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What We Learned: West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Manchester United – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

And with a big crash, everyone comes back down to earth. Were we all foolish enough to think a corner had been turned? Here is what we learned today.

You can’t win anything with your senior players

An adaptation on Alan Hansen’s famous quote I have stolen. Namely because it’s oh so apt. Yet again the senior players let Manchester United down today. So striking that in the games where youth have been quite the force, United have won, but when senior players are bought back into it everything goes pear-shaped. The line up should never have been changed, and for that the blame falls directly to Louis van Gaal but once everyone gets onto the pitch they are directly responsible for their own showings. Juan Mata getting himself sent off was the stupidest thing I have witnessed in a long time. Blocking a free kick is amateur stuff and the state of his challenge on Fletcher was appalling. There was absolutely no need to make the tackle especially when on a booking. Michael Carrick was once a Mercedes of a footballer, he is now a not so Reliant Robin. Blind struggled against Salamon Rondon but Chris Smalling again was below par. Who replaced Matteo Darmian with the incompetent boob we see play now? Guillermo Varela has outperformed him over and over again. Really quite shocking.

A big chance blown

With the Manchester Derby approaching, staying level on points with Manchester City was imperative. As it is, they are three points ahead with a game in hand. And then Liverpool are three points behind with a game in hand. The cushion United had has long gone, and the hope of top four is ebbing away. This was a massive chance missed, and so horribly disappointing to see happen. With the tie against Liverpool and the FA Cup against West Ham the next three games one can only hope this is a slight blip and not a capitulation.

Conclusion

That defeat has really irked me. The manner of it more than anything. How limp and lifeless everyone was out there (apart from the odd one or two) just angers me greatly. The selection was very, very wrong and the lineup should not have been tinkered with where it could be helped. Schneiderlin and Herrera in the middle, Varela, Smalling, Blind and Rojo across the back and Memphis for Lingard and that turns our very differently. Juan Mata was atrocious in getting sent off, he left his side well in the lurch. I feel for poor Marcus Rashford, he arrived with a bang but has slowly had less of an effect through the actions of his team mates. This will no doubt prompt widespread doubts over his ability, but that would be extremely naive to do as there is nothing the lad could do today. All in all, very disappointing all round, but like I say we need to hope and pray this is a mere blip that won’t turn into a collapse. Victory on Thursday night would more than make up for it, but nothing is ever guaranteed.

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