Manchester United twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Monday. It was another night of frustration for Louis van Gaal's side, with the Reds' defensive play again undermining their attacking promise.
The game had barely settled into a rhythm by the time West Brom had taken the lead, when Andre Wisdom charged down the left and rolled the ball across for Stéphane Sessègnon to lash into the top corner from the edge of the area. Neither Marcos Rojo nor Luke Shaw covered themselves in glory, and left United with a mountain to climb.
Before long the Reds dominated the match, but save for some occasional probing from Ángel Di María, they didn't have the incision to match their control of possession. Fortunately, West Brom didn't cause too many problems either, save for when Graham Dorrans slipped in behind Shaw and whipped a lethal ball across the face of goal. Rojo looked more solid as the half wore on, and he backed up his occasionally-cavalier positioning with some fine tackles.
At halftime Louis van Gaal elected to bring on Marouane Fellaini for Ander Herrera, in a masterstroke of a substitution that paid off within three minutes of the restart. The big Belgian brought the ball down on the edge of the penalty area, and took a touch before driving it straight past Boaz Myhill and into the back of the net for 1-1.
Suddenly United looked much more threatening, with a string of dangerous balls pouring into the West Brom box, but the Reds failed to convert them into a second goal and paid a heavy price. Just past the hour, Phil Jones was caught badly out of position, and Saido Berahino was sent through on goal via the massive gap left between Rafael and Rojo. The young striker made no mistake when one-on-one, and the Baggies were back in the lead.
Van Gaal responded by throwing Radamel Falcao -- who was benched due to jetlag -- on for Juan Mata, though a piece of individual brilliance from Robin van Persie almost pulled United level with just under 20 minutes left. He caught the ball on the half-volley on the edge of the penalty area, though the woodwork kept his rocket from nestling in the back of the net.
The clock ticked on and it looked increasingly like United were set for a shock defeat, until Daley Blind opened his United account with a fine strike with just three minutes of normal time remaining. He was first to a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area, and slotted it low and just inside the West Brom post with a perfect finish.
United laid siege to the West Brom box for the remainder of the four minutes of stoppage time, though they couldn't find a winning goal.