After the heights of the victory in the derby, Manchester United lost 1-0 to West Brom at Old Trafford on Sunday thanks to a goal from Jay Rodriguez in the second half and contributing writer, Nathan Quao, looks at the talking points from the match.
Return to uncertainty
It seems the encounter at the Etihad took everything away from the team when it should have had the opposite effect. When you win against Man City 3-2 and you have the bottom team coming to your patch, you should be bouyed to get a good result but the team looked flat and ponderous.
The linkages between the team’s most creative players were absent and as the game wore on, it was very apparent that the know-how to break down a defence that was set in its ways was just not available.
Passes were either under-hit or over-hit, extra touches ruined good sequences and the crosses did not cause any form of problems for the visitors.
In addition, there was not a lot of invention and attempts from distance. Each player tried really hard to make something happen but the extra bits that open doors was unavailable.
Could the manager have tried more width in Martial and Rashford from the start? Should the winning team from the derby have started?
Questions will arise but the bottom line is that the team failed to deliver.
Dodgy defence from set pieces
When you prepare to face West Brom, you should greatly consider their strengths from the dead-ball situations and at Old Trafford, they have scored a with a fair few.
Thus, it was surprising that Man United’s defence looked haphazard for the Baggies’ goal. Romelu Lukaku had Jay Rodriguez for company but he was attracted to the ball and lost the West Brom for the winning goal.
In the derby, another goal was conceded from a corner and a few others have been given that way.
The manager must quickly address this challenge since it could pose big problems in the final weeks of the season.
There is nothing wrong with forward players helping with defensive work. In fact, they provide extra security and there are moments in football when forwards have saved their teams.
However, Romelu Lukaku’s endeavour and willingness to help in rear-guard duty must be focused so he becomes effective and not a burden.
If he and all other forwards are dropping to help, they must really help out.
The chase for second starts now
Man City have their title now and there are no more meetings between the Manchester clubs so the journey to second place should begin immediately. Losing to West Brom makes the tie at Bournemouth on Wednesday twice as important and the Cherries will not lie down.
Man United have shown frailties in charged atmospheres and they will get one at Bournemouth. The players need to stay focused and show ruthlessness to get the points on the road. They have to understand when Man United visits any ground, it becomes a war. The home side wants to win and they will not hand out any gifts.
After Bournemouth, there will be dates with Arsenal, Brighton and Hove, West Ham and Watford.
These are winnable matches but the imagined victories will only be realised if there is hardwork, dedication and the killer instinct from the players and some good coaching from the gaffer.
The target is achievable. Onward!!!