West Ham United 3-1 Manchester United
Brian Jeeves reporting from the London Stadium
Turning the clock back to September 29, 2018, and an eye-catching display from Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers against Jose Mourinho’s stuttering Manchester United side…
WEST HAM UNITED produced a scintillating display as Manchester United were comfortably beaten in an eye-opening Premier League encounter at the London Stadium.
Following impressive league performances against Everton and Chelsea, followed by a Carabao Cup goalfest during the week, there was an air of confidence – so often notable by its absence – which was filtering around the London Stadium.
Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, echoed those sentiments, albeit cautiously, explaining: “We are feeling confident as we prepare to face Manchester United at London Stadium on Saturday.
“This is the cause, of course, because our mood is always linked with our results but, I think, in our worst moment when we lost our opening four Premier League matches, I always saw the players working hard and believing in what we are doing.
“We improved our results and now we need to win our first game at home in the Premier League on Saturday.”
Manchester United’s cup exit at the hands of Derby County had cranked up the pressure on Jose Mourinho. And with his relationship with the supporters, as well as the players, seemingly frosty, the United chief appeared to be walking an increasingly slippery tightrope.
And it wasn’t long before the dark clouds descended further upon the United boss. Pablo Zabaleta delivered low from the right, and Felipe Anderson provided a cheeky backheel finish sparking wild scenes of celebration amongst the pumped-up home crowd.
United’s response was laboured. Nevertheless, they came close to an equaliser when a familiar foe – Romelu Lukaku – send a thumping header against the outside of an upright following a sweeping move involving Ashley Young.
But shortly before the break United’s troubles deepened. Andriy Yarmolenko’s effort deflected off Victor Lindelof, wrong-footing David De Gea as it sailed high into the net – it was no more than West Ham deserved.
Arnautovic and Marouane Fellaini exchanged half-chances as the second period started a little less explosively. However, the latter could only look on in disbelief as Lukasz Fabianski brilliantly kept out his goalbound header as United stepped up the tempo in a bid to halve the deficit.
Arnautovic was a whisker away from a telling contact with Anderson’s delightful pass. But United now sensed an opportunity, and with just under twenty minutes remaining Marcus Rashford supplied a cheeky finish after Luke Shaw had fashioned the opening.
But Manchester United’s joy was short-lived. Arnautovic profited from Mark Noble’s toil, racing clear before dispatching low into the net, all but sealing the contest.
Scott McTominay tested Fabianski from distance, but the game was up for United who were soundly beaten by an increasingly improving Hammers outfit.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Friday, October 5 when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium (8pm).
West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Fabian Balbuena, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic (Michail Antonio 84’), Felipe Anderson (Grady Diangana 90+3), Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble (Capt), Andriy Yarmolenko (Robert Snodgrass 72’), Issa Diop, Arthur Masuaku, Declan Rice Subs not used: Adrian (GK), Angelo Ogbonna, Ryan Fredericks, Lucas Perez
Goals: Felipe Anderson 5’, Andriy Yarmolenko 43’, Marko Arnautovic 74’
Manchester United: David De Gea, Victor Lindelof (Marcus Rashford 57’), Paul Pogba (Fred 70’), Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial (Juan Mata 70’), Chris Smalling, Ashley Young (Capt), Luke Shaw, Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay Subs not used: Lee Grant (GK), Eric Bailly, Ander Herrera, Matteo Darmian
Booked: Ashley Young (foul)
Goals: Marcus Rashford 71’
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
Reaction to follow…