United Can’t Win Those Awkward Away Days
Four wins in a row was a bit too much for many people to take. Just when everyone was getting used to having a chuckle at their expense they seemed to be getting it together. There were whispers of the titlt.
However, a loss here leaves them three points adrift of Man City and two behind West Ham. In all honesty, before the sending off West Brom were the most dangerous side and looked far more likely to score.
The Red Devils simply aren’t equipped to win these awkward games. They have lost away at Swansea, Stoke, Bournemouth and Sunderland already this term. All ‘tricky’ trips, and the exact sort that teams need to win if they want to win the title or make the top four.
Juan Mata Can’t Tackle
The Spaniard isn’t known for his defensive abilities and he showed why here.
The diminutive number eight somehow managed to received two bookings in two minutes, leaving his side with 10 men for an hour of the game. Both challenges were late and silly. They could easily have been avoided and will have left Louis van Gaal an angry man.
Mata is known for his intelligence with the ball, he showed a massive lack of it without the ball in this clash. He’s definitely one from the Paul Scholes school of tackling.
Rondon Looks The Real Deal
Salomon Rondon is finally starting to look like the striker that West Brom forked out a club record fee for.
The centre forward has all the attributes to thrive in England. He is tall, pacey and proving to be an excellent finisher. His goal here was all about a wonderful first touch from a driven cross that allowed him the opportunity to sweep a shot pats De Gea.
His hold-up play was mightily impressive too. He was embroiled in a game long battle with Chris Smalling that harked back to the 90s and was a thoroughly enjoyable watch. He now has eight goals for the season and four in his last six.
Red Devils Are Weak From Set Pieces
Man United have had one of the best defences in the Premier League all season. It is debateable as to how good a unit they are at the back – David De Gea’s excellence sort of skews the data somewhat.
One thing that has stood out though is their fallibility at set pieces. They just never seem comfortable and there always seems to be a player free in the box or allowed to get a run on a ball into the danger area.
West Brom are excellent from set pieces and in Dawson and McAuley have two of the best in the business at attacking a dead ball and they caused problems here.
Century Maker Dawson Impresses
The 25-year-old centre half has been turned into a full-back by Tony Pulis and he is developing into a fine one at that. He has played every minute of West Brom’s Premier League season and is becoming a fan favourite at the Hawthorns.
Here, on his 100th Baggies appearance, he martialled Martial expertly until Mata’s red saw him move central. Dawson never gave the Frenchman time on the ball and nullified his pace with excellently timed tackles. His offensive game has come on massively this season too and he was a real threat on the right-hand side at times. He almost scored a peach after Mata was sent off.
He also got forward well and was a constant threat when in the opponents box until injury saw him come off. A player who struggled to make an impact in the heart of the defence has become one of the club’s most consistent players.