EPL 2016/17: Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United: 5 Talking Points
Manchester United came from behind to draw 1-1 with West Ham United at Old Trafford last night. The Red Devils went down in the 2nd minute after Diafra Sakho headed an outrageous Dimitri Payet cross, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic levelled the tie after a sublime dink from Paul Pogba found him behind the Hammers’ defence.
However, despite bossing for most parts of the game after the equaliser, United couldn’t score the decisive winner. Instead, Jose Mourinho was sent off to the stands for kicking out at a bottle and marching out of his technical area, while a Jesse Lingard goal was ruled offside towards the end. The London team could have themselves won it in the end, but their striker Ashley Fletcher was thwarted by David de Gea in additional time.
This result leaves the 20-time league winners on 20 points from 13 games – their worst start since the 1990/91 campaign after 13 games. Stranded at 6th position and 11 points off league leaders Chelsea, it will be a miracle if United make it to a Champions League spot now, let alone challenge for the title.
Here are 5 things we learned from the game:
#1 Paul Pogba is finally showing his worth
Ever since he returned to Old Trafford, Paul Pogba has been constantly criticised by fans and pundits alike for failing to make much of an impact on United’s gameplay. He was not given any time to settle in, and despite scoring 5 goals, people demanded more from him.
As such, the French international has finally come out with the goods it seems. Just like in the game versus Fenerbahce, he was running all over the pitch against West Ham, dictating play in the final third and exchanging some sweet passes with Ibrahimovic, Mata and Valencia.
It was he who set up the goal for the Swede, after dinking a delightful ball towards the former Ajax striker who headed it in. Some of his dribbling and distribution were delightful to watch as well, and one hopes he can finally justify not only his 89 million dollar price tag but also his billing as one of the best midfielders in the world by putting in such performances consistently.