No luck this time...
United 2-2 West Brom
In a 4-4-2, which then became a kind of 4-3-3 when Giggs was subbed off for Gibson after looking like tweaking his hamstring, United dominated proceedings. A few slips, though, and we throw it away once again. This time, at home.
As Amer had so prophetically predicted, Chicharito started alongside Berbatov with Rooney on the bench after so much speculation about what was going on in the United dressing room with the whole "injured, not injured" situation.
4 minutes in, Nani takes a free kick which Scott Carson in the Albion goal could only parry into the feet of Chicharito who dutifully finishes it for his first league goal of the season. Not bad, you'd think.
And it got better, Nani capitalising on Nicky Shorey's slip, United cut West Brom in two - and it's two-nil.
After half time, I caught Ferguson walking out, all smiles, waving to the crowd... after all, we were on top, he could allow himself that.
Vidic had a glorious chance to make it 3-0, and effectively seal the game. But his header from Nani's corner hits the bottom of the right post and the score remained 2-0.
And then, it started to go pear shaped. Again.
First, Anderson tracks Morrison back (I think it was Morrison... it could've been Brunt) and fouls him in the process. Free kick close to the byline, just outside the area. Brunt whips it low, comes off Evra, goes into the goal. 2-1.
Then, West Brom, admittedly, have a bit more possession and Rafael basically leaves Brunt free on the right, their left, and he loops one into the box—harmlessly, it seemed.
Horror for Edwin. Regulation catch, you would've thought... but he fumbles. And lets West Brom back in the game. No-one around him, well, that is to say there was no pressure on him. And suddenly, Tchoyi was there to pick up the pieces and parity was restored. Parity on paper, at least.
If this wasn't classed as a crisis before, I'd certainly call it a crisis now.
At the end of the first half, I was satisfied with what I'd seen. We moved it around alright, and didn't look to be in danger.
West Brom had a lot of possession for an away team coming to Old Trafford, the stat read 56%-44% in United's favour towards the end of the first half.
Going two goals up was encouraging too. In the back of my mind, I was thinking "Rio and Vida at the back, this should be safe." Didn't worry about it, and was enjoying the football.
Sure, at times the lack of cutting edge was worrying, but we were two goals up. I had faith that the goals would come.
But the failure to kill the game is what bugs me. What I don't want, as an ardent United fan, is to get used to this feeling after a draw. I used to be despondent after we'd drawn a match, and absolutely raging if we'd ever lose.
It's times like these that I wish we had someone there to fire us up. I noticed the crowd was quiet throughout the match—even when we were leading. The only times they bothered to get up off their seats was when we scored. Otherwise, it was the whole prawn sandwich brigade atmosphere so famously coined by one Roy Keane.
As I was saying, though, I had faith that eventually we'd kill it.
But here and again, another thing that bugs me: I don't understand why Fergie keeps his faith in Anderson. He started. Again. After that absolutely dreadful performance at Sunderland, he thinks "yeah, y'know what, he'll be right for another start..."
If you asked me to tell you something meaningful that Anderson contributed to the game and I'd be stumped. Not because I'm biased and really frustrated with him at the moment, though maybe that'd come into it... but because he, again, just didn't convince me that he should be playing for us, let alone starting the ruddy match.
And as if it wasn't bad enough, what peeved me a little, then a lot, was the commentary. Now I don't want to detract from reacting to the football, but it must be said—those two commentators get on my nerves big-time. I don't know their names, I guess they don't work for Sky... 'cause I recognise Sky talent when I hear it. But, they insisted that West Brom deserved the result, that they weren't phased by playing at Old Trafford and their positive play was deserving of the goals they received.
Bull-fucking-shit. I'm gonna go right ahead and say that they deserved absolutely nothing from this match. Maybe a congratulations that they managed to keep it down to 2 goals conceded. It was a lazy mistake by Anderson and an own-goal for their first goal, and an absolute howler for their second. Where West Brom's positive play comes in? Well... you decide.
Perhaps, rather than saying that United deserved the result for, once again, producing an uninspiring performance, they wanted to look at it 'positively'. But hey, there's no running away from the facts.
No cutting edge once Giggs left the field. And I'm starting to worry about Rooney. He comes on, with Scholes, at around 71 minutes, in place of Carrick, who played reasonably well, and Anderson, who looked about as comfortable as a Principal with diarrhoea at assembly.
Even with 3 recognised strikers on the pitch, and Nani in an advanced, attacking role, there wasn't really much in it, attack-wise in the second half for us.
Other than that Vidic chance, only Rooney had one good shot on target - teed up from an indirect free kick in the box after Carson had caught a back pass - in the entire second half.
That's nowhere near good enough for Manchester United. Not even close. With a mid-week game in Europe and an away game at Stoke on Sunday, I'm hoping we weather this early season disappointment and click into gear fast.
This is URGENT. 5 draws from 8 games is woeful.
So today, unfortunately, it's another victory turned into a draw, and another 2 points quite definitely dropped, bringing our total to 10 points dropped.
Where We Stood, Where We Stand
Does this change much? Yes. Fucking Arsenal go ahead of us. And Chelsea and City have an opportunity to make the gap wider.