Talking points from Old Trafford

Wednesday 22 July 2020 20:10

Manchester United were not at our fluent best but a 1-1 draw with West Ham United took us into third place in the Premier League table, ahead of Chelsea's trip to Liverpool later in the evening.

After Mason Greenwood equalised Michail Antonio's penalty, we take a look at some of the topics for discussion...

TIM IN THE TEAM

Tim Fosu-Mensah started a second successive Premier League game for the Reds for the first time in his career. He was at right-back, with Brandon Williams on the opposite flank, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka was named on the bench, only to enter the fray after half-time, for Fosu-Mensah. Luke Shaw remains out with an ankle injury. The east Londoners' right-back was also not a regular - Ben Johnson being picked for his second successive start after previously only making one senior appearance. Johnson is the nephew of former Reds favourite Paul Parker, who knew a thing or two about that position.

50-UP FOR MASON

Mason Greenwood may still only be 18 but he's quickly amassed 50 appearances for the senior team. The lively forward only made his Premier League debut in the final game of last season, against Cardiff City, but has regularly been involved this term. Of course, his first glimpse of first-team action came at Paris Saint-Germain in the unforgettable Champions League tie last year. At 18 years and 295 days, he is the youngest Red to achieve the 50-games feat since Ryan Giggs, back in 1992.

SPOT OF BOTHER

As was the case on Sunday at Wembley against Chelsea, United conceded the first goal on the brink of half-time. VAR highlighted Paul Pogba's handball to a fierce Declan Rice shot from a free-kick and Antonio made no mistake from the spot, casually stroking the ball past David De Gea to continue his fine scoring run. It is now eight goals since the restart for the striker, the same as Manchester City's Raheem Sterling.

It left De Gea still seeking the league clean sheet that will overtake the great Peter Schmeichel's record of 112 for the club but the Spaniard, who was the subject of much discussion in the media beforehand, made a brilliant second-half save to keep out winger Jarrod Bowen and was adept in his handling all night.

A RARE FIRST-HALF BLANK

It was unusual for Ole's men not to score in the first half. This was the first time it has happened in our last six games at Old Trafford and only the second in the last 12 league games, either side of the restart. Nerves could have been playing a part as, after an impressive start to the game, Ole's side struggled to break down the resolute Hammers, who were well drilled by our former manager David Moyes.

This would have been perfect for a second half attacking a full Stretford End, roaring the team on but, sadly, this is still not the case with the games being played behind closed doors.

Mason Greenwood made his 50th senior appearance for the Reds - at the age of 18!

GLORIOUS GREENWOOD

All manner of stats flooded in when Mason drilled home the leveller for his 10th Premier League goal of the season. Only three players have done so previously prior to their 19th birthday - Michael Owen (1997/98) and Robbie Fowler (1993/94). The last teenager to reach double figures in a Premier League season was ex-Red Romelu Lukaku, in 2012/13. The last Englishman was Wayne Rooney in 2004/05.

From a United perspective, no teenager has ever netted more times in a single campaign in all competitions with Mason's 17 strikes putting him level with George Best (1965/66), Brian Kidd (1967/68) and Rooney (2004/05).

 

Report: United 1 West Ham 1 article

Mason Greenwood earns us a point as the Champions League battle goes down to the wire.

IGHALO ALMOST THE HERO

Odion Ighalo is still awaiting his first league goal for the club after being prolific in the cup tournaments. His first touch after coming on as a substitute with five minutes left was a wonderful opportunity, superbly carved out by Greenwood on the right. Unfortunately, the ball landed just a little awkwardly for the Nigerian, who was only able to get his right boot around it and screw the finish off target. Ighalo was very vocal after coming on, yelling for the ball on occasions as he demanded another chance to get a sight on goal.

Odion Ighalo tries to grab a winner for the Reds.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

In terms of the battle with Leicester City for a top-four place, this result means United need only a draw at the King Power Stadium on the final day to seal Champions League football next season. This would have been the same outcome, even if we had won by one or two goals. Things are very much in our hands against the Foxes and that is what this extended season will all boil down to. The Hammers are safe, in 15th place, after earning their point.

Chelsea will be firm favourites to get third - they are facing Liverpool at Anfield tonight before entertaining Wolves at Stamford Bridge.

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