Menu

Ranking Manchester United’s Best XI post-Sir Alex Ferguson

Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, Manchester United have been on a rocky path back to trying to win the Premier League title. When playing at this historic football club there is an expectation to win silverware, but United have only managed to win five trophies post-Ferguson. One FA Community Shield under David Moyes, an Emirates FA Cup with Louis van Gaal and the FA Community Shield, EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League under Jose Mourinho.

During this period, United have seen some quality players come and go and this article will present my best Manchester United XI with all the players from this period.

Firstly, the easiest pick of the lot is David De Gea. The Spanish keeper has been at the club since 2011 and has established himself as a United great in this time. He’s put in some of the greatest individual goalkeeping performances in Premier League history with a famous game against Arsenal in which he made a record 14 saves including a tremendous double save to secure United a crucial victory. He has an unbelievable shot stopping ability and was seen as one of the best goalkeepers in the world at one point if not the best. The only competition for this spot would be Sergio Romero who has been a loyal servant to the club but no match for De Gea.

Next is Right-Back. This one is a trickier pick as there’s more competition between Antonio Valencia, Rafael da Silva and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Unlike De Gea, United have changed right fullback a couple times in recent years but for me the best of the three was Antonio Valencia. Wan Bissaka is a fantastic tackler but his all-round game has lacked and can be a liability at the back post when defending. Rafael da Silva was a loyal player who always worked hard but he was shipped out in Van Gaal’s reign and Valencia took his spot at right back.

Valencia started off his career as right winger but was gradually pushed further back. He was a speedy full back who had a great longshot on his day. He was renowned for his step overs before using his good crossing ability to put a ball in the box. He may not be as strong defensively as Wan-Bissaka but going forward he was good and was robust defensively so he goes in at the right-back.

Next is the centre half partnership. The centre back positions at United have been a place for discussion in the last eight years as they’ve struggled to replace the conquering partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. However, in this period, I feel the two best defenders have been Chris Smalling and Harry Maguire. Smalling was a key member of the United team for many years helping them stay afloat in troubling times.

Despite his latter years at the club not being too successful, his importance from post-Ferguson to 2016 is undoubted. Maguire may be a more controversial pick despite only having played two full seasons at the club, but for me he is in the team due to his impact he has had on this back four. Before his signing, United were consistently shaky always being bailed out by De Gea but his signing brought stability and leadership at the back which has helped United keep far more clean sheets and become far more solid defensively. 

At Left-Back its between Ashley Young and Luke Shaw. Young was a Ferguson signing and like Valencia was formally a winger converted into a left-back. At his best he was dangerous offensively with great speed and decent free kick taking. Defensively he wasn’t the best but was stable. Gradually as he got older, he became more liable to mistakes and fell off heavily. Whereas Shaw on the other hand has done the opposite. When he signed in 2014, he was highly promising and looked to have a huge future ahead. But one horror tackle later and he’s struggled to reach the form he once achieved at Southampton.

However, in the last couple seasons he’s improved massively solidifying himself as United’s number one. In the 2020/21 season he got even better with many ranking him as the best left-back in the world that season. Therefore, in my left back slot I will choose Shaw as I feel he’s come the furthest out of any of these players and is now a brilliant player.

The midfield three is an important yet easy choice. Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, and Bruno Fernandes make up the three. Although on paper this would be very offensive, I feel they are the best midfielders since Ferguson retired. Rooney although not an out and out midfielder did play further back towards the end of his United tenure and was a pivotal player in keeping United competitive. His versatility was key to helping bring some of the youngsters like Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford through. Carrick is the type of player United currently miss with his fantastic passing ability, coolness on the ball, great first touch and brilliant reading of the game to stop oppositional attacks.

Fernandes is likely the most disputed pick of the three but for me he’s had an impact like no other in recent years. Before his arrival, United desperately needed creativity and he optimises this with his brilliant passing and vision. Furthermore, he has a real potent threat offensively breaking Frank Lampard’s goalscoring record in a season from midfield. Granted, he’s not the safest in possession and can give the ball away but his work-rate, leadership and his overall effect on this Manchester United team is unmatched.

Finally, the front three. These three are the hardest to choose as United have had some great forwards in recent years. To combat this, I’m going to use two strikers and a number 10 as the combined three. As the number 10 I will go with Juan Mata. Since his signing in January 2014, he’s been a fan favourite with his silky dribbling and impeccable first touch. He has a fantastic footballing brain and his impeccable conduct at the club makes him such a great role model to the younger players. Although not being such a prominent member of the first team in recent years, he’s still showed glimpses of his former self helping United progress through Europa League knockout rounds. 

The two strikers are the hardest positions to choose as there’s options like Rashford who’s played upfront and off the left, Martial, Robin van Persie, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. Arguably all of these forwards haven’t been a consistent first choice striker for United for more than two seasons making it had to have a distinct best player. Therefore, I will go with one option for more longevity and one for peak season. On longevity Rashford takes my pick.

