Manchester United failed to take advantage of the Premier League’s top four all dropping points as they were held to an unimpressive 0-0 draw at home to Hull City on Wednesday.
Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool all failed to win in their respective league outings on Tuesday, but United wasted the opportunity to close in as they struggled to capitalise on their superiority against a Hull side who were ultimately grateful to goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.
It was a very one-sided encounter, particularly in the first half, with United in complete control for most of it and producing some tidy moves on occasion.
Their final pass was often found lacking, however, resulting in the hosts creating only one clear-cut chance before the break when Paul Pogba forced Jakupovic into action.
Even with the half-time introduction of Wayne Rooney things did not get much better from the home side, as they continued to dictate the tempo without beating Jakupovic – Marcus Rashford culpable after wasting a particularly good chance just before the hour-mark.
Jakupovic then saved Hull with a remarkable stop towards the end as Juan Mata looked destined to find the net, and the visitors even struck the post via Liverpool-owned Lazar Markovic late on before ultimately settling for a commendable point which hoisted them off the bottom of the table and consigned United to a third successive league draw.
2 – Man Utd have failed to beat 2 newly promoted clubs at home in a PL season for the 1st time since 1994-95 (Forest & Leicester). Struggle.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 1, 2017
After a disjointed opening, United began to exert control in the 15th minute – their purpose signified by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 25-yard drive which was tipped around the post by Jakupovic.
They then crafted another opportunity from the resulting corner, but Marcos Rojo headed over after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s delivery was brilliantly flicked back into the danger zone by Rashford.
United’s dominance in possession showed no sign of letting up and Hull spent prolonged periods camped in their own area.
But the hosts did not create another chance until the 35th minute – Pogba teeing up Ibrahimovic on the edge of the area for what was ultimately a scuffed left-footed effort straight to Jakupovic.
The goalkeeper was given significantly more of a test just before the break, but again he denied United, as Pogba latched on to Ibrahimovic’s clever backheel and saw his left-footed strike pushed away.
Jose Mourinho looked to add extra invention to United’s attack by replacing Michael Carrick with Rooney at the start of the second period.
But it was Pogba who inspired their next chance 10 minutes later with a long ball over the Hull defence, picking out Rashford who could only scuff wide despite a marvellous first touch.
Rashford was involved again shortly after, heading Antonio Valencia’s cross into the danger zone, only for Ibrahimovic to half-volley just wide from eight yards after Rooney completely missed the ball.
United should have gone in front 16 minutes from time, but again Jakupovic came to Hull’s rescue, denying substitute Mata from point-blank range after Ibrahimovic headed a corner across the face of goal.
In the end it was Hull who went closest, as they caught United on the break and Markovic hit the post from the edge of the area, preventing an already frustrating outing being made worse for Mourinho.
Key Opta stats:
– Manchester United are on the current longest unbeaten run in the Premier League (14 games – W7 D7 L0).
– Hull City have picked up just two points in their 10 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (W0 D2 L8).
– Hull kept their first clean sheet at Old Trafford in all competitions since January 1952.
– The Red Devils have only lost once in their last 20 home Premier League games (W12 D7) – vs Man City in September 2016.
– Hull have won four points in three PL games under Marco Silva; one more than they managed in the previous nine under Mike Phelan.
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