United's squad is embarrassingly short and results show no sign of improving, says Scott Patterson, author of The Republik of Mancunia blog
Manchester United's form with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer resembles what you would expect from a team aiming to avoid relegation.
We find ourselves two points above the drop zone and five points outside of the top four.
If we get a few good results on the bounce under our belts, the position could appear entirely different, but looking at their performances this season, it's hard to see where the next win is going to come from.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apologises to the Man United fans after their 1-0 loss at Newcastle
Dejected United players at St James' Park during their third league loss of the season
It's such a stark difference from the opening day of the season where Solskjaer's side thrashed Chelsea 4-0.
It was a game where everything went their way, with Marcus Rashford looking ready to take on the No 9 role after scoring twice, Anthony Martial putting in a shift that was reminiscent of his first season at the club, and even young Daniel James scoring on his debut.
Paul Pogba was at his creative best, assisting two goals, while Scott McTominay recovered possession more than anyone on the pitch, Aaron Wan-Bissaka won the most tackles and Harry Maguire made the most interceptions, blocks and clearances.
We'd been worried that the club hadn't recruited adequately in the summer. Despite the fact that the issues in defence were being remedied at long last, after large fees were paid for Maguire and Wan-Bissaka, there seemed to be gaping holes in other areas.
United's current poor form is a far cry from their opening day 4-0 demolition of Chelsea
A thrilled Solskjaer during the opening day win over Chelsea at Old Trafford in August
Allowing two experienced midfielders, in Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, as well as two experienced forwards, in Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, to leave the club with Championship player James the only addition, looked like dreadful decision making.
But after the Chelsea result, there was hope that the wave of positivity that arrived with Solskjaer last December was making another appearance.
It wasn't to be.
The results and performances have been on the decline ever since. Who would have thought the fan base would be longing to have those departed players back on the pitch?
The truth is, Fellaini wasn't good enough and while Herrera was better, he still wasn't the calibre of midfielder that we had become accustomed to at Old Trafford over the years.
United have allowed Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera to leave without replacing them
Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku were allowed to leave for Inter without being replaced
But looking at the current squad, which midfielders have played better than those two did?
McTominay has promise but the jury is definitely still out on whether he'll ever be good enough for a team that is supposed to be challenging for the title.
Fred has been awful, Nemanja Matic even worse, and the result has been our midfield being overrun every game.
Up front, United are embarrassingly short, with all hopes resting on the shoulders of 18-year-old Mason Greenwood, who hasn't even played 100 minutes of Premier League football yet.
Selling Lukaku wasn't the problem but failing to replace him, as Ole claimed we would have to back in July, has cost us.
We're all well aware of his disappearing act in big matches, scoring just once in 20 games against top six opposition, and the fact he managed just 15 goals in 45 appearances last season, but having a Lukaku is better than not having a Lukaku, and that's what United have been left with.
A striker capable of scoring 20 goals in a season was allowed to leave the club and they opted not to replace him.
Marcus Rashford cuts a dejected figure during a poor performance at St James' Park
The first choice team is lacking in so much quality, so the line-ups Solskjaer has been left picking after the injuries started totting up is depressing to watch.
With every passing week, the manager has seemingly been greeted with more bad news. First choice full-backs Luke Shaw and Wan-Bissaka are ruled out with injury, as is the only creative element of the midfield in Pogba.
Martial has been missing since the third game, after scoring twice in the opening two matches. What already looked to be a threadbare squad has been exposed dreadfully.
After the transfer window closed, United's squad was weaker than the one that finished sixth last season, and it's no surprise their current league position reflects that, especially following the injuries to key players.
18-year-old Mason Greenwood has been left to lead the line alone amid an injury crisis
However, that's not to say that Solskjaer is let off the hook. There are certainly mitigating factors contributing to the poor results since his permanent appointment, and fans can be glad he shifted some of the deadwood that previous managers strangely relied upon, but he has to shoulder the blame too.
Why does he stick with the likes of Juan Mata and Fred, despite their dismal showings week after week, instead of throwing in Angel Gomes or