Saturday, 5 December 2015

Goal-Shy United Held By Hammers

Manchester United v West Ham United

Manchester United 0 West Ham United 0

Man United's bubble was burst by the Hammers. United were dealt a hammer blow by West Ham as they were held to a draw at Old Trafford.

This was the sixth goalless draw in a season that is rapidly raising concerns about United's ability to score goals.

With two more players admitted to the Carrington casualty department van Gaal had to reshuffle his pack once again. Rooney and Rojo joined the ever growing list of injured players this week, which makes the upcoming transfer window all the more crucial for the strengthening of the squad.

United aimed to protect their unbeaten home record in the league this season against a West Ham side with a proven pedigree away from home, having already collected the scalps of Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea. Quite clearly this was in no way going to be a pushover for the Red Devils.

The United starting XI wasn't much of a surprise given the players available to the manager: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, McNair, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Fellaini, Mata, Lingard and Martial.

McNair kept his place at the back and birthday boy Martial was given the main strikers role with Fellaini chosen ahead of Memphis to assist in the attack. So the home side would start with the much talked about plan B experiment devoid of any out and out wingers.

Varela became the latest player to be called up to the first-team squad and the defender was to start from the bench.

The absence of Rooney and with Carrick substitute, Smalling was was handed another opportunity to impress as the captain of the side.

The home side got the match underway at a windy Old Trafford and immediately went on the attack with Lingard pressing hard and both Darmian and Fellaini trying their luck with long-range effort/s.

Darmian delivered a perfect cross which Fellaini met at the far post with a firm header that was only just deflected over the bar, but despite his protests, no corner was given. This was followed by a dreadful mistake by Blind as he carelessly gave the ball away as he came out of defence. The mistake gifted Moses a one on one chance with De Gea which the Spaniard managed to block superbly. A case of King David denying Moses after he had parted the red defence.

On the quarter hour mark, the ball fell to Martial on the edge of the six-yard area and his turn and shot looked goal bound until a defender managed to get a leg in the way and divert it for a corner.

Darmian and McNair looked the most impressive in the opening exchanges as their foraging runs down the wings and crosses caused problems for the away defence.

There was a scare at De Gea's near post as a low cross was misjudged by the keeper and it hit his body then rebounded off another player onto the post and to safety then West Ham hit the post again following a corner. These were clear signs that United had to be on their toes in defence and take the chances at the other end when they came up.

Fellaini was by far the busiest player for United popping up here, there and everywhere but on thirty minutes he was lucky to escape a booking for a stamp on an opposing player's ankle. That is one side of his game that frustrates the most the needless free kicks he gives away due to his, at times, reckless style of play.

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Manchester United Views is a Manchester United blog written by Miles Dunton, with lost of blog posts all about Manchester United. Check out his full blog at http://milesduntonmufc.blogspot.co.uk/.

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