Manchester United extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 19 games when held to a goalless draw by West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Under normal circumstances it would be something to boast about but at Old Trafford, the fans, players and even impartial football punters are less than satisfied with the Red Devils’ performances, especially at home in the Theatre of Dreams.
United’s inability to break down Tony Pulis’ well-organised Albion defence left Jose Mourinho bemoaning his team’s lack of cutting edge. “We have four creative players that we need to score a goal and they didn’t,” he said after the match.
It’s become an all too common story; this was the eighth league draw at Old Trafford this season. 16 dropped points that could have seen United challenging for the title but instead Mourinho’s men are floundering five points adrift of a Champions League place and the prospect of another season competing against Europe’s second string clubs.
The boss is unhappy, the fans are unhappy and football punters are out of pocket as United have become costly coupon busters with their inability to finish off the Premier League’s pushovers. Stoke, Burnley, West Ham, Hull, Bournemouth and West Brom have among the worst away records in the league but have all left Old Trafford with a point this season.
Gamblers can take a lesson from United’s results and turn to matched betting to recover losses and come out ahead but how will the players salvage their season?
Anthony Martial, Marouane Fellaini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford were the four names Mourinho alluded to as the wasteful creative players. They must step up if United are to take advantage of the game they have in hand to Manchester City which would get them back in contention for a top four spot.
Paul Pogba and Anders Herrera are due back in the next few weeks and will provide added thrust in the midfield while Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return will bring the guile that has been lacking up front during his three-match suspension. Mourinho hailed Ibrahimovic as United’s “superman” following the 2-0 win at the Hawthorns in December and the Swedish giant may need all of his super powers to take United to where they want to be by the end of May.