West Brom vs Manchester United Summary
A stale and contentious match at the Hawthorns as Manchester United dropped points again against West Brom. A 90 second strike from Diagne opened the scoring. United huffed and puffed but finally opened their account witha super hit from Bruno Fernandes however could only score one against a side that tend to concede plenty. United could not shift the ball quickly enough and struggled to get their front three in the game.
West Brom defended well and aimed to counter against United. Something that could have led to a win had Diagne taken his three chances. VAR official Jon Moss and the referee, Craig Pawson were in the spotlight throughout the game as decisions went against United multiple times. Diagne’s goal easily could have been overruled as a foul as his hands were all over Lindelof’s face and clearly impeding him. United had a 4 on 2 in the last kick of the first half but the referee decided to blow the whistle with six seconds extra played. Finally, United had a penalty given by Pawson however was deemed a clear and obvious error that Jon Moss overruled.
These decisions that went against United changed the game. United usually can recover fully from the backfoot but the way West Brom play makes that difficult. The counter attack at the end of the first half could have changed the whole second half and the penalty would have almost guaranteed the win.
What Next for United?
Undeniably, United did not play well enough to win but had these decisions gone in their favour, they easily could have run away with the game as seen by the likes of Arsenal, Leeds and many others that have swept this team aside. Right now it’s a tough result to take. Hopefully Everton can take points off City midweek and United make a positive recovery against Sociedad in the Europa League as the fixture list gets tough for United. With Newcastle next, Chelsea and City to come, United’s run-in gets very tough. They have to bounce back and start winning games soon or it could be a very sharp drop with competition for the Top Four heating up and City looking to extend the gap to 10 points.
West Brom vs Manchester United Player Ratings
Sam Johnstone 8/10
Made two exceptional saves to deny Greenwood and Maguire. Would have a higher rating if he didn’t kick the ball out or to United players every time he got it and put pressure on his own team.
Lee Peltier 6/10
Struggled with Shaw for the whole first half and came off at half time. Not the most ideal debut but I am sure he has the experience and know-how to help West Brom defensively.
Semi Ajayi 8/10
Dominant and really sharp. Really good game as he kept Cavani quiet. Could have given away a penalty but arguably lucky to get away with it.
Kyle Bartley 8/10
A good game from Bartley. Gave a couple of needless fouls away but solid game.
Conor Townsend 6.5/10
Struggled at points but mostly kept Rashford at bay when he was on the right. Did have trouble when Greenwood’s fresh legs came on and did give him too much space.
Okay Yokuslu 8/10
Good debut. Clearly got riled up in the second half and came off but aggressive, progressive and smart from Yokuslu. West Brom have replaced Claudio Yacob!
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 6/10
Offered good energy and solid defensive positioning. In the attacking department, he fell short. Had an easy cross for Diagne but messed it up and really couldn’t break past Fred and McTominay.
Conor Gallagher 8.5/10
Certainly a good prospect and can compete in the Premier League! A super cross to Diagne and took up good positions. Chelsea have one for the future but could easily come into the frame next season.
Robert Snodgrass 6/10
Decent defensively but could not get into the game in attack.
Matheus Pereira 5/10
Weak game on the left. You would expect him to pick up good positions but he failed to and his set pieces were very poor.
Mbaye Diagne 8/10
Strong performance. Easily his goal could have been disallowed but Big Sam would want his striker to be as aggressive as that. Could have had a hattrick but missed two big chances.
Darnell Furlong 7/10
Solid but did have problems with the Rashford-Shaw combination. Dealt with it well at times but had no real help from his winger.
Jake Livermore 8/10
Defended well and aggressive in his play. There’s a reason Sam loves him and it’s for this kind of performance.
Matt Phillips N/A
Can’t remeber what he did.
Sam Allardyce 7.5/10
Set up a counter attacking side that defends with everyone behind the ball. Exactly what you’d expect! Had Diagne target Lindelof as you’d expect and got the goal very early. Brought on players to keep doing that and it worked. Could have won the game too.
David de Gea 8/10
A stunning double save to stop Diagne. Kept United in the game.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7/10
Solid defensively but could not find much space in attack. Clearly has better chemistry with Greenwood.
Victor Lindelof 5/10
Should do better and the post match interviews suggest he was the first to say that. However he was fouled in my opinion and the goal should never stand. He did struggle to bounce back and this was a game I was nervous for him to play in.
Harry Maguire 8.5/10
Basically played as a left winger. Drove into the box multiple times and still managed to dominate in the air. Slotted the ball to Shaw for the equaliser and easily could have won a penalty. Some will tell you he isn’t good enough for this team but without him we struggle.
Luke Shaw 8.5/10
Becoming one of the most consistent players in this team. Another assist and darting runs during the game. Another good match.
Scott McTominay 7/10
Made good runs but never really found. Passing was decent but stifled to a degree.
Again, he was another one I hoped hadn’t played in this match. This would have been a game in which Pogba and Matic would play to combat the defensive block. Fred can’t pass as incisively or quickly as either of Matic or Pogba and it showed in this match. Do not get me wrong, he is excellent for this team and plays a part but this is not one of them.
Bruno Fernandes 8/10
Wonderful finish and kept pushing for goals as per usual!
Marcus Rashford 4/10
Struggled on the right but had one big chance to score. He failed to take it. Cannot be sacrificed on the right hand side, he HAS to play on the left where he is so much more dangerous.
Anthony Martial 4/10
I do feel for Martial. He was told he would be a striker and changed his physique to be better at that role, for which he really is excellent. It does mean he struggles more on the wing and he cannot settle in one position. Playing him back into form on the wing may come at a cost. I think he should start in the cup games upfront for now and rotate with Cavani. I don’t doubt he will bounce back to his best. He should not be on the wing, it does not help him or the team.
Edinson Cavani 4/10
Struggled in this game as he made so many near post runs but the crosses always hit the middle/back post. Never in synch with the team and kept quiet by Bartley and Ajayi. A rare poor performance.
Mason Greenwood 7/10
Came on and made a clear impact with his driving runs and almost scored with his first shot. Deserves his contract today.
Donny van de Beek 6.5/10
Made good runs and played sharp passing but often riskless passes. Something not needed when chasing a game. I hope he starts midweek and certainly needs some game time.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 5/10
I was disappointed with the lineup Ole put out if I’m being honest. Lindelof will always struggle against big strikers and that’s exactly how United conceded their goal. Bailly had to start for me, same for Greenwood and same for Van de Beek. It put United on the backfoot and meant they had to fight more for the points as they struggled to break West Brom down. He got it wrong today but the fact is that the players didn’t create enough and when they did, they didn’t get into the right spaces to take the chances. He wasn’t helped by the decisions by Craig Pawson and Jon Moss either but regardless he made some off-decisions. I will give the benefit of the doubt with Bailly that he may not have been fully fit but the others should have been in.