The West Ham manager has been criticised for his use of direct tactics throughout his career, but yesterday it was Manchester United who had to use the tactic to salvage something from the game.
On 72 minutes Marouane Fellaini was introduced and the long balls began being pumped up field. It was a switch that paid dividends when Daley Blind scored a 90th minute equaliser.
“You might just criticise Louis Van Gaal for playing long ball as much as I’m sometimes criticised for being direct," said Allardyce. "In the end it’s paid off for them. You can’t knock it in the end!"
West Ham have been commended for an improved style of play this season, something that's seen them establish a serious challenge for European football. But are they playing better football than the most successful team in British football history? Is it possible that Allardyce has instilled a style of play easier on the eye than a team comprising world stars including Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria?
Analysis shows that despite Manchester United being mauled for their performance at Upton Park, Van Gaal's side actually had a better pass completion rate than their opponents - 78 per cent to 69 per cent. They also created more chances (10 to 8), had more shots (18 to 13) and saw more attempts to take on their opponents (14 to 12).
Those figures suggest that Manchester United in many ways played 'better' football than West Ham yesterday - more shots, more chances and a higher pass completion rate. But what about across the season?
West Ham 1 Manchester United 1 player ratings
West Ham 1 Manchester United 1 player ratings
1/22 West Ham: Adrian
Impressive performance from the Spanish goalkeeper. He wasn’t tested too many times but when he was, in particular from Robin van Persie in the second half, he stood firm. 7
2/22 Carl Jenkinson
Not as effective as he has been recently. He struggled to cope with Radamel Falcao and allowed Adnan Januzaj to get the wrong side of him too often. Came close to scoring when his cross-cum-effort when inches past David de Gea’s goal. 6
3/22 Cheikhou Kouyate
What a goal. He did excellently to turn and shoot past David de Gea. Alongside the composed figure of James Tomkins he was able to express himself. He was also the most effective at stifling Angel di Maria. 8
4/22 James Tomkins
Back into the team and he did not disappoint. He kept composed when his defence was under threat and did brilliantly to block a Robin van Persie effort that looked destined for the back of the West Ham net in the second half. 7
5/22 Aaron Cresswell
Consistently he has been one of West Ham’s best players this season. Defensively not much gets past him and he’s no slouch at getting forward. His delivery from the left is superb. 6
6/22 Alex Song
Made a few sloppy errors in the first half. Lucky not to have been punished when his pass across his own box was intercepted by Robin van Persie. 6
7/22 Kevin Nolan
Still not a fans’ favourite as the fans near the press box in the west stand made clear. He was constantly overrun in midfield and wasn’t able to deal with Wayne Rooney running at him. 6
8/22 Mark Noble
Dependable performance from Mr West Ham. Tireless work marking Adnan Januzaj, who can break quickly, but Noble dealt with him well. 7
9/22 Stewart Downing
Behind Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia, the English midfielder seemed to run into trouble a little too often and didn’t press forward as much as he has been able to before. 6
10/22 Enner Valencia
A constant threat to the Manchester United defence. Used his pace effectively to move into areas where the ball could be fed to him. 7
11/22 Diafra Sakho
No sign of his recent back injury causing him any bother. He didn’t use his physicality as well as he should have and was too slow to react in the final third. No doubt he’ll get his sharpness back with a few more matches. 6
12/22 Manchester United: David De Gea
Sharp to react to the penetrating runs of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho. Did brilliantly to deny Valencia in the first half. Beaten by a strong Cheikhou Kouyate volley. 6
13/22 Phil Jones
Handled the physicality of Diafra Sakho well. He won the majority of 50/50 balls in the air against the Senegal international. A composed performance. Could possibly have done better to stop Cheikhou Kouyate getting his shot away. 5
14/22 Luke Shaw
Caught out of possession a few times by Enner Valencia who never allowed him out of his sights. Pressed forward well. Sent off for a horror tackle on Stewart Downing. 5
15/22 Antonio Valencia
One of Manchester United’s best players against West Ham. Highly effective on the right. Worked particularly hard to support the attack but made sure to track back when required. 6
16/22 Marcos Rojo
He never stopped grafting. Very quick out of defence but covered for Luke Shaw when the English defender pushed up. He did pick up an unnecessary yellow card for a reckless tackle on Mark Noble. 6
17/22 Angel di Maria
In behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, the Argentinian playmaker struggled to make an impact. His delivery from set pieces were particularly poor as they failed to beat the first defender. 5
18/22 Adnan Januzaj
50th game for Manchester United three days after he turned 20. Early on his was relatively effective on the left side but as Carl Jenkinson started to read where he was going the Belgian ran out of options. Replaced by Marouane Fellaini after 72 minutes. 5
19/22 Wayne Rooney
A little out position but his ability to link up the midfield and attack is always required. A threat to West Ham after the Hammers took the lead. Very creative from a fairly deep role. 7
20/22 Daley Blind
Not as strong as he has been. Playing in front of the defence you expected him to stay calm and tidy up loose balls. Bypassed a little too easily by Stewart Downing. Scored a beautiful goal to bring his side level. 7
21/22 Radamel Falcao
Too often he appears a little too casual. His movement created space but when he got the ball he didn’t progress play often enough. Missed a sitter to level the scores when one-on-one with Adrian. 5
22/22 Robin Van Persie
Failed to punish Alex Song’s mistake in the first half when the midfielder played across his own box. Didn’t link up with Radamel Falcao as much as he has done previously. Should have levelled the match with minutes remaining. Good movement, though. 6
Manchester United score a higher number of goals per Premier League game (1.67 to 1.5), have a better pass completion rate (85 per cent to 76 per cent) and make more passes (529.96 per game to 364.58 per game). When it come to the average pass length, statistics generated by Squawka.com show that West Ham's is 20.53m whilst Manchester United's is 19.35m.
However, the long-ball statistics are somewhat confusing as whilst West Ham on average make longer passes, Manchester United actually attempt more long balls per game. Van Gaal's side make 79 long balls per Premier League game whilst Allardyce's team make 70.
The number that matters most to both teams though is the points on the table and as it stands Manchester United lead by seven.Reuse content