Now, as a player he may not have been the best of the lot but he’s been at the club for a lot longer than Cavani, Van Persie, or Ibrahimovic were and thus deserves a spot. Arguably, Martial could be an option especially due to his 17-league goal campaign in the 2019/20 season, but I feel Rashford has slightly more to his game due to his creation as well as goal scoring ability. Even with numerous injury problems he managed to produce 36 goal contributions with 11 goals and 11 assists in the league

Whereas, in Van Persie’s best league season post Ferguson, he scored 12 goals as the centre forward and likewise Cavani only managed 10 in the league last season. Therefore, despite Rashford not being as well regarded as Cavani or Van Persie, for him to put numbers up like this deserves a spot. Then finally, the last spot goes to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Although only a key member of the squad for one season, the impact Ibrahimovic had was huge. He scored 17 goals and managed five assists in the league as well as being instrumental in United winning the League Cup against Southampton and helping United win the Europa League before a big injury which prevented him from playing in the final.

With young attackers like Rashford and Martial, his experience and footballing brain improved United going forward comprehensively as he became a link to the pair as they played off of him. Cavani had a good year last season, but Ibrahimovic scored more, assisted more and led United to trophies which Cavani has failed to do so far and thus that is why Ibrahimovic is the final player in my team.

Overall, this is the final team:

Written by Ethan Bents

Jesse Lingard’s rise in form could be good for Manchester United this summer

Jesse Lingard has been at Manchester United for the last 21 years, signing for the club as a youth player, previously playing for both Fletcher Moss Rangers and Penketh United. He has made a total of 210 appearances for United as a professional player, scoring 33 goals and 20 assists in his time at the club, making his debut in the 2014/15 season under the management of Louis van Gaal. Sir Alex Ferguson had previously stated that Lingard would be a late developer in the game, which is exactly what he was, although his form stuttered over the last few seasons, which was not good for either the club of the player. During his time at United, Lingard spent many seasons out on loan with Leicester City, Birmingham City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Derby County all clubs he tried to find his form before hitting the high notes at United.

After scoring 13 goals in 48 appearances during the 2017/18 season, which was his peak for scoring goals in his career at United, Lingard then started to fall down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho, the manager who followed Van Gaal then under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, still had a barren period at the club which saw him fall from starter to bench warmer, to a player that missed out a lot of the time. A turbulent time in his family life has helped to cause a downturn in Lingard’s career and in January 2021, the 28-year-old, who should be hitting his peak was loaned to West Ham United under former United manager David Moyes. There was high hopes for the player to raise his game with fewer pressure than he would be under at United, which could reignite the player’s career in the game that he loves.

Lingard made waves at West Ham, scoring nine goals and five assists in 16 Premier League appearances, which saw the player reach for form he once had at United. The season ended with West Ham finishing sixth in the league and achieving a place in the UEFA Europa League group stages. This will be good for the London club next season, although it will case problems as they do not have regular experience of playing in European competitions taking it’s toll on the club. There was a lot of talk at the end of the with the Hammers interested in signing Lingard permanently, but also the player seemingly interested in remaining a United player and fighting his way back into the first team, which may or may not be possible for him. The lack of pressure away from United was good for him, which may result in his performances being stagnant again, if he stays.

Does Lingard have a future at Manchester United?

United have many options at the club already in the attacking positions in the squad and Lingard would definitely be behind Bruno Fernandes playing behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He can also play on either wing, but will be behind Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Anthony Martial on the left and once again Rashford, James, Mason Greewood and quite possibly Amad Diallo on the right. It would see Lingard’s options reduced to a bench warmer once again, or even a player that misses out more often than not. It would be a shame if that happened. There is a chance he could get himself higher up the pecking order with Rashford carrying an injury and maybe needing an operation after Euro 2020 this summer and the fact that players who participated in the tournament may not be in the early stages of pre-season.

This would give Lingard time to impress Solskjaer and perhaps get himself into the squad, either as a starter or a substitute at the start of the 2021/22 season, with United getting ready to start the season at home to Leeds United in the first Premier League match of the season. If United were to complete the signing of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, which looks highly likely at this time, his work to get into the squad would become much harder. Saying that, United will need a payer capable of stepping in for Fernandes, who is clearly fatigued after the delay from the 2019/20 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, then the 2020/21 season commencing after a break of just four weeks or so, then a long and strenuous 2020/21 season, which saw United reach the final of the UEFA Europa League, losing to Villarreal in Gdañsk.

Lingard has shown with his form at the Hammers, that he is still a player that can put in the performances, but it is unknown whether he can meet tat same grade at United, with him working much harder to displace other players at the club in order to get more match time. It would seem that with talented youth coming through the ranks, such as Shola Shoretire, Anthony Elanga and Hannibal Mejbri – it could pose a higher level of difficulty for Lingard to achieve his place in the squad. It all seems complicated at this time, which may be simplified if a number of players were loaned this summer, or even sold. The future of Juan Mata will have a big say in what happens too, as that will leave another player to complete with – which might not be fun for Lingard. He has already had a tough summer, being named in the England training squad but removed for Euro 2020.

The future may look a lot clearer for Lingard away from the Theatre of Dreams

Lingard will become a free agent in the summer of 2022 so there is little time to get something sorted if United wanted to recoup some money from the sale of the player. There have been rumours of a £25 million transfer fee and a wage of £110,000 per week, which is something that puts the Hammers off purchasing the player as their wage bill will be hampered by that much weekly wage on one player. He would become one of the best players at the club though, with experience of the English game and more importantly, European experience, winning the Europa League in the 2016/17 season under Mourinho. There may be much work for both United and the Hammers to get a deal done for the player but there is also a chance that United would offer him a new contract, keeping him at United, or even ensuring that he cannot leave the club as a free agent.

