Manchester United 1-2 West Brom: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

Sloppy. Manchester United started confidently in the first few minutes and immediately took the game to West Brom but our pressure petered out quite quickly.

United’s best chance of the half fell to Anderson who crashed a header off the crossbar after a brilliant counter-attack led by Shinji Kagawa but there wasn’t much cutting edge from United going forward.

The second half saw West Brom take the lead after some poor defending let Amalfitano run straight at De Gea before finishing deftly, but it didn’t take United long to respond through a Wayne Rooney free-kick.

However, instead of building on that United were sloppy in defence and West Brom capitalised with another goal and couldn’t get back into the game after.

West Brom deserved the win.

United have lost their aura. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, if United were 2-1 down at Old Trafford with 20 minutes to go you wouldn’t panic. You could never write Ferguson’s United off but we didn’t see that today.

Moyes’ side didn’t do enough. With 20 minutes to go, United should have piled forward and every opportunity and really put the pressure on a West Brom side that were clearly tiring towards the end of the game.

Instead, we looked disjointed under the pressure and failed to put West Brom to the sword. They walked away with three points from Old Trafford that gives United their worst start in the league since 1989/90. Tough times are ahead.

Sorry Rio. Against Manchester City last week, Ferdinand struggled and today he had a nightmare.

United’s defending was all over the place but Ferdinand in particular looked like he didn’t know where he was. Nutmegged for both of West Brom’s goals, Ferdinand really looked out of sorts. His legs weren’t there and he is in desperate need of a rest.

Moyes chose to rest Nemanja Vidic ahead of our game against Shakhtar Donetsk but Ferdinand didn’t turn up at all. Given how impressive he had been up until this week, it is a real surprise to see the usually reliable Rio struggle so much but he has to take some of the blame.

Creativity from open play. United haven’t scored from open play in the league since Swansea in the first game of the season.

For all of our attacking endeavour, United seem to be missing something. Whether it is Moyes’ tactics, personnel or the players themselves, there is something missing in the final third for United.

Hernandez, who played so well against Liverpool in midweek, failed to really pose a threat and United’s positive forward play almost exclusively came through Nani but nobody could get on the end of his crosses.

United have shown against Swansea and Bayer Leverkusen that we are more than capable of scoring goals so it is strange that they haven’t replicated that form in the league past the first day of the season.

The importance of Ferguson’s departure is becoming clearer. When Ferguson passed the torch to Moyes, every United fan felt like empty and feared what would happen next for United. Understandably so. We hadn’t known anything else for nearly three decades.

But what the performance against West Brom has shown is that the repercussions of Ferguson’s retirement are wider than anybody first imagined. United are no longer the infallible beast we once were. Losing Ferguson has thrown United to the lions and teams now play us knowing they can get a result.

Moyes admitted last week that there would be more bumps and bruises along the way in his maiden year at Old Trafford. Few would have expected he meant this weekend.

Image: Twitter/FootballFunnys

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