Saturday 2 May 2015

Sour end to season as goals dry up

By the time United play again (May 9th), it will have been almost an entire month without a goal.
The Reds have lost three league games on the bounce for the first time since 2001 (even David Moyes didn't manage that), but what's more worrying is that United have lost all of these matches in the same way.

It seems that whenever United play a team that attacks us in a open, stretched, high-paced encounter, we thrive but, to me, it now seems that  against the so called "lesser sides", we may have now been found out.

Chelsea, Everton and West Brom have all played the same way against us: let us monopolise possession, contain us, defend in numbers and hit on the counter.
It seems the secret is out.

Louis van Gaal said after the game that he knew exactly what West Brom's tactics would be: exactly the same as at Chelsea and Everton, but having played so poorly at Goodison Park, he kept faith with the same system and style that failed so miserably a week ago.

I still think United will end the season in the top four..... but it is looking increasingly likely that this will because of the failings of other rather than any late dash to the finish from the Reds: indeed, any time United have been presented with an opportunity to leapfrog the sides above us this season we have failed to capitalise.

Although our situation has not changed (we still need two wins from three games), there seems to be a determination from the team to drag the fight for the top four all the way to the wire. 

Granted, Michael Carrick's injury enforced absence has proved to be a massive loss but the fact that there seems to be an over reliance on the 33-year-old highlights the need for a player of the quality of Ilkay Gundogan in the summer. 

United did not play at all badly against West Brom: indeed this was as good a performance as the one that just fell short at Stamford Bridge and the famous wins over Liverpool and City, but the goals have dried up and that has to be a concern.

So too is the fact that sides are playing us with the intention of nicking a draw yet emerging as winners and that's worrying: Chelsea had 30% of possession, so too Everton and West Brom even less: just 20%. 
Yet all three sides have beaten us- and they've beaten us without the ball- an area that United themselves have been so strong in down the years. 

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