A passive Manchester United side failed to break down the low block of West Bromwich Albion and Sam Allardyce’s relegation-threatened side held the Reds to a 1-1 draw.
Captain Harry Maguire insisted post-match that the Reds created enough chances to win the game. Many would disagree, although his late header did force a stunning save from Sam Johnstone.
In a game where good moments were rare, United In Focus have picked two players who stood out for their quality and two who disappointed.
Manchester United best players against West Brom
Luke Shaw has five assists in the Premier League this season and four of them have come in the last three games. Shaw is being rewarded for months of consistent performances in which his deliveries have improved week-on-week.
He had the second-most touches on the pitch on Sunday, evidence of how reliant United are on their left-wing but also of how important Shaw is to the Reds creating chances. One of the chances he created saw Bruno Fernandes volley home magnificently. Other crosses were attacked too passively by Shaw’s teammates. For him, it was a decent, if not great, display. He was certainly better than the rest.
There were bad moments to Maguire’s display. He has a habit to dive in early on in a counter-attack and leave his teammates isolated. That happened again. He also goes down under pressure in hope of winning a foul. Sometimes it doesn’t work. That happened again. He also often doesn’t pass quick enough and that happened again.
That all being said, he provided some drive from deep for United. When Solskjaer’s side are struggling for tempo and for incision, Maguire steps forward. It’s a positive trait. He needs to play it quicker when he does so to break down a low block, but he’s a good ball carrier. More of that, but at quicker speeds, and United will benefit greatly. He also won United a penalty only for it to be controversially ruled out and had a fantastic header saved by an even better save late on.
Manchester United’s most disappointing players vs West Brom
Martial was utterly ineffective. His game was summed up by a two-minute spell just before the hour-mark in which he conceded two fouls and gave away possession before being skipped past as West Brom delivered a cross. Lacking energy and intensity to his game has always been a criticism of Martial. On Sunday it was blatant, in his defence and attack. Quality, too, was missing, in both departments again. He offered little in attack and was a completely passive defensive presence. Rashford getting put out onto the right-wing to accommodate for Martial will have to end soon if this continues.
Like Martial, Cavani was basically an absentee at the Hawthorns. He continued to make those near-post runs which drag defenders apart in the box but he struggled to find space against the low block from West Brom.
The Uruguayan had fewer touches than any other starting player on the pitch, including those from West Brom. He swiped at chances and was involved too little to do anything of note. A quiet and disappointing game for the now 34-year-old.
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