2 Ups And 6 Downs Of United’s Home Draw To West Ham
Manchester United never do things the normal less stressful way, do they?
Man United knew that a win would almost guarantee a Champions League place and following Chelsea’s 5-3 loss to Liverpool would have also put them in a prominent position for 3rd place.
On paper, Man United finished the day in third only needing a draw at Leicester to confirm qualification for the Champions League and a win to finish the season above both ‘The Foxes’ and ‘The Blues’. However, United have caused concern over this as yet again ‘The Red Devils’ fail to fully take advantage in the Top 4 race.
Paul Pogba’s handball allowed the in form Michail Antonio to give ‘The Hammers’ the lead from the penalty spot before Mason Greenwood’s second half strike was enough to give United a perhaps undeserved point.
It was far from a good performance for Ole’s men and you get the feeling United are crawling over the line instead of walking through it and as long as Untied qualify, I guess you can’t complain.
But in terms of a 90-minute football match, it was another lacklustre display from most, so let’ just dive into the ups and downs for Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United.
DOWN – GOALKEEPER PROBLEM SOLVED?
Before the match, questions were arising about the future of United legend David De Gea and whether he should be in the net for the next few games. Solskjaer gave De Gea the green light and by all accounts didn’t put a foot wrong all game.
However, Paul Pogba has made his name available for the goalkeeping position after his wonder save from a Declan Rice power strike. Jokes aside, Pogba made a rookie error in putting his hands up to the ball. With the current rules, any handball is deemed a penalty so perhaps Pogba should have ducked and let it go out for a goal kick rather than trying to catch it. A mistake you don’t make as an experience World Cup winner.
DOWN – BRANDON SILLYIAMS
I am a big fan of Brandon Williams, but he has looked out of sorts since returning from lockdown. With the injury to Luke Shaw, the young Englishman has come into the team hoping to fill in where the former Southampton man left off, but he has looked uncomfortable in that left back position.
Going forward Brandon, is a threat but any defensive work he looks vulnerable and yesterday, Jarrod Bowen had a field day at the expense of Williams. I can see promise that makes me suggest he will be a star for United but I just don’t think he’s ready for the big time just yet but as a replacement for Shaw, he needs to improve defensively in order to help Solskjaer claim Champions League qualification with ‘The Red Devils’ this season.
DOWN – THE CONDUCTOR IS OUT OF RHYTHM
Nemanja Matic has rightfully been nicknamed many things since lockdown and ‘The Conductor’ is one of them. The way he conducts not just the midfield, but the entire team is crucial to the success of United and it’s no coincidence that when Matic dips so does the team.
Matic was poor against West Ham and was shown up by his potential replacement Declan Rice. It wasn’t the fact Matic was conducting things but more that Matic was conducting things the wrong way. His slow pace style set United up poorly going forward and the whole team was lacking fluidity and you could put that down to Matic.
DOWN – BACK TO THE DRAW-ING BOARD
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be in the United camp next season whether you like it or not. There are many Ole Outers and many Ole supporters, to which I am one, but everyone is United, pun intended, in agreeing the Norwegian got it wrong yesterday.
His style was very negative, and the tactics were almost non-existent. West Ham played for a point and could have won if they went for all three meanwhile United, who could have done with a win, looked like they were playing for the draw too. There was no energy to go and get the second goal which is disappointing to the say the least.
My one consistent criticism of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is his laid-back persona on the touchline. When the camera picks him up, he is often sat there looking disinterested in the game. For all we know we might be watching an episode of Hollyoaks on that screen of his. As a manager, your job isn’t to look interested and play up to the camera, but it is a worrying sight that he seemed to lack that passion to get the three points.
DOWN – PRESSURE MAKES DIAMONDS
Pressure does indeed make diamonds but there is nothing diamond about all United fans sweating profusely as we watch our team play against Leicester on Sunday.
You can look back at five opportunities minimum that United could have had this race sown up. The reality is these bunch of talented players just have a mentality issue. Pressure comes with football but bottling chance after chance to get into the top 4 is just down to a poor mind.
You can be as skilful as you like but if you can’t turn it on in big games then you won’t get far. The mentality issue needs to be quickly resolved in United are going far in the future. One way to solve this could well be…….
DOWN – CHANGE THE CAPTAIN
For what it’s worth, I thought Harry Maguire had a good game at the back in terms of being a defender but he’s more than just that. When your team is lacking the kick it’s your job as captain to give them that kick they need and spur them on and continually demand more. Unless Maguire has had a recent voice box accident, there is no excuse for just sitting back and watching your team hold on with their bare fingertips.
If I were Ole, I would give the captains armband to Bruno, who has shown that passion we all are looking for. You might even kill two birds with one stone if by removing the captaincy burden Maguire is carrying, it might improve his overall game.
Changing a captain is a monumental step in a club but it’s what’s needed to continue the development of this lacking team.
UP – A RARE GOOD START
The best period of the game for United came when the first whistle was blown. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Man United start games slow and uninterested but surprisingly not yesterday.
United dominated the first 10-15 minutes of the game and the only down from this up is that United didn’t have a goal to show for it.
It appears the fast start was detrimental to the players in the long run as the passion and pace of United’s game didn’t last. United need to find the balance over 90 minutes if they are to command and win the game of football.
UP – RELYING ON AN 18-YEAR-OLD
Manchester United have a whole host of players who all have had their own experiences all over the world, but it was one 18-year-old that scored the equaliser and is dragging ‘The Red Devils’ into the top 4.
This is an up just to showcase the ability of Greenwood. He was the only player that seemed like he cared out there and despite his feeble age, Mason knows the importance of getting this club into the champions league. Speaking of captains before, Greenwood is a future United one for sure and maybe even a captain on the horizon for England too.
Out of his 10 goals, five of them have either been equalisers or winners so Greenwood deserves a big thank you if United get over the line in this tense nail biting final day race.
What did you make of the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.