In typical fashion of this group, they manage to halt any pleasure just as you thought they might be able to save the season from being the utterly torrid one we thought it would be. They were utterly outclassed by Marco Silva’s Fulham. The goal from Bassey should have been at least the third rather than the opener. As is the case with Fulham this season, when they do go ahead against bigger teams they do sit back. As they did, the Red Devils finally decided to play some football and a Maguire equaliser was due to some pressure put on. In the end, the home team looked the more likely until a sucker punch from Iwobi at the end gave the Cottagers all three points, which was thoroughly deserved.

Badly Laid Plans Going Awry

In pre-season, when Omari Forson got a start against Dortmund, he would be subbed in the first half from a combination of fear he would be sent off and his play being below par. When he came off, Ten Hag was seen talking him through the reasoning, in almost a remonstrative fashion. It looked as if he would not be seeing the first team for a while yet.

However today, as Hojlund picked up a muscle injury that would sideline him for a couple weeks, the youngster was given a start in the team. In a weird sort of way, his performance, that mirrored what occurred in that pre season game but over the course of 50 minutes, is less a reflection of him but more of the manager. Forson is not really a winger. He is better in central areas and between the lines. He has developed physically but not enough to make him equipped to playing in the wider areas. It was something he found difficult when he came up against Wolf for Dortmund and he found it no easier today. Unfathomably, Ten Hag decided to station him there and move around Rashford and Garnacho into their lesser positions. It was not just the loss of Hojlund but the juggling of the pack by the manager that really hamstrung the team in terms of performance.

The problem with the manager now is that after 2/3 months where we have been playing one game a week, the team is not looking anymore coached than it did before. Injuries has been remarked, but the loss of personnel shouldn’t have such a big impact on the way it in which the team plays. The reliance of individuals to do big systemic things is such a huge indictment on the manager not having any influence. In fact, during the game, the things he has influence over, he actually makes the team worse. Casemiro had to exit due to a head injury and McTominay was his replacement, which is fine.

But after the Forson selection made little headway, he brought on Christian Eriksen. Those two changes, with McTominay playing between the lines to fashion a goal out of nothing to justify his lack of anything else and Eriksen’s lack of mobility, the game became even more of a chore. Worst of all, those changes meant that Bruno would go wide. It was absolutely turgid and up until the change with Amad, it was bordering on pathetic. It was utterly frustrating that a manager cannot see the simple things and actively makes things worse. Even the change with Amad for Mainoo, he was actually hamstrung with the fact he would not take Bruno off and the two substitutes McTominay and Eriksen were the ones who were making things worse. With all the problems around the club, both on and off the pitch, the fact Ten Hag is doing his job this badly that it cannot be mistaken how out of his depth he currently is, truly shows the level he is currently coaching and managing at. He laid the plan of Forson to play today yet he done so with the same plan that he saw the youngster be a first half substitution in a non-competitive game. Even the best plans go awry but the Dutchman is not even doing that.

Other Thoughts

Watching Eriksen saunter around the pitch, through sheer lack of physicality, was always a sight for sore eyes but it was particularly awful today. His attempt at stopping Adama Traore during the sequence that led to the Iwobi goal was more of the reason why the sight of him on the football pitch these days is just an anchor to the whole team. The justification of him slinging in good crosses into the box is not worth everything he is not. It is far from his fault and more so the manager for even going to him in the first place but he isn’t even worthy of being a viable option off the bench anymore.

The sight of Bruno Fernandes is not much better. He is a shadow of what he was and even that version was not that impressed. He was incredibly productive on the stat sheet but his general play was always poor. Now he cannot even provide the former. These days, it is a performance where he is actively playing against his team mates or he is doing absolutely nothing on the pitch. It was more of the first variety today until the last 10 or so minutes as United pushed. But, the throw in that Fulham got came from an idiotic pass that Lindelof had to keep from going for a goal kick. It is becoming tiring to watch him play and the sooner he is no longer a permanent fixture in the team, the more chance Man Utd will be able to get back to the top.