Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss | Football | Sport

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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss (Image: GETTY)

United travelled to the Emirates high on optimism having turned over Paris Saint-Germain in a shock 3-1 away win last Wednesday.

But the Red Devils failed to live up to the high standards set at the Parc des Prince as Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners.

The loss was the first Manchester United have suffered in the Premier League since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho back in December.

Therefore there’s no need for any kind of over reaction with United still in the hunt for the top four, as well as Champions League and FA Cup glory.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be weighing up just what went wrong against Arsenal, as well as his plans going forward.

The Norwegian has spoken of his desire to remain in the Old Trafford hotseat beyond the end of the season.

And decisions will have to be made if Ed Woodward hands him the reins on a full-time basis in Manchester.

Express Sport takes a look at three players with questions hanging over them following the defeat to Arsenal.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss (Image: GETTY)

David de Gea

United No 1 David de Gea remains one of the most highly-regarded goalkeepers on the planet but has struggled to show his best form this season.

There is uncertainty over his future, with an impasse in negotiations to extend his contract, which has just over a year left to run.

United legend Gary Neville believes the doubts will be playing on De Gea’s mind and may have contributed to the 28-year-old letting in Granit Xhaka’s long-range effort on Sunday.

“The first thing to say when you see a goal like that, is that you think there’s been a deflection,” Neville said.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss (Image: GETTY)

“But there wasn’t one. It was really poor from David De Gea. I’m not sure how to explain that. He hits it well Xhaka.

“He’s got a clear sight of it David De Gea. It swerves but I’ve got no defence for him. It’s poor from the goalkeeper.

“His reaction for me; he went to his left but didn’t seem to react when the ball went the other way. He’s not been at his best David De Gea this season.”

Neville then added: “All the noise of the contract. He must have had a lot of noise in his ear.”

Fred

United thought they had finally snared the man to complete their midfield and help unleash Paul Pogba when they bought Fred last summer.

But the £52m Brazilian has so far proved unable to deliver on the hype that surrounded his time at Shakhtar Donetsk.

United’s namesake mascot enjoyed almost as much time on the Old Trafford pitch as Fred during Jose Mourinho’s tenure.

And the reality of the situation is the 26-year-old only started against PSG and Arsenal because of an injury crisis.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss (Image: GETTY)

Fred looked good out of possession on Sunday, tenaciously snapping at the heels of the opponents and successfully recovering the ball.

He also struck the post in the first half with a fine effort which evaded the grasp of the diving Bernd Leno.

Fred, though, looked short of ideas in possession, failed to play the killer ball and ultimately gave away the penalty which killed United off.

In the race to catch Premier League pacesetters Manchester City and Liverpool, Fred might not be good enough to rely upon.

Eric Bailly

Eric Bailly is the Jekyll and Hyde defender Mourinho and Solskjaer will both have had their fears about.

The former Villarreal ace sometimes exhibits the positional awareness, crisp tackling and comfort on the ball that top players possess.

But in an instant he can become the rash, hot-headed centre-back who makes his manager wince in the dugout.

Bailly was hauled off during the first half of the win over PSG, a chastening experience having struggled to keep up with Kylian Mbappe and co..

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left with questions over THREE stars after Arsenal loss (Image: GETTY)

And in his stead Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof have forged a formidable partnership at the heart of Solskjaer’s defence.

Neither Smalling or Lindelof was at their best as Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goals consigned United to defeat in north London.

It’s a safe bet, though, that Solskjaer will lead on that duo in more big games, rather than turning back to Bailly, who was an unused substitute.

At 24, there’s plenty of time for Bailly to develop, but Solskjaer may be wondering whether he has a long-term future at United.



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