Manchester United vs. West Ham United
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Sunday, 27 November 2016
Kick-off: 16:30 GMT
Manchester United drew for the fourth consecutive league game at Old Trafford, despite coming from behind against West Ham United.
Diafra Sakho’s second minute header gave the Hammers the lead, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic levelled midway through the first half.
Despite dominating possession and creating many chances once again, this habit of only drawing winnable fixtures is becoming a worry, as the gap grows on the teams above.
United were behind after 90 seconds, as Sakho headed in from Dimitri Payet’s free-kick, beating his marker to make contact with the ball.
Looking for a response, Paul Pogba fired over from distance, as Juan Mata was denied by Randolph after Ibrahimovic’s set.
The two summer signings then combined for the equaliser, as Pogba’s dinked ball saw Ibrahimovic meet the pass by flicking a header past Randolph after perfectly timing his run.
The home side continued to dominate until the interval, as Jesse Lingard hooked over from Ibrahimovic’s knockdown and Marcus Rashford saw a shot saved when through on goal.
Both Pogba and Ibrahimovic headed wide from Mata’s corner and cross respectively, before Randolph thwarted Lingard as half-time arrived.
Two more dead balls from Payet caused problems, as Sakho headed over from the Frenchman’s corner before his free-kick was tipped over by David De Gea.
On as a substitute, club captain Wayne Rooney failed to add to his impressive tally against West Ham and his curled effort was saved, with Randolph holding onto Lingard’s 20 yard strike despite catching the attempt well.
The goalkeeper also turned away Pogba’s 30 yard drive, as Cheikhou Kouyate cleared before Ibrahimovic could tap home.
It was the visitors who threatened more in the dying embers, as De Gea denied ex-United striker Ashley Fletcher, before Kouyate headed wide from Payet’s free-kick and Andre Ayew flashed a shot wide.
Another disappointing result at Old Trafford despite the performance, but whereas the odd match may not fall your way, this has happened too regularly to be a coincidence, with a worrying pattern starting to emerge.
There are still 25 games and 75 points on offer, but eight points off the top four and 11 off the top isn’t good enough to say the least.
Maybe extra emphasis on the knockout competitions should be put into place, with the Europa League offering a back door passage into next season’s Champions League for the winner, the FA Cup there to be retained and the EFL Cup an early opportunity to win a trophy this season.
The EFL Cup itself resumes on Wednesday night for United, in a repeat of this evening’s fixture, where there has to be a winner on the night.
That quarter-final kicks-off at 20:00 BST, with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Herrera, Pogba; Rashford (Rooney 65), Mata (Mkhitaryan 65), Lingard (Fellaini 85); Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Schweinsteiger, Young.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
West Ham United: Randolph; Kouyate, Collins, Ogbonna; Antonio, Noble, Obiang, Cresswell; Lanzini (Ayew 74), Payet (Feghouli 90+3); Sakho (Fletcher 65).
Subs not used: Adrian, Nordtveit, Zaza, Fernandes.
Manager: Slaven Bilic