sport news How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can get firing again

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's continue to be an enigma.

They haven't scored a Premier League goal from open play at Old Trafford for two months and yet scored four from open play in one match at the same venue against RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

They scored four times away from home against Newcastle and three goals at each of Brighton and Everton, yet somehow find scoring in their own backyard nigh on impossible.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was just left with more problems to solve despite the win over West Brom

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was just left with more problems to solve despite the win over West Brom

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It required a re-taken penalty from Bruno Fernandes to split the teams at Old Trafford

It required a re-taken penalty from Bruno Fernandes to split the teams at Old Trafford

Solskjaer's United relish tearing apart teams on the counter-attack but, for all their fabulous attacking options, seem stumped when confronted with a five-man defence sitting deep.

It should be said that Saturday night's 1-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion, their first league win at Old Trafford since July 4, could have been far more emphatic.

Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who spent nine years as a United player, made a string of outstanding saves and was beaten only by a re-taken Bruno Fernandes penalty.

But that's precisely the problem. United should have been out of sight, but didn't take the many chances that came their way. 

At other times, as Solskjaer acknowledged afterwards, they over-complicated their passing in promising situations.

United were denied repeatedly by their former academy goalkeeper Sam Johnstone

United were denied repeatedly by their former academy goalkeeper Sam Johnstone 

Anthony Martial cut a frustrated figure as his struggle for goals this season continued

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Anthony Martial cut a frustrated figure as his struggle for goals this season continued 

Man United fixtures

Tuesday Istanbul Basaksehir (H) CL

Sunday Southampton (A) PL

December 2 PSG (H) CL

December 5 West Ham (A) PL

December 8 RB Leipzig (A) CL

December 12 Man City (H) PL

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It explains why they seem to be reliant on penalties to get their goals at Old Trafford - in the Premier League at least.

Victory over West Brom buys Solskjaer a little more time but his job won't be fully safe until United's attacking verve is restored and they put teams out of sight on a consistent basis.

Marcus Rashford has seven goals so far this season - three coming against Leipzig - but Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are struggling for form, with just two goals apiece and none in the league.

The attacking swagger that marked United's performances post-restart in June has vanished.

And Solskjaer again went for the belt and braces of two holding midfielders - Nemanja Matic and Fred - against a West Brom side 18th in the table. Why?

Paul Pogba missed Saturday's match with an ankle injury but looks increasingly a spare part, while Donny van de Beek again had to be satisfied with an appearance off the bench.

In order to save his job, it may be that Solskjaer needs to make changes to his system or certainly in how existing personnel are deployed. Here are a few potential tweaks.

Mason Greenwood has found goal more difficult to come by this season than the last campaign

Mason Greenwood has found goal more difficult to come by this season than the last campaign

MARTIAL OUT WIDE, CAVANI IN

Martial has led United's line for a long time now, especially in the 4-2-3-1 set-up that Solskjaer favours.

But on Saturday, he was the picture of frustration as the centre forward as Branislav Ivanovic, Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi kept him completely shackled.

However, when Edinson Cavani came on for Juan Mata in the 62nd minute, Martial was moved out to the left side and was suddenly able to cause problems with his direct runs and skilful feet.

Edinson Cavani was sharp and determined to make an impact when he came on for United

Edinson Cavani was sharp and determined to make an impact when he came on for United

So why not start Martial on one of the wings permanently and have Cavani, who has looked sharp in his handful of appearances since arriving at United, play up front?

Martial would surely be more effective if able to run and take on defenders with the option to cut inside and shoot, while Cavani finds pockets of space inside the box.

Cavani

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