The game of two halves cliché is one that is over used. In United's case it was more of two personalities, Jekyll and Hyde if you must. West Brom, to their credit were pretty consistent throughout. Useful with the ball in opposition territory and never afraid to play on the deck, although at times they were caught.
The home side however, went from a team in their pomp during the opening half hour, to a side a little too pompous, squander openings for the sake of being meticulous. Even with a two goal lead, footballing karma has a way of making you pay, usually to the same degree or more as you should have made the opposition.
The departure of Ryan Giggs, through one of those reoccurring injuries appeared to instigate the United slide. Yet it was perhaps his manager's decision to introduce Darren Gibson to the centre of midfield and push Anderson wide that maybe upset United's rhythm. The young Brazilian appeared to be coming to himself, the self that shackled Gerrard and Fabregas in his first season at the club.
Gibson and also Carrick, who was having a tidy game up until then, just could not provide the verb and bounce that had kept West Brom on their heels. Gone was the surge from the heart of United, and with Gibson the more offensive of the two, the plays started going more sideways rather than forwards. Rooney's introduction after the Baggies drew level did little to lift the side and probably did even less for the man himself.
Their fifth draw already this season, a strange start for a side that tends to go for broke when games look to be ending in a tie. Sir Alex focused on his team’s lack of ruthlessness, at both ends it might be added, as the source of their miserly points tally. But personnel are slowly returning to the United ranks.
Vidic and Ferdinand are cosying up once more. Rafael must get more games, while the return of Anderson and the blossom of Nani gives United something that they have relied on in previous title winning seasons, options. Hargreaves or no Hargreaves, the squad is a strong one, stronger than last year. The only problem is...the rest are stronger too.