3 things Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got wrong as Man Utd are held by West Brom
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Manchester United lost further ground in the title race as they could only draw with relegation-threatened West Brom.
After Manchester City's win over Tottenham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side knew only a win would be good enough to keep a semblance of pressure on the league leaders.
But they got off to the worst possible start at a wet and windy Hawthorns when Mbaye Diagne climbed above Victor Lindelof to put them in front after just 90 seconds.
The visitors then, unsurprisingly, dominated possession but had failed to register a shot on target in 44 frustrating minutes.
That all changed with one swish of Bruno Fernandes' boot, when he acrobatically volleyed home a Luke Shaw cross to equalise just before the break.
United thought they had a penalty in the second period, but after watching on the pitchside monitor, referee Craig Pawson changed his decision.
They could have won it in the final seconds, but Harry Maguire's header struck the post and had to settle for a point on a damaging afternoon for United's hopes of winning the Premier League title.
Here's what Solskjaer will be left ruing on his journey back to Manchester.
De Gea doubts remain
Solskjaer admitted it is becoming more and more difficult to leave Dean Henderson as a frustrated spectator.
Before the game, Graeme Souness claimed it was ‘a matter of time’ before De Gea dropped to the bench.
And hough Albion’s opener wasn’t strictly an error from David De Gea, he failed to command the area and take control of the situation after Conor Gallagher’s wicked cross.
Whether Henderson would have done any better is a question for another day, but a question that now must be asked.
In fairness to the under-fire keeper, he did make a vital double save in the second half, with Diagne poised to put the Baggies back in front.
Bailly over Lindelof
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Gary Neville has been highly critical of Solskjaer’s decision to not sign a centre-back during the summer window.
He suggested that would play a decisive role in their race for the title and that without a partner for Harry Maguire they would struggle.
Paul Scholes has also said he will always have question marks about Lindelof, whose lack of pace stands out at the back.
Solskjaer has seemingly decided that the Swede is the best of his current options, but Eric Bailly should feel slightly disappointed to be out of the line-up.
When he came into the side last month, his extra speed seemed to improve United’s defence and looked a better long-term option.
With Europa League and FA Cup fixtures on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether he will be given a chance to stake his claim again.
Too cautious with two
It was fairly obvious that United would dominate possession against Sam Allardyce’s struggling Albion team.
The fact that the Baggies got off to such a good start heighted the hosts’ reluctance to move out of their defensive shape.
With United almost monopolising their control of the ball, the decision to start two defensive midfielders stood out.
Scott McTominay’s form warranted a start but this felt an occasion that a player like Donny van de Beek could have flourished.
Instead Fred was given the start to give another comfort blanket against the relatively goal-shy West Brom strikeforce.
- David de Gea
- Gary Neville
- Harry Maguire
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Europa League
- FA Cup
- Premier League
- Manchester United FC
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