West Brom vs. Manchester United score, player ratings: Anthony Martial struggles in underwhelming draw

Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion held each other to a 1-1 draw that suited neither side’s needs at the Hawthorns as Harry Maguire hit the post with a last-minute header. After dropping points in two of their last three league games, United could ill afford further dropped points as they looked to close the gap on league leaders Manchester City but their task became all the harder in the second minute when Mbaye Diagne overpowered Victor Lindelof to head home his first goal since joining Sam Allardyce’s side as they battle to avoid relegation.

However Albion are still 12 points from safety after they were unable to hold onto their lead until the interval, Bruno Fernandes’ brilliant volley from just inside the area bringing an end to a period of sustained pressure from the visitors. That did not continue in quite the same fashion in the second half, where the best chances fell to West Brom. 

Ainsley Maitland-Niles spurned a superb crossing opportunity whilst when Darnell Furlong got his delivery right Diagne could not direct the ball on target.

Maguire was at the heart of United’s attacking work and thought he had won a penalty in the 62nd minute only for Craig Pawson to overturn his initial decision after consulting replays. The visiting captain rose highest to meet Luke Shaw’s cross and flick a header into the top left corner only for goalkeeper Sam Johnstone to tip the ball onto the post.

Read on to see how we rated the individual performances in the draw.

West Brom ratings

Sam Johnstone: After what had been a surprisingly quiet first 69 minutes the West Brom goalkeeper reacted smartly to block Mason Greenwood’s low drive with his right boot. His late save to deny Harry Maguire’s looping header was even better. Rating: 7

Lee Peltier: An early ankle injury lessened Peltier’s effectiveness for most of the first half but he still defended rather impressively until the dying minutes of the period, when his lack of speed was ruthlessly punished by Luke Shaw. Rating: 5

Semi Ajayi: An excellent performance by the Nigerian international, Ajayi stuck to Cavani like glue and more often than not focused on blocking the Uruguayan’s path to the ball rather than competing for crosses. Rating: 7

Kyle Bartley: Every time a cross came in Bartley seemed to be the man on the end of it, throwing himself toward the ball with admirable courage. Rating: 7

Conor Townsend: Townsend held his flank down impressively, as much as Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were rather slow in getting the ball into play you sensed that West Brom’s left-back was also making life just that fraction more difficult for United’s attackers. Rating: 7

Robert Snodgrass: Snodgrass was as effective defensively as he was on the ball, throwing himself into more tackles than anyone else and winning four of his first four. He rarely got many opportunities to attack but unleashed Ainsley Maitland-Niles with a smart through ball in the second half. Rating: 8

Conor Gallagher: A tempting cross for the opener was Gallagher’s stand-out moment but no less impressive was his energetic pressing from the front. Rating: Rating: 7

Okay Yokuslu: No player in the West Brom side made as many ball recoveries as Yokuslu’s seven in the hour or so before he was forced off in some discomfort following what had been an impressive first start for his new club. Rating: 7

Ainsley Maitland-Niles: At his best, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes in particular couldn’t touch the ball before Maitland-Niles was in their face, blocking any route up the pitch. The problem Allardyce will face is that there were occasions when he simply switched off, offering no resistance for the equalizer and moments later playing a loose pass that would have led to a dangerous Manchester United counter-attack. He also wasted a superb chance to tee up Diagne in the 72nd minute, dramatically overhitting his cross. Rating: 4

Matheus Pereira: Considering West Brom’s best route to goals always seemed to be set pieces and crosses it was infuriating for the Baggies that Pereira’s deliveries so often asked so much of his teammates. Rating: 4

Mbaye Diagne: The prototypical Sam Allardyce striker, he was an immediate nuisance for United and showed impressive strength to get power on his opener. Naturally he was starved of service for most of the game but his energy and commitment to the cause showed no sign of dwindling, something which perhaps explains his tired finishes in the closing stages of the game. Rating: 7

Darnell Furlong (sub, Peltier, 45′):  Having held firm on his flank for most of the half, Furlong delivered a superb cross from the right in the 87th minute, one from which Diagne should have at least got the ball on target. Rating: 6

Jake Livermore (sub, Yokuslu, 67′): Livermore brought exactly what one would expect of him, solidity at the base of midfield. He scarcely gave the ball away when it mattered. Rating: 5

Sam Allardyce: A point against Manchester United is not to be sniffed at and this was a game that showed that Allardyce’s defensive drills are working. Sooner or later Albion will need to cut loose if they are to cut back a 12-point chasm that lies between them and safety. Rating: 6

Manchester United ratings

David De Gea: Why De Gea opted to stay on his line for a looping cross into the six-yard box is something of a mystery with Diagne having such a size advantage over Victor Lindelof. That aside the Spain international had little to do, palming over a Snodgrass header and punching clear under pressure from Diagne. Rating: 5

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: This really wasn’t a game suited to his defensive skills, indeed for most of the match he went rather unnoticed, his rare crossing opportunities never ending in him picking out a teammate. Rating: 5

Victor Lindelof: The Swede may have felt hard done by that VAR did not show the extent to which Diagne was grappling with him for the header that led to the goal. That aside Lindelof offered what you’d expect of him, composure in possession against a side that did not often threaten him without the ball. Rating: 4

Harry Maguire: It said everything about how weak United’s attack looked that Maguire stepping into midfield looked to be the visitors’ best avenue to building any real pressure on their hosts. It did, however, pay off when he added an extra body down the left that dragged the West Brom defence out of position. He did not cover himself in glory with a cynical dive in an attempt to buy a second-half penalty. Rating: 6

Luke Shaw: For all that Fernandes deserves plenty of praise for the equalizer his run to the byline and cross from there was excellent, putting the ball in the space between West Brom’s two narrow lines. It was one of many excellent deliveries; of United’s first six completed crosses four came from Shaw’s boot. Rating: 6

Fred: Slow in possession and lacking the incisive passing to cut through West Brom’s defensive lines, it was surprising Fred retained Solskjaer’s faith for so long when he obviously was not needed. Rating: 5

Scott McTominay: For a game where United were inevitably going to have a lot of the ball more was needed of McTominay, who completed just four forward passes in the opening 25 minutes, early on. In the second half he functioned more as the box-to-box midfielder his side needed, offering dangerous late darts into the box. Rating: 6

Marcus Rashford: Why is Manchester United’s best forward option playing in the position in which he is least effective? Rashford was still dangerous on the right flank but every step he took seemed to require that one step more. Rating: 7

Bruno Fernandes: More than anyone, Fernandes typified a tired first half from the Red Devils until a remarkable volley brought them level. Ultimately it was all he was able to offer in a leggy performance but equally you suspected that without that moment of magic United may have been hammering on the door in vain. Rating: 6

Anthony Martial: All too often crosses would come in from wide and Martial would simply be stood there. There was no movement for the wide players to work with and precious little intensity to his attacking play. Rating: 4

Edinson Cavani: Marshalled ably by Bartley and Ajayi, Cavani’s movement was a constant threat even as he struggled to impact the game in any significant way. Rating: 5

Mason Greenwood (sub, Martial, 66′): The Greenwood of last season would surely have asked more from Johnstone with his one shot. There was an impressive willingness to drive at defenders but the final product remains someway short of what it was. Rating: 5

Donny van de Beek (sub, Fred, 79′): There were moments in this late cameo when you could see him taking up good positions but his team-mates were not finding him. Rating: 5

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Were two sitting midfielders really required away to West Brom? Even Solskjaer seemed to acknowledge they were not with his tactical switches in the second half though he surely could have introduced Van De Beek earlier to attack a settled defense. Rating: 4

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