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Ratings: Fernandes scored 19th goal of the season in Baggies draw; United unable to penetrate Baggies defence

Manchester United drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns in the Premier League. It was a poor start by United as Victor Lindelof seemed t be fouled by Mbaye Diagne, who then beat David De Gea in just over 80 seconds of the match being played. United seemed to lack urgency for a period and failed to break into the match. In the 44th minute though, Bruno Fernandes found the equaliser to get United back into the game but despite Manny attempts to, did not find a winning goal. The Baggies almost scored two more times with Diagne on the break and De Gea managing to get most of his effort on the ball to change its direction. It will be seen as a poor result for United, but a worse one for the Baggies who are 12 points adrift of safety.

It was another terrible start for the United in the Premier League. The Baggies got the ball into the box as quickly as possible, putting pressure on United’s defence, which is frail. Mbaye Diagne seemed to impede Victor Lindelof inn the box, putting his hand over his face, and rising to put the ball into the back of the next, past David De Gea, who failed to attempt a save. It was something that United have been used to this season, going behind early in the match and once again, they would need to overcome the early storm and seek to punish their opposition. This would need to change for United in order for them to move forward. The defence always seems to have a terrible display in them, which is obviously not good enough.

Despite United gaining the majority of possession, the Baggies were punishing United with their set-pieces showing United’s fragility in the defence; the inability to win aerial challenges. United got forward quite a lot in the first half but the Baggies were happy to sit back and mop up that pressure. United had one shot on goal, which was also on target but not quite anything to write home about. In the last minute of the first half, United pulled something out of the bag with Bruno Fernandes scoring his 19th goal of the season. Luke Shaw fired the ball into the box from the left, seemingly seeking Edinson Cavani, however, Fernandes lifted his leg up for the volley, firing past former United academy goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone.

At the start of the second half, United continued their dominance in possession and seeking that winner in a game that could still go either way. In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, the Baggies had just 16% of the ball, which was pathetic. There was little to write home about until a penalty was awarded by the referee after Harry Maguire was seemingly fouled in the box around the hour mark of the match. After viewing VAR, the penalty was withdrawn and play continued. In the 66th minute of the match, Mason Greenwood was brought on to replace Anthony Martial, who never really got himself into the match, which should be a worry for him as his form diminishes after his goal-scoring efforts last season.

United were still pushing for the elusive winning goal in the second half, having the majority of the ball still with the Baggies defending in numbers like a team that already knows their fate. When teams play like this, you never feel sorry for them when relegation comes calling. De Gea made a good save to deny Diagne once again after the Baggies forward seemingly fouled Maguire inn his own box then tried to get his second goal of the game with De Gea forcing himself out to change the direction of the ball to get it away from danger. The Baggies will be upset that a second goal did not come as they desperately need the points just to get back to where they were yesterday, which would see them still 12 points from safety with a draw, 10 with a win.

There was five minutes added at the end of the match with United still in charge of possession and pushing for that winner, which still was not coming. The Baggies had a few chances to score again, despite playing for the majority of the match in their own half, defending in numbers, which is a pathetic way to play football, especially with the club 12 points from safety with the score at 1-1. In these situations, clubs like the Baggies should be doing more to win, not defend. Harry Maguire had a shot on goal in the last minute of added time with Johnstone forced to make the save with the ball clattering the near post. Some will say it was a brilliant save but others will say it was lucky. It was a 1-1 draw with United needing to do a lot more to get the points on the board.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded the first goal of the game inside the second minute. Did not look confident of his ability. Made a good save to deny Snodgrass in the first half. In the second half, with Diagne through after clattering Maguire, made a crucial save to change the direction of the ball to stop a second goal.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defended well at times, not that United had to be defensively astute as they had the majority of the ball in the Baggies' half. Got forward a lot of the time, which is good to see. It's a shame it did not turn into another victory on the road.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Terrible defending at the start of the match. Diagne took advantage of him, opening the scoring in 80-odd seconds.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led United better after the initial two minutes of the match which saw United concede the first goal of the game again. Got forward a lot of the time as United blew the Baggies out of the water with possession. United seemed to be more on top of the game in the second half of the match, pursuing that elusive winning goal.

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23 Luke Shaw

Seemed under the cosh at times in the first half, at least until United settled and took the Lion's share of the possession. Got another assist for Fernandes' equaliser in the last minute of the first half.

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17 Fred

Played a good game in midfield but could have perhaps done more to get the ball forward to the key men ahead of him. He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 79th minute of the match.

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39 Scott McTominay

Had a back first few minutes as the Baggies took an early lead. Got himself into the game around 15 minutes into it. Had a few shots on Goa in the second half as United's confidence grew.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Had a quiet game. In the first half, he was trying to break through from the right, which is not his best position. In the second half, he had less of an impact for large periods of the half. It is worrying to see the lack of form of the player, which seems to be consistent despite his 16 goals for the club this season.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Seemed to be off his game from the start of the match but like he has done before, he pulled something out of nothing. Shaw crossed the ball into the box from the left and Fernandes volleyed the ball into the back of the next past Johnstone.

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9 Anthony Martial

Had little impact against the Baggies. Perhaps he should not have started at all. Did nothing of note and looked so far off his game. He was rightly replaced by Greenwood in the 66th minute of the match.

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7 Edinson Cavani

Unable to break though a stalwart defence, which involved more that seven men for most of the match. His positioning was good and he tried but luck did not play a part.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Martial 66'. Seemed livelier than Martial and putt an effort into breaking through into the box but high numbers of Baggies player in the box made it difficult to score. If the Baggies played like this 38 times a season, they might not be in the position they are in.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fred 79'. Had 11 minutes plus added time on the pitch. He got into the box but could not create anything with the number of players defending. He needs to play more football and should be whilst Pogba is injured. He's out of form and needs to play consistently to get some kind of form together. It is a shame he's not play more.

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Goals: Mbaye Diagne 2′; Bruno Fernandes 44′

Assists: Conor Gallagher 2′; Luke Shaw 44′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Van de Beek 79′), McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Martial (Greenwood 66′); Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; James, Matic

Bookings: Conor Gallagher 37′, Kyle Bartley 61′, Ainsley Maitland-Niles 79′, Robert Snodgrass 85′, Mbaye Diagne 89′

Written by John Walker

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