Injury is not the reason Man United lost

Manchester United stumbled again – this time, tumbling. They lost 0-2 to West Ham United in the Premier League continued on Sunday (09/22), due to goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell.

Most of the reasonable-minded Man United supporters are ready to be disappointed since the match hasn’t started yet. Because, the last few seasons have taught not to overly expect this team.

The biggest disappointment did not come from the end result, but the way Man United played. 

They are not fanged, lack aggressiveness and creativity.

Daniel James, Juan Mata, and Andreas Pereira did not record a single key pass – only two that entered the West Ham penalty box – during the first half. In total, each only records one key operand.

Marcus Rashford only touched the ball four times in the West Ham penalty box, before being replaced by Jesse Lingard in the 61st minute due to injury. When the match ended, Man United was only able to pass the ball 75 times in the final third of the opponent’s defense.

West Ham’s own game is actually nothing special. They had difficulty finding a gap in the defense line of Man United, who must thank Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

The former Crystal Palace player is like a diamond in the middle of mud. He repeatedly broke West Ham’s attacks, recording three successes, three interceptions, four strokes, and four ball recoveries .

The Hammers know that Bissaka is too difficult to penetrate. So, they focused more attacks on the left side of Man United’s defense which was filled by Ashley Young (255 passes, compared to 215 passes to the right).

Bissaka was seen exchanging positions with Young on several occasions. However, when the first name returned to the right in the 43rd minute, West Ham was able to capitalize.

Felipe Anderson was keen to see the movement of Yarmolenko, who was able to find space in the heart of Man United’s defense by widening to the right and crossing the offside limit, leaving him free from guard.

Yarmolenko did not waste the breakthrough pass from Anderson, who has been involved in 15 West Ham goals since the start of the 2018/19 season (nine goals and six assists, the most in the team). With just one touch, he outwitted Harry Maguire and fired a flat kick into the bottom left corner of David De Gea’s goal. West Ham are superior, 1-0.

Actually, the anticipation of The Red Devils with a low block system or low line of defense is not wrong, it’s just that – unfortunately the most crucial – failed to run it. 

They don’t exert pressure. Too passively closed the opponent’s space and operands, especially the double pivot pair Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay. Both of them only watched West Ham players move the ball in the process of the first goal.

On the other hand, manager Manuel Pellegrini’s squad has a solid defense quartet. They did not even hesitate to commit violations if needed – Angelo Ogbonna got a yellow card for deliberately dropping Pereira so Man United failed to build attacks.

Declan Rice’s performance also deserves a thumbs up. When Rashford successfully passed Issa Diop’s guard, he was able to read the situation correctly and immediately went down to guard the empty space.

The Chelsea academy assisted player recorded 100% successful passes throughout the first half (97% when the game ended). 

He is also capable of performing five recoveries of ball .

With a one-goal advantage, West Ham know they only need to deepen and close the defense line, while waiting for Man United to make a mistake in the second half. Although Man United almost equalized if it wasn’t for Mata failing to maximize a golden opportunity and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a brilliant save over Maguire’s kick, this tactic is certainly effective at seeing the final results of the match.

Cresswell’s free kick goal began with the success of the defense read Pereira pass to James. Fabianski then let go of the far pass which ended at De Gea’s feet.

The Spanish goalkeeper’s pass failed to be mastered well by Bissaka, so that it could be captured by Pablo Fornals. The ball is given to Mark Noble who is then violated by Young.

Over this victory, West Ham continued their positive trend when entertaining Man United at home. They recorded three wins and only one defeat in the last five meetings. The Pellegrini became the first manager to be able to defeat four different Man United managers.

As for Ole Gunnar Solksjær, the situation clearly became more complicated. 

Since the fantastic results against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes (7 March 2019), they have not been able to win nine away games in all competitions (three draws and six defeats). As if, there is something left in Paris.

This is compounded by the fact that De Gea failed to keep his goal of being broken in the last 11 away games. If there are no drastic and significant changes, it is not impossible they will equal the worst record (14 consecutive away games) that occurred in April-December 2002.

It’s okay if you want to dodge that the absence of Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba became an important factor in the defeat at the London Stadium. Both of them are indeed important players.

Martial, who had contributed two goals and one assist, promised agility. His ability to exchange positions with Rashfod also adds a little creativity to the attack patterns in the opponent’s penalty box. Meanwhile, Pogba recorded 12 key operands – the most in the Man United squad – two of which bear fruit.

However, it seems that Man United’s defeat to West Ham has been ‘prepared’ since the season has not yet rolled. They failed to find a replacement for Romelu Lukaku – and Alexis Sanchez – in attack.

The situation forced Solksjær to lower Rashford as a starter in seven matches in all successive competitions. He looked weak throughout the game vs West Ham. When Mason Greenwood, which was supposed to be a coating, was also not available, we both knew the outcome: Lingard was the center attacker!

Ander Herrera’s departure was also not properly addressed. In fact, Matic’s performance continues to decline and Fred has never met expectations since being recruited in the 2018 season.

As a club that has established itself as one of the biggest in the world, Man United must be better than this.

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