Manchester United lost 2-0 to West Ham as they visited London Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League.
The first half started fairly even, with both sides trying to build attacks in the opening XX minutes but to not much avail. United had a perfect chance through Alejandro Garnacho in what was the best chance of the first half, but the young winger could not finish it off.
The second half was much more West Ham-heavy, and it felt only a matter of time before they were able to break through and score – and Jarrod Bowen did just that with a lovely finish. Mohammed Kudus followed suit in the 79th minute to bury any chances of a comeback.
#1 – Into the deep end
Against West Ham, Erik ten Hag opted to start three players under the age of 20, with Garnacho (19), Kambwala (19), and Mainoo (18) all walking out of the tunnel at the London Stadium.
Garnacho was heavily involved in proceedings while Kobbie Mainoo looked calm and confident on the ball, with there also being no glaring errors from Kambwala in the first half.
This was until the 75th minute when Bowen opened the scoring and a Mainoo error saw the London club take a firm hold of the game. Despite the loss, it was an admirable performance from the three youngsters for the most part.
#2 – Problems with creation
Before the game, United had not scored in their last three fixtures, failing to find the net against Bournemouth, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool – and problems with creating chances were obvious again against West Ham.
United’s first big chance came in the 35th minute after Antony latched on to a poor pass from Kudus to send Garnacho through, who could not finish and hit his one-on-one straight at Areola’s feet. A lot of the play went through Garnacho, but United couldn’t score for the fourth game in a row.
#3 – Fernandes has not learnt his lesson
Bruno Fernandes was suspended for United’s 0-0 draw against Liverpool at Anfield last weekend due to his accumulation of five yellow cards since the start of the season, which left United without their captain.
During that game, Diogo Dalot was handed two yellows in 10 seconds for dissent against the referee, leaving him with a red card and a one-match ban.
In his first game back, Fernadnes picked up a yellow card in the second half after he fouled Kudus – but the yellow was not for the foul itself (which most certainly was one), but for shouting at the referee after. For someone captaining the club, he has not learnt his lesson as to the effects his behaviour could have on the team.
#4 – Højlund can’t anticipate
It is becoming impossible for Rasmus Højlund to try and anticipate where balls are going to be played because United’s creative players are so inconsistent with their ideas and actions.
Garnacho, Antony, and Fernandes all started as United’s primary creative players against West Ham, but only Antony made a big chance, and that wasn’t even for the young Danish striker.
Their inconsistency and inability to create good chances are starving Højlund completely from his first Premier League goal, which is then causing Højlund to try and create his own chances, which only complicates things further.
#5 – Yet another loss
Manchester United have lost their third game in four matches, failing to win a single game since their 2-1 victory over Chelsea on December 6.
They will drop to 8th in the Premier League table, potentially sitting nine points outside the top four after being knocked out of the Champions League. It does not look good.
United have two games left of 2023, against Aston Villa (H) and Nottingham Forest (A).
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