Sports

Man Utd’s title chances blown apart as failings laid bare in latest setback

Incredibly, Manchester United were top of the table just 19 days ago.

Now, after yet another huge setback at lowly West Brom, United’s title challenge looks all but over. They are seven points behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more.

Sadly for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his team’s ability to make fundamental mistakes together with basic defensive errors shows why they are still some way from being able to sustain a title challenge until the end.

They have now taken just ten points from their last seven matches and three of those have been against teams in the bottom three.

United lost at home to Sheffield United, were held at the Hawthorns but did at least win at Fulham. Even in the most unpredictable of seasons, that sort of form will never be good enough to win the title. Not with City in this mood.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched his side’s title chances diminish at the Hawthorns

Even Bruno Fernandes scoring another absolute peach of a goal was not enough because their remarkable run of away results was always going to run out some time.

West Brom went ahead inside two minutes when Mbaye Diagne clambered all over Victor Lindelof to head home but the United centre half was still not very convincing and their defence continues to be the Achilles heel.

Why on earth Lindelof gets picked ahead of Eric Bailly is anyone’s guess when the latter has been fit and available for a while and was back on the bench.

But that does not normally worry United as in each of their previous seven away games in the Premier League, when they have gone behind, they have come back to win.

Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top.

And you can keep track of their journey by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!

With their title Premier League title challenge in full flow, it remains to be seen if United can knock their rivals off their perch.

From the latest news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.

Signing up is simple. Put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.

However, United could easily have conceded as Diagne had two great late gift-wrapped chances even before Harry Maguire saw a last gasp header brilliantly kept out by West Brom’s former United keeper Sam Johnstone.

United can point to hard luck stories over the first goal or Maguire’s late effort, but that does not tell the whole story of Solskjaer’s players’ failings.

United still need strengthening, particularly in defence. Every time a ball is swung into the box, it creates panic. Just like it did on West Brom’s opener.

Conor Gallagher put over the cross, Lindelof just did not deal with the danger and, while Diagne climbed over him, the West Brom striker had to make a challenge and ended up heading past David de Gea. United would do well to improve their defending rather than complain.

Mbaye Diagne celebrates after scoring the first goal for West Brom
Mbaye Diagne celebrates after scoring the first goal for West Brom

United applied plenty of pressure but it was not until the 45th minute when they levelled. Luke Shaw’s lovely cross from the left found Fernandes and he spectacularly hooked a wonderful shot into the top corner.

It was world class. It is just incredible to think Fernandes has only been at Old Trafford for 13 months and hard to think of many other individual players who have had such a transformative effect on such a big club. Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool, maybe.

But not even Fernandes can win them every game. There was controversy in the 64th minute. Referee Craig Pawson awarded a penalty after Semi Ajayi appeared to pull back Maguire. Pawson then changed his mind after checking the VAR screen.

But the late drama was still to come. Mason Greenwood was denied by Johnstone and Scott McTominay had a shot cleared off the line by Darnell Furlong.

Where will Man Utd finish in the table this season? Have your say below.

Bruno Fernandes volleyed home an equaliser but United had to settle for a point
Bruno Fernandes volleyed home an equaliser but United had to settle for a point

Then a surreal moment. Diagne bundled Maguire off the ball, went clean through but his shot was saved by de Gea who recovered in time to push the rebound to safety. Furlong’s low cross then picked out Diagne in the box but the West Brom striker scooped the ball over the bar.

There was still more to come. Deep into what used to be known as Fergie time, the 95th minute, Shaw put over a cross, Maguire headed towards goal only for Johnstone to pull off a sensational save by pushing the ball onto the post.

And with that, went any chance of victory and surely United’s last hope of the title.




Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button