1) No chances = no chance
Although Juan Mata went close with a well worked chance and Lingard threatened from the left, 44 of the 45 first half minutes had passed until Boaz Myhill was forced into a save when Anthony Martial worked his magic to create some space and get a shot away. Louis van Gaal’s system of play builds up slowly to attack but with precious little end product fans can be forgiven for complaining about the tedium his tactics sometimes brings.
2) United need to kill games off
No chances created meant that it wasn’t until stoppage time when United put the game beyond doubt. West Brom were well in the game throughout and looked to counter and create chances when United’s possession play broke down. Teams of a higher calibre would have taken them.
3) Lingard is an all rounder
After making the winner for Rooney in midweek, Lingard went one better and produce a perfectly placed strike into the corner of the West Brom net to chalk up his first goal in the senior side. His assist and goal were brilliantly taken and proved vital for United in each game. Lingard has seamlessly transferred into first team football and looks dangerous on the wing running at the full back and showed he can finish well too. Is there nothing the young Warrington lad can’t do?
4) 5 clean sheets on the bounce
The upside to the string of goalless draws and low-scoring matches is that we haven’t conceded in any of them either. United have now gone 555 minutes without leaking a goal – over nine hours – and is their best defensive record since keeping 8 clean sheets from December 2004 – January ’05. Brilliant performances from Smalling and De Gea have played no small part and with United now having scored more than one goal for the first time in six matches it should be time the side kick on and throw a little more caution to the wind knowing that at the other end they can rely on a watertight defence.
5) United no longer in ‘slump’
Two wins on the bounce has seen the media narrative change and instead focus on United’s defensive capabilities instead of their lack of firepower. The lack of media negativity will come as a welcome break to most and should alter the attitudes of even the most pessimistic Reds. Lets kick on from here.