Luke Shaw

Talking Points: West Brom 1 United 1

Manchester United were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts took an early lead at The Hawthorns through Mbaye Diagne’s header before Bruno Fernandes equalised with an incredible volley just before the interval. United dominated the second period and both sides had chances to claim the win after the break.

It was a day on which a United midfielder reached a landmark appearance, while the squad also claimed a goalscoring milestone and extended our unbeaten away record.

As always when the Reds are in action, there were plenty of talking points after full-time…

Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes scored a tremendous equaliser for United.

What. A. Goal. The Portuguese magnifico pulled off a stunning volley to draw United level just before half-time at The Hawthorns. With his left foot, Bruno found the top corner past Sam Johnstone, leaving the former United Academy goalkeeper with no chance. The wonder strike was his 38th goal involvement for the Reds (22 goals, 16 assists) in 38 Premier League appearances. This latest strike was also Bruno’s 11th goal in 19 away appearances in the Premier League, and he is yet to be on the losing side away from home since he joined the club in January 2020.

Our equaliser was our 50th goal in the Premier League in 2020/21. This is the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign that the Reds have managed to hit the mark in 24 games or less. In our last title-winning campaign in 2012/13, United did so in only 20 matches. The Reds remain the top scorers in the league, with league leaders Manchester City 2nd in that table with 46 goals in 23 games.

Luke Shaw continued his immense season by providing yet another assist on Sunday. The left-back has proved a huge threat offensively this term and showcased his attacking talent when he set up Fernandes for the equaliser. The cross was the 25-year-old’s fourth assist in his last three league games. So far in 2021, no Premier League player has provided as many assists as Shaw. In February alone he has twice as many as any other player so far.

Brazilian midfielder Fred made his 100th appearance for United against West Brom. Since his move from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2018, the hard-working midfield man has developed into one of the most crucial players in our squad. Our no.17 made his debut against Leicester on 10 August 2018. In the red shirt, he’s found the net three times and assisted five goals. The 27-year-old saw a half-volley saved by Johnstone in the first half of our draw with the Baggies, before being replaced by Donny van de Beek with 10 minutes to play.

Fred made his 100th appearance for United on Sunday.

Our Uruguayan frontman celebrated his 34th birthday starting up front for the Reds. With that, he became the oldest outfield player to have played for United on their birthday since Steve Bruce, who also turned 34, in 1994. Edwin van der Sar is the oldest player to play for the Reds on his birthday, when he turned 35 in October 2005. Edi is also only the third Premier League player to play on his birthday on Valentine’s Day. The other two are former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos in 2006 and former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen 10 years later.

After three successive matches at Old Trafford, two in the Premier League and one in the Emirates FA Cup, United were back on our travels on Sunday for the first time since our 0-0 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates. The Reds will head to Turin in midweek to face Spanish side Real Sociedad in the UEFA Europa League as travel restrictions mean the Basque outfit cannot host United in San Sebastian.

Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani turned 34 on Sunday. Happy birthday, Edi!

Mbaye Diagne headed the Baggies in front after 83 seconds. That was the earliest Premier League goal United have conceded since the aforementioned Eriksen sent Spurs in front after 11 seconds at Wembley back in January 2018. United have conceded the opening goal in eight out of 12 away games so far this campaign. On the seven previous occasions before today, the Reds have fought back to claim all three points. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case in the Midlands.

Despite the disappointment at not winning, the 1-1 result means United’s club-record unbeaten league run continues. The Reds have now played 19 consecutive top-flight matches on the road without defeat.