Manchester United are returning to the Premier League action this weekend, as they are kicking-off the new set of matches with a trip to West Ham’s London Stadium. After a bitter loss on penalties in League Cup on Tuesday night to Championship’s Derby County, the Devils are in need of a simple comeback in this following match, to end the run of two matches without a win.
West Ham seem like a good opposition to do that. They are improving in form in the past three matches, but are still far from Man United’s quality. The Devils will need to improve if they are to overcome the Hammers and here are the three things we would like to see in particular this Saturday afternoon.
Better Chance Creation
This was one of the main things we talked about after the 1-1 draw against Wolves. Man United had 15 shots that day, but their overall xG amounted to just 0.60. This meant United were always looking to shoot on goal, but seldom from good positions. That resulted in a big number of shots, but the Devils never really looked like scoring again after Fred’s opener. Romelu Lukaku needs to start getting into chances and those around him need to improve as well.
Man United are static when attacking, slow in their ball progression and that means they are easy to predict and easy to defend against. Manchester United almost completely lack any kind of verticality and aggression in their play this season and that is why smaller teams were rarely afraid of them. We have seen that through performances of Brighton, Wolves and Derby. Pace in United’s attacks is necessary if the opposition is to be truly hurt.
Maybe the biggest question prior to this match is how will Paul Pogba react after the fallout he had with Jose Mourinho on Wednesday. The video footage of the two being confronted in training went viral quickly and Mourinho talked about it in his press conference only in broad terms.
“The relation [between him and Pogba] is good, nobody trained better than Paul Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, nobody trained better than him, some trained as well, but nobody better. And tomorrow he plays, so end of the story.”
As much as this was typical Mourinho, he only truly revealed one thing – that Pogba will play. All eyes and all cameras will be on the Frenchman, even more than usual. We will get to see which Pogba will turn out – the leader of Manchester United Football Club, someone who will drive his teammates forward, or the inconsistent midfielder we have seen way too often for a player of his reputation.
Manchester United are still allowing a lot of shots and a lot of good chances to their opponents. Wolves created plenty last weekend, Derby did so in the second half this Tuesday, while Brighton and Tottenham did not have much trouble putting three goals past De Gea. Even in matches when United kept clean-sheet, there would always be at least one great chance for the opposition. This time, let’s try something different – completely neutralize West Ham and control the match from start to end. It actually might work out…