Since Solskjaer took over in December talking about Jose Mourinho is something I have avoided mainly to not seem smug or bitter or both. However recent weeks have brought something glaringly obvious to all United fans.
Whilst the difference in the attacking nature of the team has been obvious if a little overplayed there has been a huge improvement in the defensive performance under Solskjaer, indeed even in the early glut of goals the caretaker manager was highlighting the need for clean sheets.
After conceding from set pieces against Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth games against Newcastle, Spurs, Leicester and Fulham brought away clean sheets. United did concede sloppy goals in home games against Burnley and Brighton before comfortably shutting out Liverpool last Sunday at Old Trafford.
Since Solskjaer took charge United have 7 clean sheets in 14 domestic games including against Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. They have also only conceded the first goal in a game once – against Burnley and if it wasn’t for some sloppy defending in comfortable wins the clean sheet record would be even better.
Key to this has been the left side of the defence with Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw looking both solid in defence and silky going forward – almost as if Mourinho couldn’t get the best out of them and decided to brainwash everyone his players were nowhere near the required standard.
Since Solskjaer took charge only Van Dijk and Laporte have looked a better centre back than Lindelof, whilst Luke Shaw finally seems to be fulfilling the potential that has been obvious for years. Aswell as the 5 clean sheets Lindelof has added a goal, assist and 8 bonus points in the Solskjaer era with Shaw assisting once with 3 bonus points. Whilst most will have Rashford and Pogba there is certainly a case to get at least one of the United defenders in the run in to the season. United will have 2 double gameweeks and with Lindelof priced at 5.0 and Shaw 5.1 there’s certainly some money to be saved on Wildcard and Free Hit teams.
Another advantage is the ownership figures of 6 percent and 9 percent providing possible differentials in the FPL run in as Solskjaer looks to prove his all round credentials as the next United manager.