Manchester United were narrowly edged out by a resilient and resolute West Brom side in what served to be Uniteds third straight loss in a row, a feat they last managed in 2001. The solitary goal came courtesy of a deflected Brunt free kick that hit Jonas Olsson. This loss comes yet again in similar circumstances witnessed at Chelsea and Everton, where United dominated the ball for majority of the game without any real purpose or threat.
Robin Van Persie also missed a penalty in his first start since his injury after Sadio Berahino was deemed to have handled the ball in the 18 yard box. He also got other half chances but wasn’t able to make anything of it.
The overall performance over the last 3 weeks can be summarized in one statement: “plenty of possession but very little penetration”. We basically saw a United side that spent a greater part of the game passing the ball sideways rather than moving it forward and even when they did, they seemed to have no idea what to do with it.
There is a clear lack of incisive transition between the defence and midfield, and as I rightly stated in my previous post, it’s as a result of the absence of one Michael Carrick. Carrick is that bridge United is lacking and the longer he stays out, the more United will suffer in the middle of the park.
The impact of this loss is massive as Liverpool have now cut the gap in the race for fourth spot to a mere 4 points. Arsenal and City now have a chance to distance themselves from the Red Devils if they manage to capitalize on their games at hand. It’s quite embarrassing actually, to watch united slip this way. To put into perspective how bad this is, I’ll have you know that Tom Cleverley has scored more goals in his last 2 games than the entire United side in the past 3 weeks. Yes, it’s that terrible. United need to get back to winning ways ASAP, or they risk missing out on Champions League football for the second season in a row. Will they manage to do it? Only time will tell. United face Crystal Palace away, followed by Arsenal at home and wind up the season with a visit to the KC stadium against Hull City. What we make of those last 3 games determines what happens during the summer.
All I know for a fact now is… “No Carrick, no party”.
See you on the pitch!