After an agonizing 3-3 draw against Everton, Manchester United hosted West Ham in the FA Cup 5th Round tie. The Red Devils had to wait 97 minutes to get the winning goal in the cup tie. We were travelling away from home for the first time in 4 games. That could be a reason for us to have forgotten our tendency of conceding an early goal away from home. A visit to the Hawthorns almost certainly ensures goals from both sides, doesn’t it?
Manchester United conceded barely in the 2nd minute of the game, although the goal was thought to be illegal by the players. The Red Devils got their customary chase yet again in an away game. It took a moment of magic from Bruno Fernandes to get us on level terms. The West Midlands club seemed to be willing to give their everything in the game and held back Manchester United from getting the winner. Sam Allardyce secured a point against Solskjaer’s Reds as our struggles continue against relegation-threatened clubs,
First Half – Here We Go Again!
The Baggies started on the front foot and instantly went ahead in the game through Mbaye Diagne’s header. Gallagher curled a perfect cross for Diagne who rose above Lindelof to head the ball but covered the Swede’s face in the process. Lindelof and Maguire felt that Pawson should’ve awarded us a foul for Diagne’s contact but the referee didn’t budge. In my opinion, Lindelof should be doing better as a CB and shouldn’t allow Diagne to outmuscle him. Bailly could’ve been a better option here.
Solskjaer on Diagne’s goal:
“You know, when Harry’s goal against Burnley is disallowed, that is more of a foul [Mbaye Diagne’s challenge on Victor Lindelof for the opening goal]. But, as a striker, I don’t like to see any of those goals taken away. But we want some consistency.”
Manchester United controlled possession but West Brom never allowed us to settle. The Baggies’ players had a tremendous work rate and kept breaking the play.
Rashford seemed to be in the mood on the right-hand flank and put a few brilliant crosses across the box, but no one could latch onto any of them. One of these crosses was deflected behind for a corner by Lee Peltier, although Pawson awarded that as a goal-kick as his awful officiating continued.
At the cusp of half time, Bruno Fernandes produced yet another mesmerizing moment. Manchester United did well to work the ball on the left flank towards Luke Shaw. The English LB seems to be in the form of his life as he curled a delicious cross inside the box. Bruno could only volley the ball with his weaker left foot, but oh boy, what a strike it was. The Portuguese playmaker was yet again our saviour, although, he had a relatively quiet game before that.
Second Half – Manchester United Don’t Deserve 3 pts!
Manchester United were awarded a deep free-kick in the 62nd minute. Bruno swung the ball in at the back-post towards Maguire who went down from an Ajayi challenge. The referee took a pause and pointed to the spot. VAR came into play and Pawson was asked to have a look in the on-field camera. Replays showed that Maguire was clearly in an offside position. Somehow, Pawson neither gave an offside call nor did he assume Ajayi’s challenge as a foul.
Martial was replaced by Greenwood in the 66th-minute. The mercurial youngster almost made an instant impact as he forced Johnstone into a save from his feet in the 70th-minute. The ball ricocheted to McTominay at the edge of the box. He chested the ball down and looked to add another goal to his tally. Unfortunately, his shot was cleared off the line by Furlong.
In the 78th-minute, Maguire made an awful error as he allowed Diagne to outmuscle him and go 1v1 with the keeper.
The only reason we got a point from the match has to be David de Gea. He showed exactly why he’s still standing between the sticks. De Gea saved Diagne’s first shot with his feet before brilliantly leaping in the air to punch the ball clear.
Diagne had yet another golden opportunity when Furlong put a brillant ball across the box. But he flicked the ball over the bar.
In the dying stages, Shaw sent another beautiful cross inside the box. Maguire connected with the ball really well and it seemed destined to go into the top corner. But, former Red, Sam Johnstone had other ideas. The ex-academy graduate was on full stretch as he tipped the ball towards the crossbar to deny Manchester United all 3 pts.
Overall, it was a lacklustre performance from Manchester United and we certainly did not deserve to win. In fact, it was West Brom who deserved 3 pts for their performance and should’ve got the win if not for De Gea. Sam Johnstone did pull off a brilliant save at the end of the game but other than that we didn’t really test him, for all the possession we had.
The only positives from the game would be – Shaw getting another assist, Bruno scoring a wondergoal, and De Gea pulling off a brilliant double save to keep us in the match. Manchester United face Real Sociedad this Thursday and we’ll have to be much better than this if we want to win against the Spanish side.