Statistics condemn Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s substitution of Donny van de Beek

by Red Billy

Manchester United crashed to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat by the team lying seventh in the Turkish Super Lig this evening, with the spotlight once again falling on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management of the side.

In Sunday’s home defeat to Arsenal, Solskjaer’s team selection and substitutions were the subject of much debate and again this evening, some of the decisions were hard to fathom.

When United went 1-0 down and needed two goals in 22 minutes on Sunday, the manager inexplicably removed Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, who had been amongst his most potent weapons until that point.

And again in Turkey this evening, there were some strange decisions, including that of resting Victor Lindelof in central defence after the Swede had put in two of his best performances this season in his two previous outings.

Another example was the 60th minute substitution of Donny van de Beek, who had arguably and statistically been one of United’s best players in the first half.

Van de Beek, who was starting just his second game for the side after his summer move from Ajax, registered 93% pass accuracy, 81 total touches, was successful in two out of two take-ons, completed two out of two tackles successfully and made one key pass.

Yet Van de Beek was replaced in the 61st minute by Paul Pogba, who lost possession on numerous occasions and produced no key passes in the final thirty minutes.

While Van de Beek’s performance was not flawless, the fact that he was substituted ahead of the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic is very questionable from Solskjaer’s point of view.

The result and the manner in which the outcome unfolded will inevitably put more pressure on Solskjaer’s shoulders as he prepares to face increasing criticism for his management of the team, now internationally as well as domestically.

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