Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands for the second time this season as Manchester United were once more held to a draw on home soil.
The Portuguese maestro was sent off after an unsuspecting water bottle bore the brunt of his frustration but the two-time Champions League winner will be more concerned about his side’s inability to secure victory than any forthcoming touchline suspension. This was United’s fourth consecutive drawn game at Old Trafford in the Premier League and, like Arsenal, Burnley and Stoke City before them, whilst West Ham rode their luck at times they were well deserving of a point.
The Hammers will be hoping that this result re-enthuses their season after an inconsistent and unimpressive start to the new campaign whilst United supporters may well feel that their title challenge is all but over.
United’s title challenge may already be over
There was not a great deal wrong with Manchester United’s performance against West Ham. Mourinho’s side dominated possession, created a whole host of chances and, on another day, could have won the game by two or three goals. But here lies the crux of the issue – this was the fourth consecutive Premier League fixture at Old Trafford in which United have played well and yet still failed to secure three points.
In the post-match interviews United players and assistant manager Rui Faria (in the absence of Mourinho) appeared to definitively conclude that they were just unlucky – stopped by an inspired goalkeeping performance, a defensively resilient visiting side and some poor finishing. If this was a one-off fixture then they may have a point but, in reality, such games have been relatively common so far this season. The draw was United’s fifth in their last seven Premier League fixtures and it leaves them trailing leaders Chelsea by eleven points.
United have now dropped eleven points on home soil this season and, despite an impressive start to the campaign, the title already looks to be out of reach. Perhaps a greater concern now will be the scramble to grab a Champions League spot, with Mourinho’s side trailing fourth place by eight points.