Sam Allardyce has told talkSPORT this is the weakest Manchester United side of his lengthy managerial career ahead of the Red Devils’ crunch clash with Arsenal.
United host Unai Emery’s Gunners on Monday evening in what has been mockingly dubbed ‘El Sackico’ due to the pressure on the Arsenal boss and his Man United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Both sides can move back into the Premier League’s top four with a victory tonight, but another defeat for the Red Devils would make it three losses from just seven matches this season for Solskjaer – who appears to be feeling the heat.
The pressure on the Norwegian has ramped up over the past couple of weeks despite United actually WINNING two of three matches in that time frame.
A lacklustre defeat of Astana in the Europa League was followed up by a 2-0 loss at West Ham, who continue to show their credentials as possible top six gatecrashers.
The Red Devils then went on to beat Rochdale at home in the Carabao Cup, but they were taken all the way to penalties by the League One outfit who lost both their matches either side of their trip to Old Trafford.
And Allardyce, the former Bolton, Newcastle and England boss, believes the match against Rochdale was the point many started to truly question Solskjaer and United.
Asked whether this Red Devils side is the weakest he has seen during his time in football, Big Sam told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “Yes, it would be the weakest.
“There are lots of doubts around Old Trafford at the moment. The Rochdale game has made everyone sit on the edge of their seats asking, ‘what is going on with Manchester United?’
“Playing at Old Trafford and only winning on penalties with a side that was more than capable of scoring four or five against Rochdale… that sends a shock wave through Old Trafford.
“The last home game in the league was a 1-0 victory over Leicester with a penalty, and that wasn’t comfortable; for big parts of that game Leicester were the better team in terms of controlling possession and getting forward.
“I’m very concerned for Ole and Manchester United that things may not get better if they are not very careful.”
LIVE on talkSPORT
Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week
- Leeds vs West Brom (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Lille vs Chelsea (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
- Charlton vs Swansea (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- AZ Alkmaar vs Man United (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Birmingham vs Middlesbrough (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Brighton vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Fulham vs Charlton (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Burnley vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
- West Ham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
Allardyce attempted to explain the problems at Man United, and he suggested Solskjaer’s decision to axe senior players for youngsters is actually having a negative impact on the club.
“It’s just the quality of the squad and the strength in depth of the squad,” Allardyce continued on United’s struggles. “I can see lots of potential in their young players, but the young players cannot be relied upon for the entire season.
“I think the older players might be looking on and having the hump, asking, ‘why is that young lad playing when he’s not better than me?’
“I think that can happen when you are manager of a football club; players can make life extremely difficult for you, and some of the more senior players that haven’t been involved at Man United as much as they would want to be may just switch off a little bit.”