Manchester United beat West Ham United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was a tough match for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and was nearly a carbon copy of the Emirates FA Cup clash at the start of February in which United needed extra time to find the winner. However, in the 53rd minute, it seemed like Scott McTominay had scored United’s winner but looking at the replay, his header was deflected into Craig Dawson, who beak Lukasz Fabianski, scoring the only goal of the match. United had a total of 15 shots on goal with four of those on target. The Hammers had just seven shots, none on target and all in the second half.
From the very start of this match, it seemed like it was going to be a carbon copy of the Emirates FA Cup clash between the two sides, which was a 0-0 draw, needing extra time to find a winner. Obviously, there is not extra time in the Premier League so the two sides will need to try and win the match. The Hammers got the first chance after Mikhail Antonio drove down the left, forcing Victor Lindelof to concede a corner, which was delivered towards the far post and went straight out for a goal kick. Luke Shaw then powered down the left into the box, passing to Mason Greenwood whose flick hit Craig Dawson before dribbling into Lukasz Fabianski.
In the fifth minute of the match, Declan Rice seemed to have become injured but the soon got up to his feet and continued, which would have been a relief to David Moyes. It seemed that this was going to be a match that would see patience pay off. In the 18th minute, the Hammers were on the attack and Dean Henderson rose through a crowd to meet the ball with Jarrod Bowen coming off worse from a collision with the Hammers midfielder needing some treatment but was alright to continue. Shaw powered into the box again in the 22nd minute but Tomas Soucek got back, conceded a corner with the Hammers holding firm.
In the 25th minute of the match, Greenwood had a good chance, working himself some space on the right edge of the box, before crossing the ball into Marcus Rashford, whose header was glanced wide of the target, which should have perhaps been a much better finish from the forward who has scored 18 goals in all competitions so far this season. Two minutes later, is was Harry Maguire’s turn for some treatment after a collision with Antonio with Maguire needing some treatment to a possible facial injury. He was fine to continue, which was a good sign for United. Greenwood then found more space by Mark Noble was there to intercept the danger.
Greenwood then had a chance dead on the half hour mark of the match, getting free on the left byline but Fabianski was there at the near post, at the second attempt, to gather the ball and nullify the forward’s attack. United then started to step up the pace with Rashford now trying his luck from distance but it was deflected behind for another corner, which came to nothing. Shaw then played an over-hit pass to the left but Dawson was there to clear the line. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was booked in the 35th minute for hacking down Antonio on the left, which was his second league booking of the season.
Greenwood then forced a save out of Fabianski in the 37th minute after he raced through on goal but the Polish goalkeeper stuck out his hand to put the ball behind for another corner, which again, nothing came from it. Two minutes later, Bruno Fernandes’ clever lofted pass picked out Rashford’s run in the box but the forward could not get enough on the ball to threaten the Hammers nor trouble Fabianski. The minutes were added on at the end of the half with it ending 0-0. The Hammers had no shots on goal with United having eight; with two of those on target. This was United’s match to win based on these stats.
Scott McTominay became the second United player to be booked after he pulled back Antonio inn the 49th minute of the match after it seemed like the forward had crossed the halfway line on the attack. The Hammers then decided to test United, not that they had done so in the match so far, registering no shots on goal in the match to this point. It makes you wonder whether Moyes is holding out for a point as his side does not seem to be pushing for a victory. In the 53rd minute of the match, United broke through with Greenwood sliding a cross into Rashford, who was lurking in the box but Vladimir Coufal was there to conceded another corner.
Fernandes took the corner, curling it into the near post with McTominay rising to head the ball into the back of the net but it coming off him and then into Dawson, who beats Fabianski, conceding the first goal with the United midfielder claiming the goal, what was given as an own goal. United then tried to double their lead in the 60th minute with Fernandes’ low drive heading for the bottom corner but Fabianski performed a wonderful save to deny the Portuguese magnifico another goal this season. United kept control of the ball but the Hammers have had five shots on goal, none of them on target with just over 16 minutes left to play.
Rashford was booked for a late challenge on Coufal in the 76th minute of the match with three United players now on a yellow card in this match. Greenwood then had a chance to double United’s lead in the 78th minute after a brilliant junking run down the left, getting into the box and taking on Dawson only for his shot to his the post, which was a shame. However, it was good to see United pressing the Hammers, who deserve nothing from this match for playing passive football at times, especially during the first half. United won a corner which Fernandes took in the 81st minute but Fabianski punched it clear with United regaining possession.
The Hammers were getting players forward in the last few minutes of the match, seemingly trying to get an equaliser, but having a shot on target was the only way that could happen. United’s defence were doing their jobs and keeping the Hammers from creating credible chances. Manuel Lanzini drove into United’s area before trying to play Antonio into space but the ball took a deflection and looped up with Lanzini forced to improvise, resulting in the ball being fired over the crossbar. Daniel James showed his pace as United rushed for was minutes later, whipping the ball in the penalty area but Fabianski dived out and failed to cling onto the ball.
The Hammers seemed frustrated as the match entered the final minutes of play with United doing all they needed to win all three points after their goal in the 53rd minute of the match. James was booked in the first minute of added time, the fourth player to be booked in this match for United. In the end though, United did all they needed to do, beating the Hammers home and away this season, also beating them in the Emirates FA Cup. It was the first double over the Hammers since David Moyes managed United in the 2013/14 season, which seems like another record broken after that dreadful season for the club.
Solskjaer used no substitutes in this match, which will keep some players fresh for the visit to the San Siro when they face AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg with the gave 1-1 with Milan scoring an away goal last week. United will need to turn their attention to that match, seeking to reach the quarter-final draw ons Friday. United then face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday evening, aiming to reach the semi-final, which is a sore point for Solskjaer after losing four consecutive semi-finals; three last season and one so far this season.
Goals: Craig Dawson 53′ o/g
Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; James, Fernandes, Rashford; Greenwood
Substitutes Not Used: Grant, Bishop; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Matic, Shoretire
Bookings: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 35′, Scott McTominay 49′, Marcus Rashford 76′, Daniel James 90+1′
Written by John Walker