Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United lost out on an opportunity to capitalize on Manchester City’s loss to Stoke City when they played out yet another goalless draw with West Ham United at Old Trafford. In a topsy-turvy battle, neither team could provide a finishing touch to the many chances they created.The result sees United going down to fourth in the Premier League table while the Londoners find themselves climbing up to sixth. Here are the five major talking points from the game.
#1 Both teams fail to convert golden chances
A lot of goalless draws prove to be drab, dull affairs, whereas this match had enough to ponder in it for a neutral and surprises galore for the two sides’ fans. It was the Hammers who went close to breaking the deadlock when captain Mark Noble sent Nigerian Victor Moses through on goal but his shot thudded off the feet of United’s trusted custodian David De Gea.
Slaven Bilic’s side could really have taken the lead when, in a surprisingly incredible turn of events, De Gea’s fumble of the ball from Cresswell’s cross allowed Mauro Zarate to rebound it off Chris Smalling into the post. Soon the home crowd heaved a huge sigh of relief when, in a matter of minutes, Winston Reid found his headed effort from a corner bouncing off the post.
After services resumed post the first half Hammers missed possibly their chance of the match. This time, Zarate got onto an intelligent knock-down from Andy Carroll but he inexplicably smashed it wide. At the other end, French prodigy Anthony Martial was fed by Jesse Lingard, whose cutback found Fellaini who could only shoot straight at the sprawling Adrian; United’s solitary shot on target.
Van Gaal tried to change his side’s fortunes by bringing on Memphis Depay whose impressive wing play teed up Martial. The striker’s shot went inches wide of the West Ham goal. It was a night of ‘what could have been’ for both teams.