Paul Merson believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got his team selection for the shock defeat to Sheffield United ‘horribly wrong’ and says Manchester United may look back on the loss with regret at the end of the Premier League title race.
The Red Devils’ title push suffered a significant blow at Old Trafford on Wednesday night as bottom-placed Sheffield United clinched a surprise 2-1 win.
Solskjaer made six changes to the XI that beat defending Premier League champions Liverpool 3-2 in the FA Cup three days earlier, with in-form Luke Shaw and impressive summer signing Edinson Cavani only named on the bench.
Arsenal legend Merson told the Daily Star: ‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changed his team too much against Sheffield United and it backfired big style.
‘I can’t catch my breath at what he’s done there. He got it horribly, horribly wrong, and they lost all momentum.
‘I could not believe what I was watching from Manchester United. Play your best team. Get two goals in front. THEN rest players.
‘What’s Luke Shaw need a rest for? He’s playing the best football of his career, absolutely flying. Don’t tell me he’s tired.
‘I heard a United fan on the radio saying the team he put out should still have been good enough to win. If it was good enough, why isn’t it playing every week!?’
Merson added: ‘It was madness. Solskjaer was trying to be too clever because they have Arsenal this weekend.
‘But he’s put his team under pressure now. That could open the door for their rivals, and it means they have to beat Arsenal now.
‘United could look back on that at the end of the season as the day the title race turned against them.’
Following Manchester United’s defeat – and Man City’s victory over West Brom – Solskjaer’s side have dropped to second in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Arsenal.
The Gunners have recovered from a dismal start to the season to climb to ninth in the table, ten points behind Manchester United.
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