Manchester United weren’t the only European footballing giants left with eggs on their faces over the weekend.
On Tuesday comes the biggest game of Manchester United‘s season so far, a win-or-go-home (possibly a win-yet-go-home-regardless depending on the result of the other game in the group) European game against Bayern Munich, who, like their red-wearing counterparts, were also victims of a big defeat against a smaller side over the weekend.
Thomas Tuchel’s men held a 5-1 defeat away at Frankfurt, and despite already having qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, will be out for blood against Erik ten Hag‘s men, hoping to make a statement off the back of that heavy defeat.
The Bavarian giants will come to Manchester with the intention of going all out. This could actually work in Erik ten Hag’s favour, but under one condition: Manchester United’s forwards must finally start executing.
In the reverse fixture in Munich, Bayern were constantly open in transitions. They are a side who press high and aggressively but are often vulnerable to fast transitions – something that Ten Hag’s side has seen success during his time at the Old Trafford helm.
At the Allianz Arena in late September, United caused Bayern many problems on the night, and some fans felt that had Manchester United executed better, they could have left with all three points.
Now ask yourself, how many times have we said that about Manchester United this season?
On top of not creating enough in a lot of games, United’s execution has been incredibly poor. Outside of Rasmus Højlund’s top-scoring Champions League form, no United forward has more than two goals this season. Scott McTominay is the side’s top scorer at present, with five goals.
Right now, Manchester United have a big finishing problem, and if there was ever a time to get over it, now is that time. Bayern Munich are going to give up opportunities, and especially if the Old Trafford crowd perform at their best, the Bayern players will feel a lot of pressure. They are an open side defensively and have been for some time now. But if Manchester United’s forwards can’t wake up in front of goal, it is going to cost them.
In Europe this season, United have been able to find the net much better than in the league, scoring 12 goals in their five games so far. If they can keep it tight at the back – something that they have struggled with – and take those golden opportunities it feels almost inevitable that will come their way, they have a real chance to win this game and salvage their European campaign.
At the Allianz Arena at 2-0 down at half-time, many felt United could still get back into the game – which finished 4-3. United will be on home ground this time, where they picked up their sole European victory this season against FC Copenhagen, and will feel that this can work to their advantage.
United go to Anfield on Sunday to play bitter rivals Liverpool who, like Bayern Munich, give up a lot of chances. If United’s forwards finally find their feet (quite literally) then it will provide Ten Hag’s men with a major confidence boost going into one of the biggest games on the footballing calendar.
The next two games will make or break Manchester United’s season, and fate lies at the feet of the forwards. Should they respond to the call, we’ll be talking about Manchester United very differently in a week’s time. Fail to do so, and the consequences will be severe for all involved.
Erik ten Hag receives four Man United injury updates ahead of Fulham clash
Sir Jim Ratcliffe officially becomes Manchester United’s single largest shareholder
“I always tell him…” – Casemiro reveals Kobbie Mainoo conversation amid England and Ghana conflict
5 things learned as Manchester United defeat Burnley 2-0 (EFL Cup)
Player ratings: Manchester United 2-0 Burnley
How Lisandro Martinez made Manchester United World Cup history
News3 days ago
Altay Bayindir has “signed an agreement” to leave Manchester United this summer
News3 days ago
Ex-Manchester United player agrees with decision made by Kobbie Mainoo’s camp
Match Coverage3 days ago
Kobbie Mainoo first Man United player since Paul Pogba to complete midfield stat
News3 days ago
Gary Neville rants about “madness” Man United decision that INEOS just made