Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-1 in the Premier League at the London Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side once again came from behind to set their unbeaten away run to 29 matches now, two more than Arsenal’s record from 2004. Said Benrahma opened the scoring in the 30th minute for the Hammers but five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the match. It looked like a 1-1 draw before Jesse Lingard won the match for United. There was late drama with a penalty awarded for the Hammers but David De Gea made the save from Mark Noble’s effort. What a match, what a moment, what a result!
It was a lacklustre start for United and the Hammers with chances being created by the home side and United seemingly using luck to deny the Hammers from the lead. Harry Maguire seemed to have a mistake in him in this match, which was a worry but the doubts were soon forgotten about as United started to find comfort in the match. There was a hairy moment for Paul Pogba in the opening stages after Kurt Zouma caught his foot and the Frenchman was writhing on the floor in agony – he soon recovered through. The Hammers took the lead in the 30th minute through Said Benrahma, assisted by Jarrod Bowen.
David Moyes seemed ecstatic with the goal as he has not yet beaten United since he was sacked in April 2014 but like Alan Pardue in the Emirates FA Cup final in 2016 – he celebrated too soon. Five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo had scored his fourth goal of the season – his 122nd goal for United, levelling the score in this match. United then started to dominate the game for bursts, pressing for a second goal to put them in the lead for the first time in the match – but it was not coming, at this time anyway. The Hammers regained possession and were trying to get ahead again but at the end of the half, if was a fair 1-1 scoreline.
There were no substitutions at the start fo the second half from either team and United were once again seeking to get the better of the Hammers, but were not able to at this stage. The home side were also trying to get back in the match and take the lead – things not working out for them either. It all seemed to be one way traffic around the hour mark in the match, which was probably worrying for the Hammers but United were unable to get anything from their attacks – but that would be tiring out the defence, which is dangerous ground for them. The Hammers then broke forward but the game was stopped due to a foul on Scott McTominay.
The Hammers made their first substitution in the 68th minute of the match with Andriy Yarmolenko replacing Nikola Vlasic. Just after the change, it seemed that United could have given away a penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka tackled Tomas Soucek, but the referee gave the free-kick to United. Solskjaer was readying a double substitution with Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard replacing Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba. Minutes after the substitution, Ronaldo was seemingly fouled in the box but the referee gave nothing. On replay, it seemed that Ronaldo ran into the player, therefore was not fouled. United were still trying to break the deadlock.
In the last 12 minutes or so of the match, David De Gea gave away a corner after a defensive error in lofting the ball back to him. Luckily nothing came of that set-piece. United made their third substitution in the 88th minute of the match with Nemanja Matic replacing Fred. The Hammers also brought Manuel Lanzini on for Benrahma. It seemed that Lingard won the game for United a minute after coming on, beating the Hammers goalkeeper from range to put United ahead with Matic assisting the goal. The West Ham fans had their heads in their hands as they knew what Lingard could do after his loan spell last season and he righted a wrong from the last game too.
There was some more controversy in this match though with penalties. Ronaldo went down in the box again, and yet again nothing was given with the Portuguese record breaker looking bemused. It seemed to be one of those days. But at the other end of the pitch, as the Hammers were seeking to avoid defeat, Luke Shaw gave something away with an outstretched arm in the box, which clipped the ball. The referee had given a corner but VAR was brought into play for this one and the penalty was awarded. Declan Rice stepped up by Moyes made his third substitution with Mark Noble replacing Bowen to take the penalty, which David De Gea saved.
What a day for De Gea, who was no stranger to penalties but saving them was a different story. United lost the UEFA Europa League final to Villarreal on the 26 May 2021 11-10 on penalties with De Gea not saving a single one, also missing his spot kick. To see him save this and keep the win for United, as opposed to the draw is magnificent. The confidence he will gain from that is immense and it will help him on the road to becoming the goalkeeper he once was for the club. What a match, what a moment and what a result. United will have the Hammers again on Wednesday evening, this time at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup third round.
Goals: Said Benrahma 30′; Cristiano Ronaldo 35′, Jesse Lingard 89′
Assists: Jarrod Bowen 30′; Nemanja Matic 89′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Matic 88′), McTominay; Greenwood (Sancho 73′), Fernandes, Pogba (Lingard 73′); Ronaldo
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Van de Beek; Martial
Written by John Walker