Manchester United beat West Ham United 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Emirates FA Cup. It was the Hammers who opened the scoring through Saïd Benrahma in the 54th minute of the match. An own goal from Nayef Aguerd became United’s equaliser in the 77th minute. Alejandro Garnacho then scored the winner in the 90th minute with a superb finish before Fred got United fifth in added time. United will face Fulham at Old Trafford next.
It was not the best start from either team. In the sixth minute, United had a chance on goal through Marcel Sabitzer who was fed by Wout Weghorst from 20 yards with the Austrian striking a powerful effort towards the goal which needed some action from Alphonse Areola, who responded very quickly to deny United from an opening goal. United were the team that was most likely to dominate the game though with their positive passing and pressing.
Alejandro Garnacho and Antony were the ones getting a lot of the ball for United with the Brazilian getting a good chance on goal but missing the target in an attempt to loft the ball over, curling it into the top far corner. It was a positive from the Brazilian though. Michail Antonio had a good chance for the Hammers in the 24th minute, running straight to David De Gea who was off his line, cutting the ball out of play. Antonio should have been better there.
Harry Maguire was booked on the 27th minute for a foul on Antonio. In the 32nd minute, Scott McTominay became the second player to be booked in the match for a foul on Saïd Benrahma. There was clearly a lack of quality in this United team this evening as United made this match look hard. In the 38th minute Pablo Fornals found Antonio on the edge of the box but he lacked conviction with his strike and it went straight to De Gea.
United would need to be a lot better if they are to get the victory over the Hammers without extra time/penalties this evening. Erik ten Hag would not have been happy with what he saw and towards the end of the half, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Marcus Rashford were all warming up, possibly to be brought on at the start of the second half. United needed something to happen to change the course of the match and a substitute could be that.
It was 0-0 at the end of the first half and United will have gone into the dressing room at the Theatre of Dreams to get some kind of rollicking from their manager. The Hammers will have been confident going into the break although they did not have all that much firepower on the bench with United having plenty. United would need to get something done early in the second half to have something to build on throughout the second half. Come on UNITED!
At the start of the second half, Casemiro replaced McTominay, who was on a yellow card. De Gea made a save to deny Tomáš Souček in the 50th minute of the match. United seemed to be under the cosh at the start of the second half. In the 54th minute, Souček seemed to put the ball back into play, passing to Benrahma who beat De Gea to put the Hammers 1-0 up in the tie. United now needed to find a way to get back into the game. VAR took a look, giving it.
In the 58th minute, Ten Hag made a double substitution with Lisandro Martinez and Marcus Rashford replacing Victor Lindelof and Antony. West Ham were almost 2-0 up on the hour after Fornals connected with a sweet half volley from an angle and De Gea rooted to the spot. He did not get enough swerve onto the ball and it was just wide of the target. De Gea made another save in the 64th as Antonio left Martinez in his wake but lacked conviction again.
United had a shot through Bruno Fernandes in the 70th minute of the match after Antiono and Declan Rice were doing well to try and hit United again. The effort from the Portuguese midfielder, which was on the volley from 20-yards was off target. United had the ball in the back of the net in the 72nd minute with Casemiro banging it in but after VAR looked at it, it was ruled out for offside. It seems that something is amiss with VAR again – shock!
United got the ball into the back of the net again in the 77th minute from a set-piece. Fernandes supplied a quality ball into Wout Weghorst, who was being marked by Nayef Aguerd resulting in the Moroccan heading the ball into the back of his own net. United had a shout for a penalty denied in the 82nd minute after Alejandro Garnacho was taken out in the box. Nothing was given though – it would have been harsh on the Hammers if it was given.
Lucas Paquetá was booked in the 82nd minute for a foul. United ended up winning a corner but got nothing from it – although they did threaten but Areola got the ball. United had another corner minutes later but once again, it came to nothing. United had a lot of quality on the pitch but were not getting the advantage of having that. This team needed to dig in a little deeper. Alejandro Garnacho won the game for United in the 90th minute.
The finish from the Argentinian international was fantastic from 18-yards into the bottom far corner. What a goal it was for Garnacho – his fourth of the season so far. United needed to keep this now. In the fifth minute of added time, Raphael Varane replaced Garnacho. Fred then scored United’s third of the evening, assisted by Weghorst. It was a quick glimpse of the United we know and a quick wave goodbye to West Ham United, the bubble blowers.
