Manchester United reclaimed second place in the 2020-21 Premier League table as an unfortunate Craig Dawson own goal saw the hosts register a narrow 1-0 win over fifth-placed West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday. The home side took control of the first half after a slow start, enjoying the better chances, only to see their efforts thwarted by a dogged and determined West Ham backline.
However, they did not let the intensity of their attacks drop and were rewarded for their efforts early in the second half when Dawson headed a Bruno Fernandes corner into his own net.
Manchester United had several opportunities to extend their lead and put the tie beyond the reach of their opposition. But poor finishing and West Ham’s robust defending ensured that their advantage remained a slender one. It seems like a long time ago that David Moyes was unveiled as the new Manchester United manager, taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson and starting a new era in the club’s history.
However, Moyes’ time at Old Trafford did not go according to plan, as the Scotsman swiftly moved on before enduring frustratingly short spells at a few other clubs. This latest defeat at Manchester United was Moyes’ 11th loss to go along with four draws, as the Scotsman’s search for the winning formula at his former home rolled on to another season.
After a breakthrough season when he led the line for United and scored 23 goals and provided 12 assists, Anthony Martial would have hoped to kick on and improve this season. With Marcus Rashford having a similarly productive season, Mason Greenwood also among the goals, and the talismanic Bruno Fernandes beginning his first full season with the Red Devils, the Manchester United faithful would have hoped to be scoring heavily this campaign. However, only Fernandes seems to have kept last season’s form going while his fellow attackers have struggled to keep up, resulting in Solskjaer’s men lacking sharpness in front of goal this season.
While the addition of Edinson Cavani has made up for some of the drop in goals, the lack of a guaranteed goal-scorer at Manchester United has become increasingly apparent as the season has progressed.
Even against West Ham, the Red Devils created but also subsequently passed up a number of presentable opportunities. They ultimately had to rely on an opposition player to score into his own net to break the deadlock. After recently restructuring their hierarchy regarding player acquisition and negotiations, it remains to be seen how high a bonafide goalscorer ranks on the summer shopping list of Manchester United’s newly-appointed Director of Football.
While Moyes has gone a long way towards rebuilding his reputation in his second spell at West Ham, he is still to banish the demons of Old Trafford once and for all. That’s because, as a visiting manager. he remains winless at his former stomping ground.