The DAMNED United: Bruno Fernandes’s penalty nicked a win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but his side haven’t scored a home league goal from open play for TWO MONTHS!
- Manchester United got their first home win of the season in unconvincing style
- A retaken Bruno Fernandes penalty narrowly edged out struggling West Brom
- The penalty ended a wait of nearly five and a half hours for a league goal at home
Safe to say the most effective attack at Old Trafford right now is of the cyber variety.
This was meant to be the season that Manchester United assembled a fearsome offensive unit, augmenting one of the most exciting forward lines in Europe with the capture of Jadon Sancho from Dortmund.
Instead, United seem to have taken a step backwards, particularly on their own patch.
Manchester United finally got their first home win of the season at the fifth time of asking
Despite the win, it was another unconvincing display by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side
They found it harder to find a way past luckless West Brom than the hackers whose breach of United’s IT system is still being fixed by the club. It needed technology of a different kind for two VAR interventions to bail them out.
As it was, United held on for their first Premier League win at Old Trafford in five attempts this season.
Bruno Fernandes’s penalty ended a wait of nearly five and a half hours for a league goal at home since he converted from the spot against Tottenham, but they haven’t scored one in open play since the first game here two months ago.
There were, of course, five put past RB Leipzig at home in Europe and plenty of goals away as well — four at Newcastle and three at Everton and Brighton.
This remains a United team better suited to attacking opponents on the break than opening them up.
His predecessor has just got Tottenham to the top of the Premier League after impressive win
Yet they created more than enough chances against West Brom without making it count, and that is an additional concern for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It is a peculiar problem for a team with so much attacking potential, even factoring in the failed pursuit of Sancho.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford both scored more than 20 goals last season, while Mason Greenwood weighed in with 17.
Martial and Greenwood are yet to score in the league so far. Rashford has two goals and Edinson Cavani just the one as he finds his feet in English football.
The Red Devils boss has blamed the lack of home crowd for their poor form at Old Trafford
There is no doubt that the quick turnaround from last season has had an impact, and so too have a couple of international breaks, but Solskjaer now hopes to see an improvement.
‘We’ll have three or four months together now and it’s about staying together and sticking to the way we want to play,’ said the United boss (right).
‘We’re getting there, definitely, working hard, closing down, not conceding many chances. We created enough chances to win this comfortably as well, but we need to be more clinical.
They had to overcome an inspired performance by former United keeper Sam Johnstone
‘Hopefully we can hit some form like we did towards the end of last season.’
Greenwood and Paul Pogba were absent and will be assessed ahead of Monday’s Champions League game at home to Istanbul Basaksehir, but United continue to rely heavily on Fernandes for attacking impetus.
Having been responsible for conceding a penalty that was overturned by referee David Coote, Fernandes converted a retaken spot-kick at the other end after the excellent Sam Johnstone had kept out his first attempt, only for VAR to spot the former United goalkeeper off his line.
‘I felt it was little West Brom and the big decisions went against us,’ said frustrated manager Slaven Bilic.
‘Instead of being 1-0 up we are one down. That basically killed us.’
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