Manchester United Season Ironically Turned with Solskjaer Permanent Appointment


“April is the cruelest month,” according to T.S. Eliot in his timeless poem “The Wasteland,” and that sentiment certainly applies to the Manchester United 2018-19 season.

The entire season turned on a dime when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went from just interim manager to permanent boss on March 28th. It’s seems ironic, counter-intuitive, non-sensical, but the facts and numbers speak quite loudly on this. There is a large enough sample size now to draw this conclusion, as you can’t just chalk it up to the level of competition.

The following numbers apply to matches played across all competitions-

19 games played under which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was interim manager: 14 wins, two draws, three losses, goal differential of +23

9 Games played under which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was permanent manager: two wins, one draw, six losses, goal differential of -9

Yes, that’s not just a drop in form, but instead a totally 180 degree turn, as you have a goal differential aggregate that went -32. The highs of the wins against PSG, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have given way to the lows of getting routed by Barcelona, Everton and Wolves.

What explains this? Did the players feels like they were motivated for their jobs when the job status of their boss was in limbo? And now that it’s settled they are coasting? It’s a weak theory, yes, and it doesn’t seem to be very logical, but a lot of United fans are just speechless right now.

sir alex old trafford man united

For Manchester United, there are just two games left, against Premier League bottom feeders, but it doesn’t matter anymore. They are destined for relegation to the Europa League, and Solskjaer himself essentially admitted as much this past Sunday. 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets:Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago, also contributes to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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