Ken Early: ‘Resurgent United’ narrative does not stand up to scrutiny

Beating Manchester City may help Solskjær keep his job but it only papers over cracks

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: few would have backed him to complete a league double over Pep Guardiola this season. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: few would have backed him to complete a league double over Pep Guardiola this season. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty

Few would have backed Ole Gunnar Solskjær to complete a league double over Pep Guardiola this season, or to win three out of four matches against Manchester City in all competitions. Yet here we are. The scenes when Ederson flung a wet ball across the field to Scott McTominay, only to see the United midfielder shoot unerringly into his unguarded net from 45 yards, were perhaps the biggest celebrations Old Trafford has seen since Solskjær took the job in December 2018.

They might even be the last celebrations in those stands for a while, since Premier League insiders have been admitting that it now looks more likely than not that league matches will soon be taking place behind closed doors. Already Serie A grounds are closed to spectators, as Italy wrestles with Europe’s biggest outbreak of Covid-19, and there is little real confidence that this season’s Italian championship can be completed. For now you can not only watch every ball that is kicked in Serie A, but you can hear it too, against the echoing backdrop of an empty stadium.

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