WEST HAM UNITED VS MANCHESTER UNITED
Following Sunday’s mannered performance, United visited Upton Park, home of ProZone disciple Sam Allardyce on Wednesday evening.
– Evra was exposed for the first goal after Vaz Te and Carroll drifted into different directions, inward and outward, respectively.
– Carroll and Nolan were key to West Ham’s successful management of Carrick; the Scouse wannabe drifted back, across to his right and came infield to look to stop the ball to Carrick. The Scouser on the other hand attempted to reduce any space Carrick had in front of him.
– Van Persie looked isolated, particularly in the first half.
– West Ham appeared to target Vidic by digging at the slightest touch in an attempt to cheat the referee into awarding a penalty. Disgusting.
– De Gea’s temperament and strength is improving every game.
– After our point about being more inventive at set pieces, Rooney nearly scored following a short corner from van Persie.
– Yet Rooney looks disinterested; head in another place?
– Two class pieces of movement from Kagawa led to United’s goals.
– Andy Carroll’s a mong.
United were set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and were much less fluid than Sunday’s outing. Whilst West Ham were 4-5-1, defending narrow with three in front of their own D, in close proximity to the two centre backs behind. This was telling as in the first fifteen minutes United got the ball in West Ham’s first half for only 12% of the time.
The finite amount of time and space available lead to West Ham’s first goal. Rooney tried to thread the ball to Kagawa who was easily dispossessed and West Ham were able to get the ball out to their left very quickly as Diame moved through unchallenged. As United’s players followed the ball Carroll and Vaz Te could be seen exchanging positions isolating Evra as Carroll easily out-jumped him and Vaz Te enjoyed a relatively easy chance.
The first chance for United being able to work the ball through the tight defence was just before the thirty minute mark when Rooney fed a delightful pass to Evra who was unable to find a fellow red. A good sign though, at last!
BOOM! Valencia scored with a tap in; his first league goal in 49 games. Kagawa must be congratulated for his input in the build up to the goal.
After the goal United enjoyed much more possession (64-34%). The left was a successful outlet although we’re pleased to say, Valencia also looked good on the right.
Jones’ positioning was interesting. Of the two central midfielders he played the highest, yet he looked insecure and confused; too far right, too high, coupled with poor movement on and off the ball. Yet this didn’t help Carrick who was having poor game.
To compound matters Rooney, often seen dropping deep leaving van Persie isolated, had a poor game too, giving the ball away and getting involved in a spat with Carroll; pointless.
This half started in a similar manner to the first. United sluggishly with low tempo, slow passing and poor movement off the ball, in the last fifteen it was a bit headless, too
West Ham scored their second goal with a tremendous strike but how were they allowed to get the ball this deep to United’s area? The defending was too deep, the players marking were not tight enough and Rooney was completely sold by Diame’s dummy. The fact is odd that the ball should have been won further up the pitch.
After the goal Jones could be seen sat much deeper as Carrick was the more adventurous in search of a way through. Kagawa meanwhile remained narrow, relying on Evra to overlap.
With twenty minutes remaining Sir Alex brought Rooney off for Giggs who went left and Kagawa moved over to the centre. He could be seen playing much closer to van Persie than Rooney.
BOOM! Kagawa sitting centrally led to the equalizing goal as a consequence of a neat pass, receive and move following the ball from Carrick. Kagawa’s shot double biffed the post before van Persie pushed the follow up, unmarked. Straight after Sir Alex made his final switch, with Hernandez coming on for Kagawa in an attempt to be more direct and perhaps take one of the scrap chances which may have developed as they played in a 4-4-2 formation from then on to the final whistle.
Another lacklustre performance which was lost predominantly in the middle of park where Jones, Carrick and Rooney were poor.
All United’s best chances came from attacking wide, apart from the second goal which was the only time a probe at centre of West Ham’s defence worked.
Andy Carroll played on limits of what’s acceptable but was a handful and with Nolan they snubbed out United’s early out ball to Carrick.
Along with those we alluded to earlier, the full backs also made little impact in the game and didn’t do enough to support United’s case for width to win which may have been helped by a slightly different approach, perhaps a 4-1-4-1 to have the width, retain the management of the Nolan/Carroll threat, give more support to van Persie and compete in the middle?