David De Gea: The Spanish goalkeeper made a big save to deny Michail Antonio in the first half but seemed to kick the ball to clear, flirting with disaster rather than picking it up at times. West Ham could have scored more goals, but failed. De Gea made another find save and 1-0 down. Then United got back into the match, found the winner and doubled their lead over the Hammers minutes later. It was a poor match for United though, as a whole. ★★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: Had a good chance to score but missed a gaping goal after Alejandro Garnacho’s shot was parried. United could have taken control of the match from there – but it was an off day. Seemed to switch off, with some teammates as Saïd Benrahma opened the scoring at the start of the second half. Aaron Wan-Bissaka seems to be the right-back in form right now and he was rested, presumably for Sunday. ★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: He will have been happy to get more minutes this season after seemingly losing his place to Raphael Varane. He was not terribly bad against the Hammers but seemed to panic a lot which was not good to see. There is a reason why Lindelof and Harry Maguire seldom play and this demonstrated it. It just is not a way to confidently set this team up to win. United conceded in the 54th minute and he was replaced by Victor Lindelof five minutes later. ★★★★★
Harry Maguire: Booked in the opening 27 minutes of the match. He was caught out by Michail Antonio on a one-on-one and should have been the player to be replaced by Lisandro Martinez as he just did not seem to be all that positive for United. He was better in the second half and did well with Martinez when he replaced Lindelof. His future at United seems to be up in the air and despite playing around 1,000 minutes this season, it won’t be enough. ★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: He was one of the most fluid players in the United back four but failed to have an impact in the final third, which was a shame. Luke Shaw, on his day, does this both defensively and attacking. He had plenty of effort against the Hammers but in terms of quality, that was lacking for him in this match. That said, he is a decent up and coming player and will learn a lot in the not too distant future. It has been a positive week for him. ★★★★★
Scott McTominay: The Scotland international made his first start in the Emirates FA Cup this evening with Casemiro being rested, albeit on the bench ahead of the Liverpool clash on Sunday. The United academy graduate was booked for a foul in the first half of the match. He had a good chance to show what he could do but that was nothing spectacular against the Hammers. It was not a good performance from him at all. ★★★★
Marcel Sabitzer: The Austrian started after his impact against Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. He had a good chance to score his first goal for United but Alphonse Areola made the save. He did not strike up much of a partnership with Scott McTominay in the centre of the midfield, but the Scotland international was not a good choice against the Hammers. I felt he was lacking some ability. Sabitzer was better with Casemiro. ★★★★★★
Antony: Seemed to be lively for United and tried to beat Alphonse Areola early in the first half, seeking to find the to far corner but it was wide of the target. There were some glimpses of skill from him but he was not doing anything like he was against Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. In the 58th minute of the match he was replaced by Marcus Rashford with United 1-0 down and seeking to get back into the match. ★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: The Portuguese midfielder was not on the top of his game against West Ham, at least for the majority of it. In the second half, with more quality on the pitch, his game was raised. He created two goals, only one of them stood though. He never got a goal or an assist but played his part well, in the second half especially. In the last 20 minutes of the match, he was determined to see United into the quarter finals of the FA Cup. ★★★★★★★
Alejandro Garnacho: Glad to see him start again. He gave the Hammers a lot of trouble on the left-wing but in terms of support, he had little and was seemingly always closed down by a group of West Ham players. He got into the box at times in the first half but never really threatened despite getting some joy with his pace. Scored the winner in the 90th minute with a great finish – his fourth goal of the season. What a player he is becoming. ★★★★★★★★
Wout Weghorst: despite not scoring a goal, he played a part against the Hammers. He jumped to reach the ball which Nayef Aguerd headed into his own net and was the first United player to celebrate that goal – minutes after Casemiro was denied by VAR. He got his third assist of the season for Fred’s goal which secured United’s win after Garnacho scored United’s second goal, which seemed to be the winner in the 90th minute after the Dutchman’s shot. ★★★★★★★
Casemiro: Replaced McTominay 46′. He helped to raise the gam for United. He is such an important player for this squad. He should have had the equaliser but VAR called it offside. His probing passing was what helped United. His instruction at the start of the second half, along with others later, gave United the belief to push and win this match. The Brazilian had another good headed effort on goal too, but did not score it. A brilliant midfielder. ★★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: Replaced Lindelof 58′. He was aggressive against Michail Antonio, which will not work for United in the long term. He was dominated physically by the West Ham forward. He will need to be a lot better than this against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. He has been one of the best defenders at the club this season but has had an off game here and there. Partnered with Raphael Varane, he is much better. ★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: Replaced Antony 58′. His fresh legs provided a different threat against the Hammers. He had a chance on goal but was unable to find his 26th goal of the season. His introduction was a positive for United but many would have liked to see him rested for this match and much fresher for Sunday – but United have three days before Sunday to get ready for the big match of the weekend. Rashford is a great player for United. ★★★★★★
Fred: Replaced Sabitzer 86′. Came on late in the match to add more freshness and ability in the midfield and ended up scoring his sixth goal of the season. What a player Fred has become at United under Erik ten Hag. The Brazilian added a lot of energy on the pitch, as he usually does and it seemed to be the end for the Hammers on his introduction. Alejandro Garnacho scored four minutes after his introduction before Fred scored in added time. ★★★★★★★
Raphael Varane: Replaced Garnacho 90+4′. Came on in the fourth minute of added time. In terms of impact, it was just to keep United holding on to their lead as United have suffered late in matches played this season. It is great to see that something has been learned from that. The Frenchman did what he needed to do before Fred scored United’s third goal of the evening to seal the win. He will be fresh for Liverpool on Sunday and he should start that. ★★★★★★
Goals: Nayef Aguerd 77′ o/g, Alejandro Garnacho 90′, Fred 90+5′; Saïd Benrahma 54′
Assists: Wout Weghorst 90+5′; Emerson 54′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof (Martinez 58′), Maguire, Malacia; McTominay (Casemiro 46′), Sabitzer (Fred 86′); Antony (Rashford 58′), Fernandes, Garnacho (Varane 90+4′); Weghorst
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Wan-Bissaka; Pellistri; Elanga
Bookings: Harry Maguire 27′, Scott McTominay 32′; Lucas Paquetá 82′
Written by John Walker