1. Following the defeat against City, United had five easier games on the horizon that were deemed to be ‘must win’. We needed to to start closing the gap following a ridiculously difficult start to the season. To lose 2-1 at home to West Brom is a fairly dire result at any time, but particularly on the back of us dropping so many points already. David Moyes doesn’t know what his strongest first XI is yet so is chopping and changing every week, so that is going to have some impact on our performances, but there’s no explaining away yesterday’s result. Whatever the excuse, we should have done better, and it really is terrible for Moyes.
2. Moyes might have now worked out that Ashley Young isn’t good enough to start and hopefully yesterday will have been Anderson’s last appearance for a while. “Anderson! Do something!” the moany old man who sits behind me shouted in to the second half. Whilst I rarely agree with him, he was bang on with these instructions, with Anderson just floating through the game. He wasn’t dreadful in the sense that he was always doing the wrong thing, but he just didn’t contribute much, if anything, positive. We all know we’re not spoilt when it comes to central midfielders, but surely any of our options are better than him.
3. Whilst I’ve seen some people claim that United were dreadful and West Brom were superb, I thought that United generally had the game under control. When we went in 0-0 at half-time, I was just waiting for when our goals would come. They were organised defensively but they hadn’t looked to pose much threat on our goal. But in a 15 minute period United lost the plot and threw the game away. Whilst our midfield options are weak, our defensive options are incredibly strong, but Moyes didn’t play anything like our strongest back 4. When you compare Rio’s performance against City with Smalling’s against Liverpool, it’s incredible that the former got the nod for West Brom. Alexander Buttner has decent ability going forward and skilful feet, but he shouldn’t be seen as anything more than back-up/a cup option. Phil Jones didn’t cover himself in glory at right back either, looking far too casual and sloppy in possession and when challenging for the ball.
4. Positives are few and far between at the moment, but Wayne Rooney certainly deserves credit for getting on the scoresheet again. Only Giroud (6) and Ramsey (6) have more goals/assists to their name than Rooney (5) this season and he has featured less than both of them. He’s clearly been working hard on his freekick practice on the training ground this summer too.
5. The best player on the pitch, for me, was Nani. Fans are in the habit of giving him a hard time that the moment he makes any mistake he is ripped apart for it. In reality, for most of the game, he was the only player that really looked capable of making things happen. He ran at the opposition, he came inside, he kept possession when the odds were against him, he set people up for goals, he put in some decent crosses, and he got in the position to shoot a few times for himself. He seems to thrive on the right wing and should be in our starting XI for the foreseeable future.
6. Another shining light today was Adnan Januzaj who just looks the business. The sooner we wrap up his contract extension the better. He has made the transition to the Premier League from the Reserves with ease and I’d love to see him playing more regularly. He’s exciting to watch. He can beat his man for pace or with a dip of his shoulder, he has incredibly fast feet, and he is just so eager to attack. He replaced Shinji Kagawa who, when shifted out on to the left, didn’t leave much of an impression on the game.
7. The season before last United lost to City away, Liverpool away and Blackburn Rovers (who were relegated) at home with Sir Alex Ferguson as manager. This may be our worst start to a season since 1989 but then it’s also the toughest set of fixtures we’ve had in the opening few weeks of a season too. It’s not looking great for us right now and I really do think it was so important that we got a result against West Brom, but we’ve got 32 games left to play yet and when you’re at a point of the season when Southampton are a top 4 club, you know there’s plenty of room for change. But Moyes needs to decide on his best XI and he needs to do it quickly. Hint: it doesn’t include Anderson.
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