Manchester United vs West Brom Match Analysis

Bruno vs WBA

The story of VAR, controversies, sub-par performances and Bruno Fernandes as Manchester United went to win 1-0, thanks to a retaken penalty.

Match Summary:

Manchester United welcomed West Bromwich Albion to Old Trafford on November 21st, 2020. United was looking for their one first home win of the season. West Brom was looking for their first win this season and to break out of the bottom three.

Manchester United started the first half lively but was thwarted by the Baggies defence and their goalkeeper (Sam Johnstone), who was in outstanding form on his return to Old Trafford. Denying Martial twice, a fantastic save from a shot from Rashford and saving Bruno Fernandes first penalty shot (which was retaken since Sam was off the line).

In the second half, Bruno Fernandes gave away a penalty when he fouled Conor Gallagher, which was controversially overturned by the referee.

On the other side of the pitch, Juan Mata’s cross was handled in the box by Darnell Furlong, which led to United getting a penalty. Bruno was able to score the second time.

David De Gea made two brilliant saves on either side of the two halves. A fingertip-save to Karlan Grant’s right-footed shot and with his foot to deny Conor Townsend.

United Go On To Win 1-0.

United now move to the ninth position in the Premier League table. West Brom is still eighteenth and looking for a way up.

Apart from Bruno Fernandes, none of the United forwards showed any hunger of desire. Martial should have finished at least of the chances he got Rashford looked like an isolated man. Fred gave away the ball unnecessarily a few times, and Matic’s distribution needs to be better.

Bruno Fernandes was playing so deep sometimes that we did not have an attacking midfield player. Juan Mata started on the right-side and proved ineffective. Once he started coming in the midfield and seeing the ball, he was more involved. He still is not the solution United is looking for at the right-wing. Telles got his debut and had a decent game.

Late introductions of Donny Van De Beek & Edinson Cavani proved two things. Van De Beek still looks a far better player than most of the lot who started the match. And Cavani’s movement inside & outside the box is something that the United forwards need to learn.

Overall, OGS claimed this was a below-par performance even if he was delighted with the win. United needs to improve before their revenge match against Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford in the Champions League.

Check out the player ratings here.

Manchester United Line Up:

There were two notable changes in the United lineup by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Alex Telles replacing the injured Luke Shaw to make his United debut, and Scott McTominay making way for Nemanja Matic. Pogba was on account of a knock he picked up during the international break.

United’s formation looked like this:

Subs:  Cavani, McTominay, James, Van De Beek, Williams, Dean Henderson, Tuanzebe

First Half Unfolds:

United looked renewed as the match started. Martial got a headed opportunity in the opening minutes of the match but was denied by the in-form Sam Johnstone.

The next chance that United had was around the 17th minute courtesy of Rashford who found Bruno Fernandes, who passed it into Martial’s path right in front of goal. Sam Johnstone, the former United goalkeeper playing his old home, makes a peach of a save to deny Martial.

The action continued on the other side when Karlan Grant sent a right-footed shot dangerously towards the United goal. De Gea had to make an important save.

In the 33rd minute, Bruno showed his quality again when he played the ‘pass of the match’ to find Juan Mata inside the box. Mata almost sent it back to the six-yard line to a United player. West Brom’s defender was able to intervene, and eventually, the ball was collected by Johnstone.

Harry Maguire almost scored if not for the face of the West Brom captain Bartley. Who took the full-force of a well hit volley on his face. Got up almost immediately and in the next few minutes sent a header above De Gea’s goal, almost scoring.

Baggies were defending with five and proved quite stubborn in the first half. United was frustrated a lot and went into half-time trying to figure out how to unlock this defence.

Second Half …

The second half started with a controversy. The referee awarded a penalty to West Brom after Bruno Fernandes seemed to have fouled Conor Gallagher. VAR took its time before asking the on-field referee to look at it.

United was denied a penalty claim earlier in the match when Martial seemed to have been fouled inside the box, which VAR judged to be nothing major.

This time it seemed that Fernandes had clipped Gallagher’s shin while he got the ball. The referee took a deep look at the replays on the pitchside VAR monitors and decided to overturn his decision. No penalty!

Next up De Gea made a typical De Gea save (brilliant) with his left foot to deny a fantastic opportunity to Townsend. On the other end of the pitch, Juan Mata’s cross hit Darnell Furlong’s hand and a penalty was awarded to United.

Bruno’s first penalty was saved by Johnstone only to be retaken. He was off the line before Fernandes hit the ball. The second time, Bruno went towards his left and scored. United 1-0 West Brom!

The drama had still not ended. Callum Robinson who came on as a substitute for the Baggies almost scored with a curled shot which had beaten De Gea only to be denied by the woodwork. Johnstone was at it again, saving a good shot by Rashford and another by Harry Maguire from a close range.

Manchester United somehow held onto the late pressure by the West Brom team and survived.

Some Stats:

  • Bruno Fernandes’ opener was United’s first goal in 324 minutes of football at Old Trafford.
  • Manchester United have beaten West Brom in the Premier League at Old Trafford for the first time since November 2015 (2-0).
  • United have won their first home Premier League game of the season, ending a run of six consecutive games without a victory.

What’s Next For Manchester United?

Manchester United’s next game is against Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford in the Champions League on Tuesday, 24 November. They then visit Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday, 29 November.

Author: PM

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