Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job is back in jeopardy. Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal was a chastening experience for the Norwegian, whose side were inferior throughout the showdown at Old Trafford. And, should the Red Devils lose to Everton next weekend, that may be the final nail in his coffin.
Manchester United went into the season on a high.
After finishing third in the Premier League table, securing a place in the Champions League in the process, hopes of a title challenge were high.
Solskjaer cut a delighted figure on the final day of the season, grinning wildly as United beat Leicester 2-0 at the King Power Stadium.
But that already seems a long time ago.
United had lifted some of the pressure off Solskjaer’s shoulders before the match against Arsenal, beating both RB Leipzig and PSG in the Champions League.
But, now, the Norwegian is back under pressure.
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United have been dire in the league so far this season and, while they’re ticking along nicely on the European front, their domestic performances are worrying.
They lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace on the opening day of the campaign with Solskjaer’s side played off the pitch as Roy Hodgson’s side picked up all three points.
They then were abysmal in the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham.
And, last weekend, United were dire to watch as Chelsea left Old Trafford with a valuable point to their name.
Against Arsenal, it was a similar story.
The Gunners were very much superior in nearly every department and fully deserved all three points, which were secured via Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pinpoint penalty.
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United looked flat throughout the contest with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba all particularly disappointing on the night.
And, now, Everton lie in wait.
Should the Red Devils lose that match, it’s feasible the Glazers and Ed Woodward could decide to sack Solskjaer during the international break.
It was reported in October that the 47-year-old had until then to save his job and defeat at Goodison Park, like what happened to David Moyes six months ago, could be the final nail in his coffin.
United have always insisted they’re behind Solskjaer.
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But with Mauricio Pochettino still available, a long-term managerial target for Woodward and the Glazers, they may decide to bite the bullet and wield the axe.
Should United lose to Everton, it would likely see them drop close to the relegation zone. Perhaps in the danger zone itself.
So while fans were baying for blood on Sunday night, they may have to wait a little longer to see what happens.
United, usually, wait to see whether Champions League football (the minimum requirement) can be achieved before pulling the trigger on a manager.
But they showed with Jose Mourinho they’re not afraid to intervene if necessary and another defeat would see their hopes of a top four finish dealt another, perhaps fatal blow.
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