If that was to happen, Lingard would want to be guaranteed game time at United, otherwise he would not sign a new contract as he would become frustrated. There may well be other teams out there who hold an interest in Lingard, which could pay the £25 million fee and pay the wages that he will demand, although he may need to lower his expectations as his time at United, on the wage that he has been on, does not exactly look all that great for him. Keeping Lingard at United could represent the repeat of a mistake, which has been made many times before. Phil Jones should have left the club on the expiry of his last contact with Marcos Rojo also sealing the same fate but new contracts were offered and United were stuck and still are with Jones who has not played for 18 months now. These mistakes need to be avoided if the club is to move forward.

For me, I would rather see Lingard sold. I don’t think the pressure to succeed at United would see him give the same performances he gave at West Ham and with the rumours of a new three-year deal being offered by United, it could represent yet another mistake that could cost United. If the reported £130,000 per week wage is correct, it will price so many clubs out of making an offer for Lingard, even at the end of his contract. Yes, his form at West Ham was good but not good enough for United to give hims a pay rise. He should be taking a pay cut, possibly have a bonus structure tied into his contract paying him more for good appearances but no player would accept that when they know United will pay them higher rates of money, even if they have a track record of poor performances for a number of seasons. Hopefully he wants to salvage his career away from United.

Written by John Walker

Where Are They Now? Nick Powell – raw talent at Crewe led him to United move but it did not work out for him

On the 2 July 2012, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson purchased Nick Powell, 18, from Crewe Alexandra for a fee of £4 million which could have been worth £6 million with add-ons – the transfer was confirmed on the 12 June 2012. The 18-year-old was noticed by United following his exploits for Crewe in a season that the club qualifies for the League Two play-off, winning it by beating Cheltenham Town 2-0 with Powell scoring the second goal – a volley from outside of the box and into the top corner of the goal. Powell won both the Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year awards for his club that season. Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager at the time, stated:

“We have scouted Nick for months now. He is an exceptional talent and has been schooled well at Crewe. I’m delighted he has chosen to come to United. He has a lot to offer and we are all looking forward to working with him.”

During the 2011/12 season at Crewe, Powell made a total of 45 appearances, scoring 16 goals and eight assists, which was a good achievement for a player of his age. Ferguson saw his talent, which was a bit on the raw side, seeing the potential in the player. On moving to United, Powell made his debut in a pre-season coming off the bench in a 1-1 draw with Ajax Cape Town then starting four days later against Shanghai Shenhua, a 1-0 victory for United. The 18-year-old made his competitive debut against Wigan Athletic, scoring the fourth goal in a 4-0 victory in the Premier League.

During his debut season at United, Powell made a total of six appearances for the first team, scoring one goal, making 10 appearances at youth level, scoring four goals and one assist. During the 2013/14 season, after the retirement of Ferguson, David Moyes loaned Powell to Wigan Athletic where he made 41 appearances for the club, scoring 12 goals and three assists – three goals and one assist in the UEFA Europa League. Powell spoke to the Manchester Evening News about the retirement of Ferguson, which came as a shock to him, hearing the news after coming round after surgery, saying:

“I remember waking up from my back operation and he’d announced his retirement. So I had no idea, woke up and then he’d retired.

“I remember saying before that I didn’t want my op, as United had pretty much won the league by then and you needed 10 appearances to get a medal – I was on two or three. I made a couple of bench appearances and I was really enjoying the time, even though I wasn’t playing. He [Ferguson] told me exactly what I was getting into and I didn’t mind that.

“Then to get that news when you wake up from an operation when that was the whole reason you went to the club in the first place…yeah it was a kick in the teeth.

“It was always going to be different when Sir Alex retired. If he wasn’t there and I didn’t have a phone call and meetings with him, I probably wouldn’t have gone to United. So it was always going to be a downhill spiral for me as soon as he left.”

During the 2014/15 season, this time working under Louis Van Gaal at United after the sacking of Moyes in April 2014, Powell was loaned out once again, after playing in that 4-0 League Cup defeat to MK Dons, this time to Premier League new boys Leicester City – playing three times for the first team and four times at U21 level where he scored two goals and two assists. The player returned to United during the winter transfer window after Leicester terminated the loan deal. Powell played five times at U21 level for United, scoring two goals before the end of the season.

Come the 2015/16 season, Powell was to remain at United suffering from a knee injury and needed time to recover after surgery. He made his first appearance for United in 2015 in the UEFA Champions League against VfL Wolfburg, replacing Juan Mata with United losing 3-2 and being knocked out of the competition with PSV Eindhoven beating CSKA Moscow, finishing third in the group and exiting to the Europa League. Powell made two first team appearances for United that season, making three more at U21 level, where he scored three goals and one assist.

Powell was loaned to Hull City during the winter transfer window, seeing out the remainder of the 2015/16 season at the club, making just five appearances for the club and not scoring or assisting any goals. It was safe to say that his career had gone by the way side and he was losing his love of the game, based on Ferguson retiring, injury recovery and a loss of form – the player was in a downward spiral – which was a shame to see based on the talent that had taken him to United. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News about this, Powell said:

“My time at United was poisoned by falling out of love with football. I didn’t feel like I was part of anything at the time. I was in limbo between reserves and first-team.

““I remember people trying to find me because I was late to a reserve game, reserve training, first-team training – purely because I didn’t know where I was supposed to be.

