Manchester United will only realize their full potential if they start winning away regularly from home, with defeats to Tottenham and Arsenal signaling a worrying trend that Erik Ten Hag must address immediately.
Rice produced the performance he left West Ham to see and will hope it is only the start of many more such moments in his new club, PS105m midfielder will hope.
Manchester United’s away-day woes
Manchester United’s struggles against teams who finished in the top 10 last season has worsened, as evidenced by their humiliating 2-0 loss against West Ham that left Erik Ten Hag’s side well off pace of making an early push into the top four.
At present, Ten Hag’s defense remains vulnerable despite hiring players with better defensive mentalities. Ten Hag wants his players to work harder without the ball in opponents’ territory and press more aggressively through the middle of the park.
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United’s lack of consistency is of greatest concern; against top opponents they simply aren’t up to par, with Arsenal an especially telling example on Sunday. Without immediate solutions being found for this problem it could take another 18 months before any silverware arrives at Old Trafford – and that would be a devastating setback, particularly with all their achievements under Ten Hag under their belts but no success when it comes to success on the pitch.
West Ham’s chastening 2-0 win
Although United have had some strong performances this season, evidence continues to mount that they struggle when facing top teams on their home patch. If they want to turn it around and be competitive again in the Premier League title race, then this issue needs addressing immediately.
67 minutes: Michail Antonio moves in close to Scott McKenna before shooting towards goal, but his shot is blocked by him with ease and the crowd responds by applauding, making an appreciative noise – it appeared like a golden opportunity that Michail Antonio should take advantage of to score one of his signature goals.
Taiwo Awoniyi headed a free-kick off the line as Forest continued their push for an equaliser. Dean Henderson then had to be on his toes to stop Niasse’s driving rebound attempt from driving home an equalizer; unfortunately it won’t be enough as Forest suffer another demoralising defeat which leaves them languishing at the bottom half of their table.
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Arsenal’s late heroics
Arsenal have faced difficulties on the road this season and this was evident against Leicester when Youri Tielemans opened up his account for them with his opening goal for them under Erik ten Hag. Arsenal now have conceded 10 times away from home under Erik ten Hag and currently rank 10th in the table, leading many fans to turn against Wenger during his summer departure.
However, if the Gunners can find an effective strategy to win away games then they have an outside chance at reaching the top four this term. But they must do better than they did on Sunday; otherwise they remain an impotent team when faced with quality opposition on their travels.
Kai Havertz continued his woeful run as he miscued in front of goal to provoke groaned from the Emirates crowd, before handing the ball off to Christian Eriksen who provided Marcus Rashford’s opener with a delightful through ball from Christian Eriksen’s superb through ball. Martin Odegaard equalised before Rice and Gabriel Jesus sealed victory in stoppage time goals for Arsenal.
Crystal Palace’s impressive start
Palace’s road win at Loftus Road will have done wonders for their club morale. Palace prioritised youth when revamping their squad this summer and have already seen tangible benefits of that investment; new arrivals such as Odsonne Edouard, Michael Olise and Connor Gallagher bring a freshness that had grown dull under Roy Hodgson.
Nketiah manages to dodge two players before unleashing an attempt into the side-netting, while Ayew attempts to make use of an overlap but is denied by Max Kilman’s excellent goalline clearance.
Havertz creates the hosts’ best chance in the opening period when he spins past two opponents before cutting back to Ward, who then mishits his volley from a promising position. However, Arsenal have shown they can be efficient in possession from an early stage with Nketiah and Saka in particular keeping things tight on defence.