Manchester United disappoints again in scoreless home draw vs. West Ham
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United's attacking shortcomings were exposed again in a 0-0 draw against West Ham in the English Premier League on Saturday, with the team jeered off at Old Trafford after the fifth goalless stalemate in its last nine games.
A flurry of late chances didn't disguise the problems United has up front under manager Louis van Gaal, who was missing captain Wayne Rooney to compound his shortage of strikers.
West Ham — injury-hit and without a clean sheet in its previous nine games — struck the post twice in the first half and wasted great one-on-one chances through Victor Moses and Mauro Zarate.
United dominated the final half-hour but was denied by a mixture of fine goalkeeping by Adrian and wayward finishing. United dropped to fourth place in an increasingly tight title race.
Morgan Schneiderlin limped off in the first half in another injury concern for United ahead of what could be a must-win game at Wolfsburg on Tuesday to advance in the Champions League, but that won't be its biggest worry.
Former United manager Alex Ferguson didn't take charge of a goalless draw in his final 116 matches at the helm, and United used to be known for fearless attacking football. It's a different story under Van Gaal.
Some United fans have been calling for Rooney to be dropped because of his underwhelming form, and they got their wish after the captain was ruled out on Friday with an ankle injury.
It didn't result in an injection of pace and penetration, though, as the tall Marouane Fellaini was deployed as the second striker and United's buildup play was as one-paced as usual.
The hosts were lucky to go into halftime drawing, with Zarate — from a ricochet off his face — and Winston Reid's header hitting the same post in the space of two minutes. Earlier, Moses raced through one-on-one, but was denied by David de Gea.
Fellaini and Bastian Schweinsteiger were fortunate to escape at least a booking for a studs-up tackle and elbowing an opponent in the face, respectively, in the first half.
Early in the second half, Zarate ran onto Andy Carroll's lay-off but sliced badly wide from eight meters out, and the match was then played almost exclusively in West Ham's half.
Fellaini, Juan Mata, Schweinsteiger, Anthony Martial, and Jesse Lingard all squandered chances for United, and the final whistle was greeted by boos.