“I’d get onto one training pitch and I’d be told, ‘no, you’re over there this week’ and I’d be 10, 15 minutes late and I’d be getting fined. But nobody was talking to me, I didn’t know where I was supposed to be.”

In June 2016, United made the decision to release Powell from the club at the end of his contract, which was a four-year deal. Powell signed for Wigan as a free agent and stayed at the club for three seasons making 99 appearances, scoring 29 goals and 15 assists – making his club total 140 appearances, 41 goals and 18 assists (including his time on loan at the club from United). Powell was offered a new contract at the club which he turned down in June 2019 as confirmed by Wigan manager Paul Cook, in which he told the Wigan Post, reported by Wigan Today the following:

“Wigan Athletic could not have done any more to keep Nick at this football club. Right up until the end, this club genuinely tried their very best to be in the market to keep him here.

“Unfortunately for us – and the fans must accept this – when you find yourselves up against Stoke City, and a few other big clubs he was speaking to, it becomes impossible.

“But the biggest compliment you can pay Wigan Athletic is that it ended up being such a tough decision for him despite all that. That really is a compliment in itself.”

Powell, now 26, signed for Stoke City on the 25 June 2019 and made his debut for the club in their Championship opener against Queens Park Rangers on the 3 August 2019 but was unable to finish the match due to injury, which saw him miss the next nine matches. During the 2019/20 season, which was delayed into the summer of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic with football all around the world suspended for around three months, made a total of 30 appearances for the club, scoring five goals and five assists.

During the 2020/21 season, Powell made 42 appearances for his club, scoring 12 goals and three assists and seems to be settling into the game and looking ahead to the future. Looking back at his time as an 18-year-old and looking like the next big things in the game, and seeing his his career developed after moving to United, many will see him making what will be seen as the biggest mistake of his career. Ferguson retiring at United was something that he was upset by, as were many other players at the Old Trafford club at the time. United are still seeking to recover from it.

Ahead of the Carabao Cup 5-4 penalty victory over Blackpool, Neil Critchley now the manager of the Lancashire club used to be the academy director of Crewe Alexandra so knew Powell. He gave some advice for the player at his new club and talked about his hope of seeking him develop his career and reach for the top of the game, which is the Premier League, a league he has played in sparingly for both United and Leicester. Critchley spoke to the Stoke Sentinel about the 26-year-old, praising the player for his ability and hoping that he finds his feet again, saying:

“It’s great to see Nick. I’m delighted when I see the way he plays. I’ve known him since he was six and he’s still the same; an unbelievable player, without doubt one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching.

“Physically he’s fantastic, he can use both feet and there’s nothing he can’t do with the ball. I spoke to Michael before the game and asked him and he spoke very well of him as well. I hope he goes on to have a really good season for Stoke this year. I want to see him do what he should be doing – scoring goals and making a difference.”

Powell was a talented teenager but he was not seen as the best player that should be kept around United following the retirement of Ferguson. Granted, the club has still not recovered from that based on the bad decisions of the hierarchy of the club, which is still happening now and the fact the footballing decisions seem to be made by people who know nothing about the game. Powell wanted to thrive at United under Ferguson but the direction under Moyes and Van Gaal were different. Critchley, talking about Powell’s future, concluded by saying:

“I hope so. He’s still young enough, he’s still got years in front of him. That’s sometimes the rollercoaster of a football career. It’s probably not gone the way he would have wanted so far but he’s still having a fantastic career, playing at some amazing football clubs.

“Has he got the ambition and hunger to be a success in the Premier League? I don’t work with him every day now but I know the type of boy he was. He absolutely loves football, lives for football and he’ll be wanting to get where probably things he can play.

“I hope he does that, either personally or by getting there with Stoke this season.”

The future looks good for the 27-year-old as his transfer to Stoke seems to have paid off with him making an impact in front of goal during the 2020/21 season. His contract is set to expire at the end of June 2021, and having been named the clubs Player of the Year for the 2020/21 season. The player is still wanted at Stoke but Financial Fair Play (FFP) and the terms the Stoke players are on at this time make it difficult for contracts to be offered but it is something that the club will be seeking to sort out this summer. Powell has not been named one the retained list published at the end of the season and has not been released either. He is also the only player pictured wearing the clubs new 2021/22 season home kit when it was unveiled, so there are obviously plans to keep him around.

Written by John Walker

Idols: Wayne Rooney Captain, Leader, Legend

On the 31 August 2004, Manchester United signed 18-year-old Wayne Rooney from Everton in a deal worth £27 million. Throughout the month, Everton received an offer of £20 million from Newcastle United after Rooney rejected a new contract worth £50,000 per week. He also handed in a transfer request two leave Goodison Park. United had paid the highest transfer fee at the time for a player under the age of 20. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson knew the type of player Rooney could become after his exploits with Everton. Since emerging as a 16-year-old, scoring 17 goals in 77 appearances before leaving for United.

Rooney had become now of the most sought-after players in Europe following his two seasons at Everton. Also having a starring role for England at Euro 2004, in which he scored four goals, matching new United teammate Ruud van Nistelrooy’s efforts for the Netherlands. Perhaps Ferguson knew what Rooney could achieve at United? If he continued to work hard and develop. The legend would spend 13 seasons at United and win all the major honours at the club, helping United to reach the pinnacle of European football once again under the reign of Ferguson, who did so for the second time in his career.

