West Ham 2-2 Manchester United: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

The limp continues. Another game passes and United are still yet to shake off the Madrid hangover.

Beating Stoke seemed to have brushed off some of the cobwebs but West Ham opened them up again. Their physical approach got them plenty of chances and United never really got going.

Diame once again exposed United’s severe lack of genuine physical presence in the middle of the park with Carrick and Rooney unable to stop him dominating the game.

But in reality, four points from consecutive away ties against Stoke and West Ham is a fantastic return. The fact that we have done it without really kicking into third gear is a testament to the quality of the squad.

Aston Villa at home on Monday is a different kettle of fish entirely. We have to win that game to stop even the feint thoughts of complacency creeping back into the mind.

Rooney in central midfield. Rooney won man of the match against Stoke on Sunday and Ferguson decided to keep him in the middle of the park against West Ham on Monday.

But Rooney struggled, a lot. Up against man mountain Diame, he was lost. For West Ham’s opener, Rooney has to take a lot of the blame. He lost the ball on the edge of West Ham’s box and instead of sprinting to get it back, he just jogged and watched as West Ham counter attacked and scored.

And going forward, he almost seemed to get in the way of Kagawa a lot with their styles overlapping at points.

It was a point raised on this week’s Mouthy Reds podcast that Rooney may have played excellently against Stoke but he is yet to showcase his central midfield skills against top class midfield opposition.

And his poor performance against West Ham has certainly made me think whether or not Rooney’s future does lie in central midfield.

Give Kagawa more minutes. Shinji is quickly becoming one of my favourite players at United. He’s had a pretty up and down season but against West Ham, he once again showed why he can become so important to United.

It wasn’t just the fact that he got two assists to his name – one a classy run and square ball to Valencia and the other an unfortunate spank of both posts before the rebound was knocked in by van Persie – it was his whole performance.

Darting runs, light feet and intricate passing. His dynamic style of play brings such a depth to United that our other wingers don’t offer.

As far as first seasons go, he certainly hasn’t had a bad one. Five goals and three assists in 18 appearances, considering his injury troubles in the middle of the campaign, is a sign of what is to come.

In his last year at Dortmund, Kagawa got 17 goals and ten assists in 38 appearances on route to a domestic double. More of the same at United please Shinji.

De Gea has been taking tips from Vidic. No longer is De Gea a shy and unassuming boy between the sticks. He has had his fair share of rough and rumble this season and stood up to the challenge without a problem.

Last night, Carroll did his best to break De Gea’s face with a ridiculous lunge.

No problem for big Dave (as he is now known). He brushed himself off and got on with the game. Fair play lad.

As far as answering your critics goes, De Gea has done it emphatically this season. Prior to the last two games, he kept six clean sheets in seven Premier League appearances and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t named Premier League goalkeeper of the year.

Remember, he is still only 22. We’ve got a real world beater on our hands.

So nearly there. If Manchester City lose to Tottenham on Sunday and United follow up that result with a victory over Aston Villa on Monday, the title will be sealed.

It is almost certainly now a case of when rather than if in regards to United clinching title number 20 but uncharacteristically, we have fallen short of our own expectations in the run-in.

This is normally the strongest part of our season, a time where we normally turn the screw, but we have fallen into a lull since Madrid that we can’t seem to get out of.

And it is a shame because the football we have played this season has been breathtaking in the Premier League at times. Think back to the games away to City, Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool – tough games and tough wins.

Hopefully the team can turn it round a little bit and end the season with a flourish. It is the least they deserve.

