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The Irons missing factor at Old Trafford


By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings


There has been a lot of comment – and a fair deal of criticism – following last night’s narrow defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

There are clearly differing views on the approach to the game – the make-up of the team – and the overall performance.

But one thing I believe we can all agree on is that getting Jesse Lingard signed up on a permanent deal in the summer is a top priority!

Lingard has had a massive influence on the team since his arrival. Last night his unavailability had a massive influence on the final outcome.

At the whistle all that separated the two teams was an unfortunate own goal. Ironically scored by a player, Craig Dawson, who has also been a massive influence of the team in recent weeks – not only regularly putting in outstanding performances in defence, but chipping in with vitally important goals as well.

His goal at Old Trafford was again the deciding factor – but sadly for us it came at the wrong end of the pitch.

Lingard has been a breath of fresh air  – his link-up play between defence and attack has been impressive. His support alongside and around Michail Antonio has been exceptional.

He adds so much to our play, and Sunday night was a prime example of how much we miss him. David Moyes always knew Jesse would be unavailable, he wasn’t expecting to be without Pablo Fornals as well.

Pablo might not have claimed the spotlight in the way Lingard has, but his contribution in recent weeks has been equally important. To be without both was a sledgehammer blow!

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Two weeks ago Moyes went to the Etihad to face Manchester City and likewise set up to be solid at the back against the best attacking team in the league.

We lost that game as well, but the post-match comments couldn’t have been a greater contrast. Everyone agreeing we deserved a draw. The big difference last night was in personnel – the strategy was right, the make-up of the team wasn’t, for the reasons given.

United are second in the league for obvious reasons. Their game is built on swift counter-attacking. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also been criticised for setting up negatively in certain games.

Most recently at Chelsea where they got a 0-0 draw and a valuable point. But Ole will point to how effective his game-plans have been – perfectly illustrated last week with a 2-0 snatch-and-grab victory over City.

If we had gone gung-ho at United it would have played right into their hands. I don’t believe those who claim they would have been happier with a three or four goal defeat because of that.

We were missing two key players who would have best severed a more attack-minded approach – so Moyes felt the need to adapt.

The criticism has been why not play Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma from the start? It’s true they gave us a lift when they came on, but neither has shown themselves to be as effective as Lingard and Fornals.

It was a gamble Moyes chose not to take. He admitted his disappointment after the game, particularly with our inability to hold on to the ball, or pass it as crisply and effectively as we have been. That wasn’t his fault – that’s the players’ responsibility.

We lost a battle at Old Trafford – not the war! Ironically the north London rivals we love to hate, on the crest of a wave and back to being ‘world beaters’, came crashing down yesterday.

By the time we kicked off the knives were out again for Jose Mourinho. That’s football! Our next opponents are Arsenal, the team that beat the spuds.

With Lingard back, and hopefully a fit again Fornals, why shouldn’t it be all smiles again in the West Ham camp. The players won’t have lost confidence in the manager, neither should we.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

9 comments on “The Irons missing factor at Old Trafford

  1. Totally agree with your assessment Hugh. It certainly shows that our small squad needs strengthening in the Summer. I also thought that their goal should have been disallowed for a foul on Dawson as Maguire was all over him!
    I also think that compared to previous years we have given the so called big teams a good competitive game in the majority of games.

  2. Hugh, if you are suggesting we pay Man Utd 25m for a player with one year remaining on his contract well I have to say I cannot agree when we can get him for peanuts in Dec. We cannot afford to invest the bulk of our transfer on a player like Lingard. Secondly we would have won that game last night if we played the right team whether or not Lingard was inthe team. Benrahma and Lanzini are better players than Lingard but we all know that Moyes does not want these players in his side. The difference was so obvious last night when they came on. I fear for us if we sign some of the players we are being linked to, Abraham, Lingard etc..

  3. Selecting Noble to start was a repeated, recent failure. From those who were available, it should have been Lanzini or Benrahma, for mobility and creativity. Noble is useful for the last few minutes for holding on to what we have.

  4. We were total rubbish. Moyes showed his fear of establishment teams at the top is alive and well in his veins.
    He could do with psychological help to overcome this.
    Only 6th and above matters.
    At least let your players have a go.
    Dont suffocate them in a defensive hell.

  5. Nice article as usual Allen – I did not watch last night’s match but it sounded disappointing, but I agree that we shoudl have faith in Moyes and I am sure that with Lingaard available we will give a better account of ourselves against Arsenal

    It has been an amazing season for us with many highs – but as Moyes has kept reminding us we are still a work in progress with some way to go

    Was the formation wrong – perhaps but that does not mean that Moyes has become a bad manager all of a sudden


  6. Totally agree Allen. We haven’t lost many this year and on the odd occasion we do it’s normally only by the odd goal or two. Funny how the haters crawl out from under whatever rock they’ve been hiding under whenever we lose a game. Thankfully it doesn’t happen that often but we mustn’t let it get to us. Hopefully moyes and his boys can maintain their positive state of mind till the end what so far has been a great great season.

    • Most comments seem to concur, in that they think we were too respectful of a team that have shown faults of their own this season. To call the commenters haters is a bit over the top, don’t you think. Yes Moyes has done an amazing job in a short time, but he’s not infallible. If any of us make mistakes in our jobs we get criticised, why should our gaffer be any different. I don’t agree with the more extreme comments, ie: get rid of him etc. but we are all allowed an opinion and all allowed to be critical when the occasion demands it. I, personally am a Moyes fan, but think he made a mistake on Sunday and took too long to rectify it. Why should I not be allowed to say so without being called names?

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