problem this season stems from the lack of mobility in their midfield.
Manchester United’s recent 4-3 loss to Bayern Munich marked their fourth defeat in five matches and their third consecutive loss across all competitions. This string of losses, including defeats to Tottenham, Arsenal, and Brighton in the Premier League, has raised concerns for the club’s performance this season.
While it may be too early to label this as a crisis for Manchester United, considering they were missing 11 first-team squad players during their match at the Allianz Arena, it’s evident that their on-field struggles could jeopardize their season.
The departure of Fred, who joined Turkish club Fenerbahce during the summer, has resulted in a lack of energy in Manchester United’s midfield. Furthermore, two summer signings in the same position are currently sidelined due to injuries, adding to the club’s extensive injury list, which also includes promising young talent Kobbie Mainoo.
Mason Mount had only played two matches before suffering an injury, and Sofyan Amrabat is yet to make his debut after joining on loan from Fiorentina. In matches, the midfield pairing of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen has often been exposed physically.
Pundit Chris Sutton has pinpointed this as the primary issue for manager Erik ten Hag, stating in the Mail: “I believe Manchester United’s primary problem, or I should say the most significant problem they face, is their midfield. I simply don’t think they have the agility and dynamism required.”
Sutton elaborated on United’s limitations by pointing out, “Look at other top-table teams that possess these qualities, and you’ll see that’s their primary issue. I think we discussed this on Monday, didn’t we? Manchester United is mostly limited to playing a counter-attacking style, and that’s their challenge.”
With Mount, Mainoo, and Amrabat unavailable, Manchester United’s squad depth is further stretched. Three of their first-choice starting lineup players are also sidelined: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, and Raphael Varane. Additional absences include reinforcements Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire, while forwards Antony and Jadon Sancho are both unavailable for enforced periods, and Amad is currently sidelined due to injury.
Manchester United is scheduled to face Burnley on Saturday night, followed by a doubleheader at home against Crystal Palace in the EFL Cup and Premier League. They will then resume their Champions League campaign with a home match against Galatasaray.