Manchester United 0 West Bromwich Albion 1 – Top 5 Talking Points
For the first time in premier league history, Manchester United have lost three games in a row without scoring in any of it. A deflected goal through Olsson from Brunt’s free kick in the second half was enough for West Brom to get all three points. After the result, Van Gaal knows that top four is far from secured. Let us look at the five talking points from the game:
United need to play with quicker tempo
Louis Van Gaal loves to have a lot of possession in matches. Hence opponents understanding is desire for the ball, are granting his wish by sitting deep and allowing Manchester United have all the ball. They are not worried about the ball possession and are just looking to make the best of it when they have it. Hence, opponents are happy to park the bus against the Reds.
As a result, United don’t have much space to work their way through them. If United are to break the opponents defence, it is imperative for the Reds to play with a higher tempo to break them. Unfortunately the Manchester Reds were not able to do so with their slow tempo.
As a result of which United were not able to make quick one touch passing in dangerous areas or not able to play with quick pace. Van Gaal has to find a way to make United play with quicker tempo.
Balls coming into the box is still a worry for United
West Brom hardly had the ball against the Reds, but they looked a lot threatening when they had it, which was largely due to United’s poor defending. Every time the ball came into United’s penalty box, it is a West Brom player who wins it. Hence, Tony Pulis system was simple – it was just about putting the ball into United’s box every time they had it and it worked to an extent.
From two corners in the first half, United left Lescott free and the former Manchester City man was unfortunately not able to make the most of it. Also once, when Brunt put the ball in the box, in the same period, Saido Berahino was the only player in the box and the young striker won the battle easily against Mcnair and Smalling. Van Gaal has got to find a solution to stop this mess at the back, because bigger teams will punish the Reds if they repeat the same.
Mcnair – Still work in progress
Mcnair’s rise has been impeccable this campaign. When the youngster made his debut against West Ham United, he was an unknown face, however now every United fan knows him thanks to his consistent growth. But, the last two matches against Everton and West Brom have shown that the youngster can be used as an effective alternative, but not as a regular first choice.
He struggles to keep up with the physical nature of certain players and still looks uncomfortable every time the ball comes in the box. Also his passing under pressure was not effective. Moreover it was from his silly foul, West Brom scored the goal on the night. With the talent he possess, the youngster certainly have the ability to be a great centre-back in the future, but that is not today.
Van Gaal changes did not work
In the second half, Van Gaal made Fellaini play higher up the field and made Van Persie drop deep. The change backfired as Fellaini was unable to lead the line on his own. He found himself in good positions, but was not able to make the most of it as his final turn or shot let him down.
Also Van Persie struggled to help much with the quick passing game. Van Persie did fire in some dangerous shots from outside the box, but it was dealt with easily. Also pushing Young, United best player in the first half, into the left-back position deprived United’s threat on that side.
Top four is far from secured
United required just five points in the last four games, which looked an easy task before the match started. However, now that prospect looks quite tricky for the Reds. They need a win and two draws in the last three games or two wins to secure it. But, seeing United lose three games in a row without scoring in any of those, that task looks very difficult. Next up his Crystal Palace away for the Reds.
The rejuvenated side under Alan Pardew is always a difficult place to go and Van Gaal will know that is not what United need now. After them, they have to face Arsenal at home and finish the season at Hull City. Until and unless United secure the fourth place, Van Gaal knows that nothing can be taken for granted.
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