Monday, 7 December 2015

Four Things We Learned From Manchester United’s 0-0 Draw With West Ham

Manchester United dropped yet more crucial points at the weekend as Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United earned a deserved draw from their trip to Old Trafford.

A win would have put Louis van Gaal’s side within one point of Leicester City at the of the table but United were left to rue a number of chances they failed to convert in the second-half.
Anthony Martial needs more service from his teammates (Picture: Getty Images)
Anthony Martial needs more service from his teammates (Picture: Getty Images)
However, West Ham created equally as many chances in the first and, in truth, as much as it will be frustrating to United supporters, a draw was probably the perfectly fair result.

Here’s four things we learned from another stuttering United display:

1) Anthony Martial is being short-changed by lack of service

Martial, alongside perhaps Chris Smalling, is quite comfortably United’s most important outfield player. The Frenchman worked hard and created a number of chances for himself and others with a combination of powerful forward runs and innovative flicked passes.

However, Martial is being woefully under-supported by his teammates and this is something Van Gaal needs to address.

Martial needs some help, some responsibility taken off his shoulders and more creativity around him.

The success Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are having this season is mainly down to the excellence of the likes of Christian Eriksen and Riyad Mahrez creating chances for them.

Martial is currently having to make chances for himself.

2) Jesse Lingard needs to work on his finishing

Lingard has been one of United’s brightest players over recent weeks but there is a glaring weakness in his game – his finishing. Lingard seems to panic in front of goal and showed this against West Ham when he sent a half-volley skewing wide of Adrian’s near-post from a good position.

Lingard needs a longer run in the first-team to develop a clinical nature in front of goal. He may not have it in him, but he at the very least deserves the chance to find out.

Louis van Gaal needs to make some changes (Picture: Getty Images)
Louis van Gaal needs to make some changes (Picture: Getty Images)
3) Louis van Gaal needs to adapt

The Dutchman has been very clear that he doesn’t feel his style is the problem at United. Saturday’s game showed he may have a point as his side created four clear chances in the second-half and took none of them.

However, it cannot be ignored that United’s cautious style is costing the team points.

United rarely take the initiative in matches, there may be a level of ‘control’ there but there is never the sense that United are panicking their opponents.
With Liverpool and Tottenham both looking electric, Van Gaal needs to adapt this style so United aren’t in danger of drawing their way out of the top-four.

4) United need another striker in January

In addition to Martial needing creative support, United also need another reliable striker. On two occasions Matteo Darmian put a ball across the face of the West Ham goal and on both occasions nobody was on hand to turn the ball home.

Let’s hope the talk of Alex Pato, Edinson Cavani and Breel Embolo leads to a signing in the January transfer window.

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