Rooney made a total of 559 appearances for United, scoring 253 goals and 146 assists. This meant that he offered a goal every 2.21 matches and a goal contribution every 1.40 matches. Rooney had a hand in 399 goals for United, which is a great figure for a player that really played in quite a few roles at the club. He played the main striking position. Also as a second striker, attacking midfielder, a winger. He even played as a defensive midfield at the end of his career. Rooney offered everything he has for much of his United career, keeping United ticking and earning the plaudits. Rooney also played 12 matches for England, scoring 53 goals.

Coming to United as a player with lots of talent.

In his first season at United, Rooney showed what he could become. On his debut for the club, against Fenerbahce in the UEFA Champions League, Rooney scored his first hat-trick for the club as United beat the Turkish club 6-2, scoring 17 goals and six assists in 43 appearances. Rooney averaged 19.46 goals for the club each season and regularly hit around the 20 goal mark each season. During two seasons (2009/10 and 2011/12) he scored 34 goals for the club. In his final season at the club (2016/17) he scored just eight goals for the club. In total, he scored eight hat-tricks for United, scoring four goals in one match, which showed his ability.

His hat-trick against Fenerbahce will be special as it was his first at United, on his debut and playing in the Champions League. He also scored hat-tricks against Bolton Wanderers (twice), and Portsmouth in the Premier League. Two other special ones will be prevalent though; the one against West Ham United on the 2 April 2011 and the one against Arsenal on the 28 August 2011 as United beat the North London club 8-2. Rooney was known for driving the mentality of the club forward, always wanting to win and win trophies. In the summer of 2010, a certain transfer request from Rooney could have chanced everything.

Rooney was being linked to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City. He said it was never an option to sign for City and he would have chose Barcelona over Real Madrid. But the Madrid club were the likely destination. Of course, he never left United, signed a new number contract at the club and continued his career. As Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 season, he confirmed that Rooney had handed in a transfer request once again. David Moyes, Rooney’s former manager at Everton would need to solve that problem. Rooney was sold to Everton in the summer of 2017 just after Jose Mourinho’s first season at the club.

Chasing the clubs goalscoring record and moving on.

At United, Rooney was chasing the goalscoring record set by the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton. He scored 249 goals for United in 758 appearances. Rooney broke that record by scoring his 250th goal in January 2017, scoring three more goals for the club before leaving United. Rooney also broke Charlton’s record for England too, having scored 49 goals in 106 appearances with Rooney scored 53 goals in 120 appearances. He broke the record in 2015. Rooney was a player that craved success and guided United to many trophies with his teammates. His goals were something that helped United massively along the way plus his desire to win.

Rooney won five Premier League titles at United. He also won one FA Cup, three League Cups, and four FA Community Shields. The UEFA Champions League (playing in three finals), one UEFA Europa League and one FIFA Club World Cup were the cream of the crop. Rooney captained United taking over from Nemanja Vidic in 2014, handing the captaincy over to Michael Carrick in 2017. Since his departure, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young (who have both left) and Harry Maguire have captained the club. Rooney may be a distant memory for United now, a player that has played a part in the clubs history but he will always be remembered.

After United, Rooney went back to boyhood club Everton, staying at the club for one season before heading to the MLS in the United States of America. He played for DC United and scored 25 goals and 14 assists in 52 appearances. Rooney then returned to England signing for Championship club Derby County in 2019. He was eligible to play for the club from the 2019/20 season. He is currently the manager of the club. In the future the name Rooney might be heard against at United again as the club signed 11-year-old Kai Rooney last month, for the clubs academy. He will be sure to keep the family name alive at the club, providing he makes it there.

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Luke Shaw the Man of the Match in Hammers victory; Greenwood, McTominay, Fernandes, Lindelof and Maguire all did well

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.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Kept his 11th clean sheet for United this season. Not that the Hammers actually tried to score though with seven shots on goal, none of them on target and all in the second half. He will be pleased with his effort though, especially after a tangle early on in the match.

12345

29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United largely attacked on the left flank with Shaw which did not give Wan-Bissaka much credit but he did have some involvement in the game both defensively and in attack.

12345

2 Victor Lindelof

This was an impressive performance, especially against Antonio. Some suggest that Lindelof gets bullied by the more physical players but that did not happen again this evening. He's put in a few good performances recently too.

12345

5 Harry Maguire

Suffered a head injury in the first half and was shouting at his teammates, which was good to hear, in a leadership perspective. Got the result that was needed, which was another three points on the board to see United got back into second place ahead of the International break with just the Europa League and FA Cup matches to come in the next week.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

Man of the Match once again for me. United were attacking on his side with him being the most potent player on the attack. He offered a lot of width inn a season which has shown his strengths. He made an important block at the end of the match, keeping United in a winning position. This is a cracking season for Shaw.

12345

39 Scott McTominay

Duelled with Rice and his physical play gave him and Noble competition. He initially claimed the goal, which came off him, then onto Dawson to beat Fabianski. It was a shame it was not his goal, which would have been his eighth of the season.

12345

17 Fred

He covered a lot of ground and ran his heart out but in terms of something actually offered in the match, there was little. He needs to find some good form again, which will gain him the credit that he deserves.

