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Erik Ten Hag must address the biggest problem at Manchester United for 31 years United plays Aston Villa on Boxing Day

Manchester United finds themselves in another rough patch following a disappointing defeat, adding to a season filled with lows. After a solid performance in a draw at Anfield, the Reds suffered a 2-0 loss to West Ham at the London Stadium, increasing the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.

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Tonight, they face another significant challenge against in-form Aston Villa at Old Trafford, led by the impressive Unai Emery.

The Reds urgently need points to stay in contention for the top four spots, and their struggling attack must improve. Here are the key points to consider ahead of tonight’s match:

Another Unwanted Record

Manchester United has gone four consecutive games without scoring, a feat not seen since the autumn of 1992.

This goal drought has prompted comparisons to a time when Sir Alex Ferguson responded by signing Eric Cantona.

The lack of goals is stark, with midfielder Scott McTominay leading the team with just six goals. Erik ten Hag must address this growing problem promptly.

The Forwards Must Do More

Jadon Sancho, absent since August 26 due to a fallout with Ten Hag, is ironically the last United forward to have scored a Premier League goal at Old Trafford.

With forwards like Marcus Rashford and Antony struggling to contribute, the team’s attacking woes need urgent attention.

The Handling of Mainoo

Kobbie Mainoo, a promising 18-year-old, has been a rare positive in a disappointing season.

His mistake in the West Ham game raises questions about his handling, as he has sometimes been benched despite fans wanting him to start.

Ten Hag’s decision to rest him against Aston Villa might be wise, with Sofyan Amrabat offering more experience.

European Aspirations

United’s recent defeat has dropped them to eighth in the Premier League, making a top-four finish seem unlikely.

However, securing this spot remains the target. Facing high-flying Aston Villa, who have had notable wins under Unai Emery, will reveal United’s current standing and aspirations.

Wan-Bissaka or Dalot?

Diogo Dalot’s suspension against West Ham saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka start at right-back. The competition for this role has been ongoing, with Wan-Bissaka currently considered the first choice.

The decision between the two often feels like a coin toss, presenting a dilemma for Ten Hag.

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