West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United played out an entertaining 1-1 draw last night that, in the end, both teams will probably view as a missed opportunity. Mbaye Diagne opened the scoring after less than two minutes for the Baggies before Bruno Fernandes scored the equaliser, with United being unable to kick on and grab the winner they desired.
The Johnstone effect
Manchester United huffed and puffed in search of the winning goal, but West Brom held their nerve and held on to earn a point – and a big part of that comes down to the efforts of Sam Johnstone. He produced a string of important saves, with his defenders also putting in a great shift, with the headline maker being his incredible late stop to prevent Harry Maguire from netting in the final few minutes. If he doesn’t go on to do something special in this game, we’ll be stunned.
Pressure setting in
The pressure is quite clearly pushing down on the shoulders of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United which seems to have been the case ever since they were anointed as title contenders. Sure, they’re definitely still in the mix to try and finish in the top four, but that wasn’t the goal a few weeks ago. They’re falling behind the pace of Manchester City and even though many would’ve predicted that to be the case at the start of the campaign, the manner in which it’s happening must be quite hard to take.
Title race over?
Manchester United are priced as the second favourites to win the Premier League this season with 888sport – and their odds are 25/1. That gives you an idea of just how quickly City are starting to pull away in what could turn out to be another landslide title success like last season. The Red Devils may have a better opportunity to win the big one somewhere down the line but they’re being dominated right now, and as for West Brom, even Sam Allardyce is going to have a tough time keeping them up. Sure, they’re gritty, but that isn’t enough in a league as competitive as this.
West Brom: Johnstone (7), Townsend (7), Bartley (7), Ajayi (7), Peltier (6), Yokuslu (7), Pereira (6), Gallagher (7), Maitland-Niles (6), Snodgrass (7), Diagne (7.5), Phillips (6), Furlong (7), Livermore (6)
Manchester United: de Gea (6.5), Wan-Bissaka (7), Lindelof (5.5), Maguire (6.5), Shaw (7.5), McTominay (7), Fred (6.5), Rashford (7), Fernandes (7.5), Martial (6), Cavani (6), Greenwood (7), van de Beek (6)
Referee: Craig Pawson
Goals: Diagne :: Fernandes
Yellow Cards: Bartley, Snodgrass, Maitland-Niles, Gallagher, Diagne
Red Cards: N/A
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