Manchester United slumped to their third straight draw in a row as they played out a bore stalemate against bottom-ranked Hull City on Wednesday at Old Trafford.
After the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal dropped points on Tuesday, Jose Mourinho’s men had the perfect opportunity to gain some ground against closest rivals against a side that have lost nine games on the road.
The Portuguese tactician brought in the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford and David de Sea into the side after giving them a rest for the FA Cup win over Wigan on the weekend.
United scraped through the EFL Cup semifinal with Hull last week on aggregate, despite losing the away leg 2-1. And, the English giants started the game brightly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic testing Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic from distance with a swerving drive.
Ibrahimovic then set up Paul Pogba with a silky touch for a one-on-one. But the world’s most expensive player couldn't find a way past an increasingly-inspired Jakupovic, who made an impressive save to keep the teams level.
While the first-half was strongly in the hosts favour, they were unable to create any real chances further to give a visibly irate Mourinho some food for thought.
Wayne Rooney replaced Michael Carrick after the interval as Mourinho tried to inject some energy in his midfield.
Pogba tried to atone for his first-half miss, with his pin-point long ball finding Marcus Rashford in the box. But the young striker was only able to snatch at the shot, which trickled wide of the Hull goal.
As the chances continued to slip, the Red Devils faithful urged their side to score but with Ibrahimovic then missing a simple volley from inside the box, Mourinho sent on Juan Mata for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to find that ‘killer’ goal.
Mata would be the person who went closest to breaking the deadlock within minutes of coming on, but his close-range shot was smothered by Jakupovic after Marcos Rojo’s header across goal had found the Spaniard unmarked near the far post. The Swiss goalkeeper was seemingly unbeatable at the moment, much to the home side’s frustration.
With United committing almost every man for a goal, they were left exposed at the back and Lazar Markovic almost made them pay when his curling shot hit the post with United goalkeeper David de Gea nowhere near to making a save.
While a loss would have been extremely unfortunate, United didn't do enough to warrant a win despite their dominance in the possession battle. To make matters worse, derby rivals Manchester City thumped West Ham 4-0 on the night and are now level with fourth-placed Liverpool on 46 points.
United remain in sixth place on 42 points and with 15 matches remaining, they are in danger of dropping out of the race for the Champions League spots.