Manchester United FINALLY got to work at Old Trafford in the Premier League … but the day Jose Mourinho returned to the top of the table, it was another inconclusive day for successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Manchester United took their first home win of the season in unconvincing style
- A renewed penalty kick from Bruno Fernandes narrowly came from struggling West Brom
- While Jose Mourinho took Tottenham to the top of the league, his successor struggled
At the end of another disappointing and largely dull first half on an empty Old Trafford, the Manchester United and West Brom players left the field with the sound of Herman’s Hermits ‘I’m Into Something Good’.
Even ignoring the fact that there was nothing good to be seen here in the first 45 minutes, this wasn’t the best song choice given that it was the song dedicated to Jose Mourinho by United fans.
Was anyone at Old Trafford laughing the day Mourinho led Tottenham to the top of the Premier League and United languished in 13th place at kickoff?
Manchester United finally took their first home win of the season the fifth time they asked
Despite the victory, it was another inconclusive performance on the part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
In the end, United recorded their first home victory in the Premier League this season on the fifth time they asked for it, but it was hardly more convincing than the four previous attempts – defeats to Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Arsenal, and a heavy draw with Chelsea.
It took a second-half penalty from Bruno Fernandes to get them over the line against the humble, unfortunate West Brom plus the help of two vital VAR interventions – first, to enable Referee David Coote to make his decision to kill Albion. awarding a penalty for Fernandes’ challenge to Conor Gallagher and then to give the Portuguese playmaker another chance from the spot after Sam Johnstone turned out to be off his line when he saved the first attempt.
So, all in all, not very convincing on the part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the day after the United manager blamed the absence of fans for their poor home form.
His predecessor has just taken Tottenham to the top of the Premier League after an impressive victory
“It’s something we want to correct, but it’s another thrill to play for the Stretford End without fans,” he said. ‘Home and away are different, it’s not like it used to be. It’s sterile. ‘
It is certain and no one is claiming that empty stadiums are a factor in some loss of home advantage this season, to United and the rest of the Premier League.
But that excuse just isn’t good enough to explain why they’ve been so ineffective at home.
Solskjaer has more than enough attacking potential at his disposal to do better, even without the struggling Mason Greenwood who was not in the squad here after his manager revealed on Friday that he had missed ‘eight or nine’ days of training during the international break. through injury.
The Red Devils boss has blamed the lack of home crowd for their poor form at Old Trafford
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were both available despite picking up blows on international duty, and were on the offensive alongside Fernandes and Juan Mata.
Edinson Cavani replaced Mata just after the hour and Donny van de Beek came in for Rashford towards the end.
United created its fair share of the odds, but again they were wasteful for goal. At no point did you feel like they were in control of the game. When they got a corner in injury time, they tried to keep the ball right there.
It was Albion who charged in search of an equalizer when Coote blew the final whistle with Solskjaer and his number 2 Mike Phelan looking clearly uncomfortable on the sidelines.
Yes, they stumbled upon an inspired performance by former United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who produced two particularly notable saves to Martial in the first half and Rashford in the second, as well as Fernandes’ fine – if fruitless – penalty stop.
They had to overcome an inspired performance by former United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone
At one point, just before half-time, Fernandes was so devoid of ideas on a free kick next to the left on the left flank that he tried to catch Johnstone with a brutal shot into the front post, but even that lacked conviction and bounced harmlessly into the goalkeeper hands.
It’s not like West Brom didn’t have their chances either.
In addition to the reversed penalty kick, substitute Callum Robinson hit the bar with David de Gea well after his raids, and the United goalkeeper also stopped Conor Townsend’s goal-oriented attempt with an extended left leg.
The outcome could indeed have been very different. But Solskjaer will take his first home win in the league and move on in the hope that things get better.