12345

11 Mason Greenwood

Provided Rashford with a good chance, which was wide of the target. Came close to scoring from Fernandes' brilliant pass and hit the post in the second half. His luck will come this season.

12345

18 Bruno Fernandes

He played a deep role throughout some of the match, aiming to get some influence in the game. His corner resulted in the only goal of the game being scored, despite it being an own goal with no assist. He played a brilliant ball into Greenwood for his great chance in the first half. It was a shame he could not have scored.

12345

Ratings: Luke Shaw the Man of the Match in Hammers victory; Greenwood, McTominay, Fernandes, Lindelof and Maguire all did well

Showed his pace and had a few good moments in the right flank in the second half. He was not really an outlet that would have provided a goal though, despite trying.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

Put in a lot of effort in the game despite not being fully fit to face the Hammers. Should have perhaps scored at least once in the first half. He played to the end which was admirable and shows what he will do for the team. I long to see a fully fit Rashford though.

12345

Goals: Craig Dawson 53′ o/g

Assists: N/A

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

Confirmed XI: Marcus Rashford starts against West Ham United; Diallo on the bench with United seeking victory

Manchester United return to Premier League action at Old Trafford when they welcome West Ham United this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have had a tough season and despite results not being great, they are not unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions. David Moyes’ side is in fine form at this stage of the season with the club seeking to finish in the European places, which would be a great result for the club and something they will strive to complete as long as they stay in with a chance of achieving that. Jesse Lingard has been a good loan signing for the club, but he won’t be able to feature against United.

United had a poor result at Old Trafford against AC Milan on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg in which Milan scored twice in the opening 11 minutes of the match; the first being ruled out of offside, the second for a hand ball. United scored in the 50th minute of the match with Amad Diallo coming on at the start of the half and scoring his first goal for the club in five minutes. United led until the penultimate minute of added time with Dean Henderson punching Simon Kjaer’s header into the back of his net with the away goal finally being scored, which puts Milan in an advantageous position ahead of the second leg.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

James, Fernandes, Rashford;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Grant, Bishop; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Matic, Shoretire

West Ham United:

Fabianski;

Dawson, Diop, Cresswell;

Coufal, Rice, Noble, Soucek, Johnson

Bowen, Antonio

Substitutes:

Martin, Trott; Balbuena, Alves; Lanzini, Coventry; Benrahma, Odubeko

United and the Hammers have played 49 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 29 times, drawing 13 times and losing just seven times. United have scored a total of 98 times, conceding 45. The Red Devils have won five penalties, scoring four of them with the Hammers winning three and scoring all of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets against the Hammers with the London club keeping just seven. In terms of disciplining, United’s players have been shown a total of 58 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammer’s players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

Earlier this season, United beat the Hammers at the London Stadium with a 3-1 scoreline with saw Tomas Soucek open the scoring in the 38th minute of the match. Paul Pogba equalised in the 65th minute, Anthony Martial put United ahead in the 68th minute and Marcus Rashford completed the scoring in the 78th minute of the match to claim all three points. In this fixture last season, is was a 1-1 draw with Michail Antonio scoring a penalty in added time at the end of the first half and Mason Greenwood equalising in the 51st minute. United and the Hammers met at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in February with Scott McTominay scoring the only goal.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Diallo, Fernandes and James to support Greenwood in attack against West Ham; Rashford to have some involvement?

Manchester United return to Premier League action at Old Trafford when they welcome West Ham United on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have had a tough season and despite results not being great, they are not unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions. David Moyes’ side is in fine form at this stage of the season with the club seeking to finish in the European places, which would be a great result for the club and something they will strive to complete as long as they stay in with a chance of achieving that. Jesse Lingard has been a good loan signing for the club, but he won’t be able to feature against United.

United had a poor result at Old Trafford against AC Milan on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg in which Milan scored twice in the opening 11 minutes of the match; the first being ruled out of offside, the second for a hand ball. United scored in the 50th minute of the match with Amad Diallo coming on at the start of the half and scoring his first goal for the club in five minutes. United led until the penultimate minute of added time with Dean Henderson punching Simon Kjaer’s header into the back of his net with the away goal finally being scored, which puts Milan in an advantageous position ahead of the second leg.

How United have faired against West Ham United in the Premier League.

United and the Hammers have played 49 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 29 times, drawing 13 times and losing just seven times. United have scored a total of 98 times, conceding 45. The Red Devils have won five penalties, scoring four of them with the Hammers winning three and scoring all of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets against the Hammers with the London club keeping just seven. In terms of disciplining, United’s players have been shown a total of 58 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammer’s players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

Earlier this season, United beat the Hammers at the London Stadium with a 3-1 scoreline with saw Tomas Soucek open the scoring in the 38th minute of the match. Paul Pogba equalised in the 65th minute, Anthony Martial put United ahead in the 68th minute and Marcus Rashford completed the scoring in the 78th minute of the match to claim all three points. In this fixture last season, is was a 1-1 draw with Michail Antonio scoring a penalty in added time at the end of the first half and Mason Greenwood equalising in the 51st minute. United and the Hammers met at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in February with Scott McTominay scoring the only goal.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Ham United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

David De Gea is back in the country but must isolate for five days before having a coronavirus test, then he will need another to get back into a stadium – both must be positive. It is unlikely that he has had the time out before this match so Dean Henderson will keep his place, which will be the longest run he has had in goal at United. It has been largely positive for him, apart from conceding that goal against Milan on Thursday evening, which would have annoyed him. Henderson is a capable goalkeeper and I like the fact he is very vocal but he is also inexperienced and playing for United will help that. He should relish the competition at the club.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United have kept four clean sheets in the last six matches, conceding two goals, which is good form, despite some of the results being 0-0 draws. Solskjaer’s defence is stronger than the rest of the team at this present time with up to seven players on the sidelines through injury. Eric Bailly faced Milan on Thursday, which suggests Victor Lindelof will be back in the team tomorrow. Alex Telles also started against the Italians, so Luke Shaw will probably be back in the team. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire will keep their places against the Hammers with United needing a victory to make it easier to finish inside the top four this season.

Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

The midfield is rather depleted at tis stage of the season with just Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic fit to face the Hammers. Matic played against Milan on Thursday, as did McTominay with both players playing 90 minutes. Matic would be a poor pick to start again in a few days, so McTominay and Fred should start together. It may not be ideal but it is the best option right now with neither Paul Pogba or Donny van de Beek likely to be involved due to injury. United had good squad depth in the midfield this season but injuries cannot be helped. Perhaps Solskjaer will draft in a youth player, but their injury woes are not much better right now.

Attacking Midfield: Amad Diallo, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James

It might be a bit much expecting Amad Diallo to start against West Ham but with the injury crisis as it is at the club right now, United have few options. I would like to see him eased in so that he does not get affected by the quality in the league but I think he has what it takes to get something for his club, as was shown with his goal against Milan on Thursday, which he achieved five minutes after replacing Anthony Martial. Bruno Fernandes is a dead cert in this match and after a busy period, he might be feeling the pressure, which is something he will thrive on. Daniel James should be the other starter, playing well in the recent matches.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood

It would seem that Mason Greenwood might be the only fit forward to face West Ham this weekend. It is a shame that it has come to this, which might place a lot of pressure on the forward but he has the skills, the ambition and the determination to succeed and it might just be the right time for hims to shine. Of course, there are rumours that Marcus Rashford could be fit enough to face the Hammers but it may not be all that ideal as if he makes his injury worse, he could be missing for a longer period of time. United should have enough to show their presence against the Hammers but they really need to win this match.

Substitutes: Lee Grant; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Nemanja Matic, Ethan Galbraith, Shola Shoretire; Marcus Rashford

Solskjaer may struggle to fill his substitutes bench with up to seven players likely to miss this match but I managed to think of nine to fill the bench. Lee Grant will be the replacement goalkeeper with the absence of David De Gea. In defence, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe offer something, if needed. In midfield, which is the weakest area right now, Nemanja Matic, Ethan Galbraith and Shola Shoretire could find some involvement in this big match for United. Marcus Rashford could be available on the bench in attack with rumours suggesting that he cold have recovered enough to have some involvement.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United need a reaction from the Milan malaise and beating the Hammers will be a major positive

Manchester United -v- West Ham United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 14 March 2021, KO 19:15 GMT

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Gary Beswick, Sian Massey-Ellis

Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn

Manchester United return to Premier League action at Old Trafford when they welcome West Ham United on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have had a tough season and despite results not being great, they are not unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions. David Moyes’ side is in fine form at this stage of the season with the club seeking to finish in the European places, which would be a great result for the club and something they will strive to complete as long as they stay in with a chance of achieving that. Jesse Lingard has been a good loan signing for the club, but he won’t be able to feature against United.

United had a poor result at Old Trafford against AC Milan on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg in which Milan scored twice in the opening 11 minutes of the match; the first being ruled out of offside, the second for a hand ball. United scored in the 50th minute of the match with Amad Diallo coming on at the start of the half and scoring his first goal for the club in five minutes. United led until the penultimate minute of added time with Dean Henderson punching Simon Kjaer’s header into the back of his net with the away goal finally being scored, which puts Milan in an advantageous position ahead of the second leg.

Manchester United: DWDDDW

AC Milan 1-1 D, Manchester City 2-0 W, Crystal Palace 0-0 D, Chelsea 0-0 D, Real Sociedad 0-0 D, Newcastle United 3-1 W

West Ham United: WLWWLD

Leeds United 2-0 W, Manchester City 2-1 L, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Sheffield United 3-0 W, Manchester United 1-0 L, Fulham 0-0 D

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes is well ahead of West Ham’s top scorer, Tomas Soucek who has scored just over one quarter of the goals the Portuguese magnifico has scored this season.

Manchester United Goals: 23 – Bruno Fernandes, 18 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Daniel James, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

United have managed to get some good results recently despite many draws, which is a positive. It is also something that you would expect when many of the senior players are on the sidelines due to injury. In their last six matches, United have won twice and drawn four, scoring six goals and conceding two, keeping four clean sheets, one of those against Premier League leaders Manchester City last weekend. The 101 draw with AC Milan was a big blow, conceding in the penultimate minute of added time. United will need to show their spirit and get a result in this match to keep them en-route to an easier top four finish in the Premier League.

