Comments / analysis on this PPT are from Sam Gregory. They are shown below the gif.
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Rafael started the match really strongly, with quite a few runs down the right, one of which led to Rooney’s opener.
Rooney and Falcao both played pretty centrally in a formation that looked much more like a 4-3-3 than the diamond midfield of United’s last few games. Robin Van Persie was isolated out on the right hand side of the pitch almost the entire match without being too involved in the play aside from his goal.
Downing started the match in a very advanced role for West Ham, but started to drop more deeply into the midfield as the half progressed and saw much more of the ball, giving Enner Valencia and Sakho more space up front.
With Di Maria having a bit of an off game Herrera was more involved than he had been in previous matches, playing centrally despite his starting position as the right sided midfielder.
Compared to the first half where Rooney was very involved, for the fifteen minutes he was on the pitch during the second half he was completely anonymous and saw very little of the ball. Then he had his moment of stupidity taking the red card which changed the complexion of the match.
After the red card West Ham’s attack became much more fluid. The key change appeared to be Jenkinson coming on for Demel who hadn’t had much of an attacking presence all match. Jenkinson played much further forward and had a lot of the ball while making runs down the right hand side of the pitch.
Manchester United’s introduction of Antonio Valencia really shut the game down in the last five or ten minutes as he held the ball up on the right side of the pitch killing the clock.
West Ham showed glimpses of their performance from last week against Liverpool, but unlike against Liverpool when their chances came on the fast break, United were in a shell for the final 30 minutes which didn’t give the Hammers the same opportunity to attack at pace.
Louis Van Gaal moved Rooney further up the pitch in an attempt to transition from a diamond midfield to a 4-3-3 in this match. The change seemed to isolate Van Persie, but given Rooney’s inevitable suspension this isn’t a formation we are likely to see again from United for at least the next three matches.
Article by Colin Trainor