Match Analysis: West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Manchester United

Match Analysis: West Brom 2-2 Man Utd
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Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at the 2-2 draw between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at the Hawthorns this evening.

Manchester United needed a late equaliser to avoid losing at The Hawthorns for the first time in the Premier League era this evening, eventually playing out a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

The hosts took the lead in the eighth minute as Stephane Sessegnon found the top corner from the edge of the box, but Marouane Fellaini levelled the sides in the opening stages of the second half having come on at the interval.

Saido Berahino restored his side's advantage with a cool finish midway through the half, before Daley Blind rescued a point for the visitors with just three minutes of normal time remaining.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at an entertaining 90 minutes between the two sides.

Match statistics

Shots: 8
On target: 2
Possession: 37%
Corners: 0
Fouls: 6

Shots: 22
On target: 7
Possession: 63%
Corners: 11
Fouls: 8

Was the result fair?

The stats above all point to it being a comfortable victory for Manchester United this evening, but they only tell half of the story. The visitors were far short of their best once again and, although they had significantly more shots, possession and corners than West Brom, they can not have too many complaints at leaving The Hawthorns with a solitary point.

The Baggies made a flying start to the match and were worthy of their lead at the break, having contained United with relative ease. They were by no means dominating the match before the interval, but they always seemed to be in control and were playing some nice football along the way.

United came out flying in the second half and, having equalised within a matter of minutes, it was hard to see how they wouldn't go on to win the match. However, West Brom edged their way back into it, and Berahino's goal changed things. United resumed their heavy pressure in the closing stages and defeat would have been harsh on the Red Devils, but a draw is no more than the Baggies deserve.

West Brom's performance

Alan Irvine will have been thrilled with the way his side started the match. They dominated possession in the opening exchanges and dictated the tempo of the game, with United struggling to get near the ball. The early goal was just reward for such a good start, although they failed to trouble David de Gea much beyond that.

Two shots on target and two goals suggest that this was something of a smash and grab from the Baggies, but that was not the case. They held their own in midfield and gave United's defence a tough time of things on occasions, despite De Gea's lack of action beyond picking the ball out of his own net.

They were put under heavy pressure immediately after the restart and towards the end of the match, and at times they really struggled to deal with the many crosses that were arriving into their area, but they managed to hang on for a point. Irvine may even be disappointed with a draw considering his side led so late on, but he would have taken the point before the match and will be content with both the result and the performance tonight.

Man Utd's performance

When he was first appointed as Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal asked to be judged after three months. That time period has now elapsed, and still the Dutchman only has three competitive victories to his name. It was another disappointing display from his side this evening, and improvement is desperately needing going into matches against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.

It was almost like United were showing the Baggies far too much respect before the break, standing off the hosts and letting them play their own game. They threatened very little going forward and showed none of the intensity and desire needed to really put the cat amongst the pigeons and disrupt West Brom's defensive line.

To his credit, Van Gaal earmarked a problem at half time and brought Fellaini onto the field, and the Belgian immediately changed the game with his physical presence in the box. However, the Berahino goal saw them drop back into the side we saw in the first half, and they were then forced to rely on a late goal to get the point. They still have not won away from home under Van Gaal, and that simply needs to change sooner rather than later.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Stephane Sessegnon: No player stood head and shoulders above the rest today, so this award goes to Sessegnon. His movement kept Blind troubled all night, while the combination of him and Berahino caused the United defence regular problems. He also took his goal brilliantly, slamming a magnificent effort into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Honourable mentions should go to Angel di Maria, who was clearly a class apart from all others on the field, Fellaini, who changed the game when he came on, and Craig Dawson, who repelled a number of United attacks while Joleon Lescott alongside him struggled.

Biggest gaffe

Both of United's goals were avoidable had Lescott been a little more decisive in his play. The first saw him shrugged off far too easily by Fellaini, while the second was a poor clearance straight to Blind. Rafael also deserves a mention here for being a yard or so behind the rest of his defence to play Berahino onside for West Brom's second goal.

Referee performance

Mike Dean had a mixed performance today. A couple of his decisions were highly questionable, while he was a little too lenient on occasions, but in general he got the big calls right.

What next?

West Brom: The Baggies are at home once again on Saturday as they host Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns.

Man Utd: Things begin to get a little trickier for United now, with Chelsea next up on Sunday at Old Trafford and Manchester City and Arsenal also lying in wait within the next four games.

Manchester United's Dutch midfielder Daley Blind celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England on October 20, 201
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