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12 comments

Viny Ooko 04/19/2013 - 13:14

Ferguson must trust the trio of Nani, Anderson and Cleverley,as well as the young Nick Powell.Otherwise he is stiffling creativity and the class that the afformentioned players bring to the table

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Philtheiron 04/18/2013 - 23:43

Well,well! Manc’s don’t turn up! Play poorly! Are totally outclassed and have o rely on an offside goal to knick a point! But what are we talking Out after the game? How West Ham played them off the pitch? How WHU outclassed them? Or how WHU scored a goal of pure class/genius ? No we have the same old shite about over physical, long ball, one dimensional blah,blah,blah! How keeper was “assaulted”but the biggest thug on the pitch was vidic! As proven by his blatant push on Carroll before he set of on his run and crashed into de gea! Funniest moment was “hardman” vidic crying to teacher that the boy he had been trying to bully all game had just hit him back! Quality! Man U have been poor far to many times this year but as they proved again at Upton Park, even when not at their best they can still ground out results! This is why they will win the league by a country mile despite it not being a vintage team!

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Jason.F 04/19/2013 - 02:11

Dont ya wish your team was like UNITED…dont ya!

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Philtheiron 04/19/2013 - 16:10

Pmsl! The answer is NO! Have to respect Ol strawberry nose! (The best there has been) and the teams he keeps building! (Most managers only get to build one but the man keeps churning them out long with the success! And that is the mark of true greatness!). But as to whether I could support them well that’s another story! West Ham till I die! But that doesn’t stop me from having a view on the game and having the greatest respect for fergie! And from making good points! COYI!

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Bill 04/18/2013 - 23:13

Another thing, Jones is NOT a midfielder.. You could see with his movement, his touch in tight space. Personally i believe we have capable midfielders, the only setback is Fergie.. He constantly plays the likes of Giggs and Jones instead of Cleverley, Anderson and Maybe Powell, remember how we lost Pogba???

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patrick boyle 04/18/2013 - 22:06

Have to say nice video of carrol going in to the keeper personally i think he should have gone in with the nut LOL .but I would have liked to have seen the off side goal that was given to show you should have lost 2-1.

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Jason.F 04/19/2013 - 02:06

Was’nt offside as the ball from Kagawa’s shot clearly takes a deflection off Collins…any team would take the goal regardless…so really a lame argument init!!

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Gerald_Ozil 04/18/2013 - 21:43

Not only giving kagawa more playing time but playing him as an attacking midfielder and i bet you he’s done with what you want.

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Madam ear 04/18/2013 - 21:35

You obviously don’t play football! Otherwise you would have seen Vidics’ 2 handed shove on Carroll just as he started his leap.still mancs are blind when it comes to football.a bit ranting old strawberry nose.please try and look at the replay before u comment?

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goblin 04/20/2013 - 07:34

You obviously dont know science! Otherwise how did a 9 foot lump of meat got knocked onto De Gea and with so much force by a gentle nudge? And why oh why didnt he complain because if really pushed it should be a penalty. Please try and be logical before you comment?

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Philtheiron 04/20/2013 - 12:37

Science has got nothing to do with it!?! The point is fergie was crying about a red card when it was his own players fault the incident happened in the first place!( although there is no denying Big Andy took full advantage of it!). If Carroll’s was a red what colour for vidic?( his actions could have caused serious injury). Andy and West Ham didn’t cry about the push/ penalty because firstly you are never going to get pens for sly pushes like that! And secondly, we leave the crying and telling tales to teacher to players like vidic( witness his pathetic moaning about elbows in the second half). Vidic likes to dish it out but clearly can’t take it! He should have a bit of dignity, and watch and learn from the class act which is Rio! He like the rest of the defence got a roasting and badly roughed up all night!( he was skinned by Jarvis for first goal) but did you hear him moan? Was he crying about elbows and strong challenges? NO! He kept his own council! Now that’s class! It wouldn’t hurt you once in a while to realise that you don’t have a god given right to win football matches and when you are very lucky in games you can stand up and say it. It used to be the difference between you”s and your big headed, mouthy, arrogant neighbours along the lancs road when they were top of the world! It was also one of the main reasons they were so despised too!

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Quis 04/21/2013 - 23:22

And then there are people like you…

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