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What We Learned: West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Manchester United – Barclays Premier League

Proper football is back. Two weeks with nothing but internationals and scraping round the lower leagues for any scrap of action. Here’s what we learned in this rather unpleasant return to normality.

The Lone Striker Doesn’t Work

We don’t have the resources. We should, but we don’t. As was proven in more sinister circumstances against West Ham, and backed up against Everton, one up front does not work. We simply don’t have the depth. Outside of van Persie and Falcao (from the current available) our only real attacking threats are Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria, so why remove one? It was also another change in system with very little time to work on it. A poor, poor decision that cost us.

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Individuals Can Cost Games

Luke Shaw hasn’t had the most scintillating of starts to his United career, and Stephane Sessegnion’s goal is testament. Miles out of position, he allowed Andre Wisdom to waltz into acres and provide the pass. Rafael had, perhaps, started to change opinions. His inability to hold the line cost us the second goal, as Saido Berahino burst away, well onside. However, his hilarious attempt to put him off (by screaming) certainly cheered me up. Adnan Januzaj is worryingly out of sorts. It was an improved performance on his usual cameos, but the shining star of the Moyes era is now looking nowhere near that player. Robin van Persie gets his own section. Jones, you can tell was rusty, Rojo not quite there, and Herrera was nowhere near fit. Hopefully boots and arses will be aligned before Chelsea.

Oh Robin van Persie 

It’s becoming a regular thing now. He really doesn’t care anymore. I’ve seen chairs move more. I don’t know if he isn’t comfortable playing as the lone striker, but surely you have to put more in than he did? He didn’t put pressure on the ball, he missed chances that 24 months ago he would have buried, he just doesn’t look bothered. I thought the goal against West Ham might rejuvenate him, I couldn’t have been much more wrong. I’m afraid, Robin, it might be approaching the time we look for potential suitors, cause you don’t seem to want to be in Manchester anymore.

Marouane Fellaini 

He too deserves his own section. If he’d played poorly we’d all have been quick to slate him, but last night he looked good. His goal was magnificent and showcased what could soon be known as ‘classic Fellaini’ (probably not, but let’s dream). Strength, power, he bullied Lescott and controlled the ball with grace and aplomb before dispatching and unstoppable strike into the top bin. Perfection. Hopefully a platform, but I’ve been wrong before.

Conclusion

No cutting edge. This attacking prowess we have, was nowhere to be seen last night. No one challenged. Di Maria provided some gorgeous crosses and the lone striker didn’t want to know. Nor did anyone else. Blinds goal was Scholesesque, arriving in the pocket and scoring goals. Falcao can’t keep feeding off the scraps Van Persie leaves him. He is far better and far more motivated to do well and score goals, van Persie looks more interested in how his tea is cooking. A point is a point, but if we carry on like that then Chelsea are going to destroy us. Until Sunday, remember when we beat Everton?

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