West Ham United 2-0 Manchester United: 3 Tactics from Solskjaer that cost the game | Premier League 2019/20
After securing a narrow win against Leicester City last weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had every reason to be optimistic. While his team had not been very impressive, the Red Devils had still managed to keep a clean sheet and earn 3 points against a very solid Leicester side. After securing another 1-0 win at home against Astana in midfield, United was looking ahead to Sunday’s game against West Ham United with renewed vigour.
The aim was clear – to earn the first away win since the month of March. However, Solskjaer was aware that it was not going to be easy. The Red Devils have been marred with injuries of late and Mason Greenwood was the latest player to be added to the list that also contained Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw. The Norwegian, however, was buoyed by the return of Daniel James, and he named an unchanged team, from the Leicester City game, for the tie.
United started the game well, but the home team found their footing as the game progressed. West Ham took the lead in the 44th minute through Andriy Yarmolenko and the game went into the break with the home side leading 1-0. In the second half, United tried to equalize but failed. To add to their woes, West Ham went 2-0 up in the 84th minute through Aaron Cresswell’s free-kick. The Hammers ultimately went on to win the game.
The Red Devils failed to improve their away record and here are 3 tactics from Solskjaer that lost the game.
#3 Team Selection
Solskjaer decided to continue with the same team that won against Leicester City, even though there were quite a few problems. The game against Astana in midweek had shown that United had the personnel in their squad to break open resolute defences.
However, while Solskjaer's team selection for the West Ham game was mostly justified keeping in mind United’s injury troubles, there was one decision that was questionable.
The Norwegian opted for Nemanja Matic in a double pivot alongside Scott McTominay, while Fred was on the bench. The Serbian’s presence slowed down United’s build-up play, while his lack of pace allowed the West Ham midfield to dominate the game.
Perhaps the Brazilian would have been a better choice from the start of the game, because after Fred replaced Matic late in the game, United looked more composed in the middle. The Brazilian also showed his passing prowess and closed down the opposition well, but it was all too little too late.