A depleted United team that saw Rashford himself go off injured succumbed to a listless 2-0 defeat in London vs West Ham United. A game devoid of quality, with any glimpses of it mostly coming from the hosts, as Yarmolenko and Cresswell scored.
The only time United fans have been able to see their team score more than once in a game so far this season came in the 4-0 rout over Chelsea. It’s an issue that is not down to just the manager or the players but a combination of the both. The players are not good, on the whole, to open teams up, whether it be with passes or dribbles. Today, Pereira and McTominay showed glimpses of both, respectively, but neither of the required quantity and quality expected as a Man Utd player. Much of the team’s creative personnel reliance falls on the shoulders of Pogba and Martial, both out today. Yet, other teams have shown that either with their chief creative forces out, it lessens rather than the grounding halt that occurs at United. That brings in the manager and systemic issue that has been clear pretty much since his arrival. The attacking structure provides nothing for the players to fall back upon. Even with able deputies in those positions, Ole will have to do more to get the best out of the team offensively
Wan Bissaka hung out
For a team lacking in ideas on the attack, at the Olympic stadium today, one avenue was actually opened up a few times in the second half. Unfortunately, it was down the right hand side which Wan Bissaka has to literally man by himself. Defensively, that is more than fine. Seldom have I seen a full back comfortably win the amount of ground duels and 1v1s that he does. It’s bordering on insanity what he is able to produce on a weekly basis in that aspect. He’s found incredibly wanting going forward, a weakness every saw from his time at Palace. His passing is competent enough to tick possession over but not enough to force opponents out of shape. His crosses range from poor to great, from his several blocked floored crosses in the second half to his amazingly whipped ball that Diop had to nod away from Rashford in the first. It’s unfair on him in the fact he gets no support from a wide player, a player who usually likes to come inside, and just the offensive structure in general. He needs to sharpen up regardless and that will come but the lopsided nature in which United attack only glares a stronger, unnecessary, light on him.
Cowardice bares no fruit
A stat today showed that United are only second to Norwich when it comes to mins for players under the age of 21 this season. Commendable stat, especially at a club as big as ours but context is king. When the opportunity has been there to give players proper mins over players who we already know aren’t good enough, it hasn’t happened enough. Greenwood, ill today, Tuanzebe and Gomes should feel especially aggrieved for everyone knows what their older counterparts will offer in those same positions so why their potential to bring something different has been overlooked in the name of experience is strange to say the least. Perhaps the defeat vs West Ham will teach the manager now is the time to risk
Fred and Gomes’s introduction brought something a bit different when they entered the fray. Not enough to bring about a better performance on the whole but at least something to show that the current selection cannot continue
Lindelof’s ball playing ability isn’t even good enough anymore to hide the fact that he’s more suited to be a fourth choice centre back at United if the required quality is there. In fact, a fit Bailly and Tuanzebe should probably relegate him to that position anyway
A poor performance backed up with a poor result, but it was just more of the same and a turn doesn’t look anywhere near the horizon