Manchester United have now gone three games in a row without scoring a goal and it seems like forever ago since the four goal thrashing of Real Sociedad two weeks ago.
Offensively it is not working lately, especially in the league. In two games this season United have 15 goals, those two games against Leeds and Southampton really inflate their goal tally. In 5 games they have 25 goals, nearly half of their goals.
It really is not a recent phenomenon, United have had these offensive inconsistencies all season.
In seven league games this season United have been held goalless, and failed to score in both fixture against Chelsea and Arsenal. The goals are not coming against other big 6 clubs either. No goals in the first fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester City.
False 9 Fernandes
It has been a dismal season for Manchester United forwards, Marcus Rashford is the exception, but more can be expected of him and Edison Cavani has been a decent addition adding 6 goals, but Cavani has been injured and has only started 9 games this season with 9 cameos.
Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have been disappointing in the league with only five goals between the two, one for Greenwood.
Due to current injuries by other more forward minded midfielders like Donny Van De Beek and Paul Pogba, United can not add someone to the midfield to free up Bruno Fernandes. If they were fit, Solskjaer can deploy Fernandes as the false 9.
The 4-2-3-1 has been utilized by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer most of the season, the formation is seen as more of a defensive formation with two defensive midfielders, some could argue that Fred and Scott McTominay are not the most natural defensive midfielders. But, they provide cover for Harry Maguire and most of the time Victor Lindelof and help cover the forward minded left and right midfielder.
An extra midfielder could help because Fernandes plays such an advanced role already that United at times are out manned in the midfield.
Fernandes as the 10 is amazing, but there is offensive problem arising because of the formation. The two midfielders do not get high enough quickly to support Fernandes. At times they have, McTominay has upped his goal tally in all competitions and has four league goals. United have struggled at times breaking down the opposition between the lines. When they have they look unbeatable.
In a 1-0 loss to Arsenal this season, Solskjaer played a 4-3-1-2 against the London side, when Paul Pogba returns from his injury, it would be interesting to see if Solskjaer will change formations to accommodate the Frenchman or continue the 4-2-3-1 with Pogba in it.
A hybrid 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-3 (False 9), could help Solskjaer get the best out of his best players. It would free up Rashford, Fernandes, Martial and Greenwood of some defensive duties and Cavani off the bench could give a team something different to worry about.
Either way Manchester United must do something to counter act recent offensive woes. A second place finish looked fairly safe a couple of weeks ago, but due to their recent form the rest of the pack have begun to close the gap on Manchester United.