Manchester United’s hopes of a top four finish took a blow at Old Trafford on Saturday, as they were held to a goalless draw by West Bromwich Albion. They were the better side throughout the match, though were punished for squandering their chances.
The tone of the match was set in the first half, with José Mourinho’s men dominating possession but struggling to break down a typically well-organised Tony Pulis defence. Jesse Lingard was at the heart of all of United’s promising attacking play, going close himself early on before twice delivering dangerous crosses into the Baggies’ box. The second was met in the area by Anthony Martial, though the Frenchman’s glancing header flashed wide of the target.
United continued to dominate early in the second half, and created a string of early half-chances to break the deadlock. Perhaps the best of all fell to Marouane Fellaini after a Henrikh Mkhitaryan effort was blocked in the box, though the Belgian could only screw the ball wide from close range. Mkhitaryan himself was slipped through with just over 20 minutes left, though Ben Foster charged off his line to thwart the Armenian.
The former United shot-stopper was West Brom’s hero by the end of the match, making two more outstanding saves before the final whistle. Both were on long-range attempts by Marcus Rashford, shots that were destined for the top corner but for Foster’s intervention. There was only one real scare at the other end, with another ex-United player, Darren Fletcher, seeing his shot touched onto the crossbar by David de Gea in the final few minutes.