Manchester United suffered their second defeat in the space of three days tonight (Sunday), losing by one goal to nil away at West Ham.
The defeat leaves qualification for next season’s Champions League far from secure.
Erik ten Hag’s side controlled the opening exchanges until the match-changing moment fell the way of the home side, via a David de Gea howler.
Dea Gea inexplicably failed to stop Saïd Benrahma’s daisy cutter of an effort midway through the half, swinging the game in West ham’s favour.
Benrahma found himself surrounded by white shirts 20 yards from United goal as he poked an effort toward De Gea goal, in hope more than expectation.
De Gea seemed to take an age to get down to the shot and despite getting a full hand on the ball, he could only palm it into the corner of his goal.
It was not just the mistake for the goal that contributed to a another poor afternoon for United’s number one, De Gea’s inability to play out from the back caused United numerous problems throughout.
Additionally, the Spaniard continues to look anything but comfortable when claiming crosses.
The 32-year-old is too easily outmuscled when put under any pressure and teams are regularly dropping balls under his crossbar, in the expectation of a mistake.
Talks are ongoing regarding extending De Gea’s contract at the club but with his current deal due to expire at the end of next season, it feels the right time for a parting of the ways.
United were fortunate to go into half-time just one down, with Victor Lindelof surviving strong penalty claims from the home, in added on time of the half.
Lindelof stopped a Benrahma cross with his arm, leading to a roar from the West Ham fans and players.
Given the uncertainty around the handball rule at present, it wasn’t a surprise to see the appeals waved away, nor would it have been a shock to see the VAR overturn the decision.
Ten Hag threw on Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Marcel Sabitzer, Diogo Dalot and Fred in the second half as United tried to wrestle back some kind of control.
It was all to no avail as United succumbed to defeat, looking leggy and out of ideas in the process.
Ten Hag’s men are now in a real fight to finish inside the top four, with Liverpool and Brighton breathing down their neck.
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