Five things learned from Manchester United's draw with West Brom: Rojo, Falcao & Fellaini feature

Louis van Gaal

Manchester United drew 2-2 with the Baggies on Monday night. Here are five conclusions for Louis van Gaal's men...

Enough talk of 'philosophy'

Louis van Gaal can't be blamed for all of Manchester United's current problems (namely, their back four). But the Dutchman is doing himself no favours with his pre-match talk.

All Van Gaal could discuss before his side visited the Hawthorns was his 'philosophy,' an abstract concept that doesn't really mean anything. Right now, United need results and they need their manager to sort out their back four, treat their opponents seriously and stop talking about his by now infamous 'philosophy.'

The weeks go by, the defence doesn't get any better

The United boss has his work cut out when it comes to his defenders, however. Marcos Rojo looked way off the pace once more against West Brom - and so did Phil Jones.

Luke Shaw was no better, though, while Rafael also let some rare (based on recent form) errors creep into his game. Where to start with how bad this defence looks?

Falcao's importance is already obvious

Man United could perhaps still have won their clash in the Midlands despite their defensive travails - had they started Radamel Falcao. The Colombian has only played a handful of games for the Old Trafford outfit but has already made his importance clear for all to see.

Whether he didn't start for tactical or fitness reasons, the 28-year-old was missed and United did not look a threat until Marouane Fellaini was introduced in the second half.

A future for Fellaini?

But what an impact the Belgian made. He was given his most effective role - further forward where he could wait for deliveries in the air.

His goal came after a superb chest control, turn and rifled finish into the top corner. Could Fellaini have a future in Manchester, after all? Perhaps with a manager who deploys him in the right position, he just might.

It's a three-horse race... but not for the title

United's Premier League campaign so far seems to point to one thing, the same thing that Arsenal and Liverpool's seasons also point to: the fact that all three sides look the likeliest to battle it out for a top-four place - but that neither of them are good enough to win the title.

After eight league fixtures so far, Liverpool (somehow!) are fifth in the table, nine points off league-leaders Chelsea. Van Gaal's men are a further point behind in sixth and the Gunners one further in 11th. Realistically, all three look too poor to challenge Chelsea and Manchester City but will likely fight for third and fourth.

That, though, is assuming Southampton, West Ham and Swansea City don't stay near the summit of the table...

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