West Ham United Goals: 8 – Tomas Soucek, 7 – Michail Antonio, Sébastien Haller, 5 – Jarrod Bowen, 4 – Craig Dawson, Jesse Lingard, 3 – Pablo Fornals, Andriy Yarmolenko, 2 – Angelo Ogbonna, Robert Snodgrass, 1 – Oladapo Afolayan, Felipe Anderson, Fabián Balbuena, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Manuel Lanzini, Declan Rice

The Hammers are riding high this season. They sit fifth in the league at the time of writing, two game in hand over Chelsea, who drew 0-0 with Leeds United on Saturday. This means that if they beat United and continue winning, they could topple Chelsea when they have played their game in hand, which could see them in the top four. David Moyes’ side will be seeking European football next season and they are in a great position to succeed in that respect. In the last six matches, the Hammer have won won three, drawn one and lost twice, scoring eight goals, conceding four and keeping three clean sheets.

Team News: United have four players ruled out and are sweating on the fitness of three others with the Hammers having four players ruled out with the fitness of another in doubt.

Phil Jones (knee), Paul Pogba (thigh), Juan Mata (other) and Donny van de Beek (other) have all been ruled out of the match against West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday evening. Edinson Cavani (other), Marcus Rashford (ankle) and Anthony Martial (hip) all have a 25% chance of featuring against the Hammers and David De Gea (paternity) who recently became a father, is back in Manchester isolated for five days in line with the coronavirus regulations. He will need a negative test both at club and Premier League level to be inn contention to play for his club again. That is not expected to happen this weekend but he could be back for Thursday.

Darren Randolph (groin-hip), Andriy Yarmolenko (knee), Angelo Ogbonna (ankle/foot), Arthur Masuaku (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams through injury. Ryan Fredericks (groin/hip) has a 25% chance of being fit to face United this weekend, which means that David Moyes’ side could be without five players due to injury. Jesse Lingard, who has scored four goals for the Hammers this season, is not eligible to face United so will also miss the match. Moyes’ side have been in good form this season and at the time of writing, sit in fifth place in the Premier League, six points adrift of second-placed United.

Predicted Starting XI: Amad Diallo to start his first match for United with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side depleted by injuries ahead of Sunday’s Premier League encounter with West Ham United?

Solskjaer has a few problems ahead of this clash with West Ham United, namely injuries. Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford could all be out of action due to injuries. Also, Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata are also out of contention, giving United problems across three areas of the pitch. David De Gea will also be missing because of isolation following his return to the UK from Spain after the birth of his daughter. It is possible that there could be some surprises with Solskjaer keeping his cards close to his chest, but United look set to be without some major names, which will be a massive blow.

Match Prediction: 49 matches played in the Premier League between United and the Hammers; United have won 29 times, unbeaten 42 times, losing just seven.

United and the Hammers have played 49 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 29 times, drawing 13 times and losing just seven times. United have scored a total of 98 times, conceding 45. The Red Devils have won five penalties, scoring four of them with the Hammers winning three and scoring all of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets against the Hammers with the London club keeping just seven. In terms of disciplining, United’s players have been shown a total of 58 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammer’s players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

Earlier this season, United beat the Hammers at the London Stadium with a 3-1 scoreline with saw Tomas Soucek open the scoring in the 38th minute of the match. Paul Pogba equalised in the 65th minute, Anthony Martial put United ahead in the 68th minute and Marcus Rashford completed the scoring in the 78th minute of the match to claim all three points. In this fixture last season, is was a 1-1 draw with Michail Antonio scoring a penalty in added time at the end of the first half and Mason Greenwood equalising in the 51st minute. United and the Hammers met at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in February with Scott McTominay scoring the only goal.

Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: McTominay the man to lead United to the quarter-finals; the Hammers played poor defensive football and United needed inspiration

Manchester United beat West Ham United 1-0 in the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday evening. It took extra time for United to find the after the Hammers seemingly played for a point in a game that would never see it happen. To play this defensive in a cup match was poor. Victor Lindelof had the best chance of normal time seeing Lukasz Fabianski save his effort in the first half. Mason Greenwood played well and Marcus Rashford missed an easy effort once again, seemingly needing to make things simple again. Scott McTominay opened the scoring seven minutes into the first half of extra time. United will find out who they face in the quarter-final draw which will take place on Thursday evening.

It was a pretty uneventful first half for United against the Hammers. United had the majority of the ball (69.4%). United had eight shots on goal, just one of those on target which was from Victor Lindelof and saved by Fabianski. Mason Greenwood looked in the tone at times, as did Alex Telles, who played well in his first appearance for a while. If United were to make it to the quarter-final of the FA Cup this season, they would need to find some improvement. I felt that the Hammers were playing the game to win a point, which was never going to happen, this being a knockout cup competition. Perhaps the second half would show a better brand and style of football from both teams?

At the start of the second half, United started well but found the Hammers defending well and in numbers. Minutes later, West Ham started to break forward and seemed to be showing the right signs and were asking questions of this United side. Solskjaer will need to make a change or too soon to give United a chance to get something from this match. United made a double substitution in the 73rd minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay replacing Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic. Edinson Cavani then replaced Mason Greenwood. It was a dire second half, worse than the first half. United had five more shots, one of which was on target. They ended the 90 minutes with 64% possession and entered extra time.

At the start of extra time, Solskjaer made another double substitution with Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw replacing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles. United took the lead with the first goal of the game in the 97th minute of the match. Anthony Martial led the counter before Fred found the ball on the overlap. His lofted cross was deflected away to Marcus Rashford who laid the ball off to Scott McTominay, whose run was almost perfect to the edge of the box, burying his shot inside the near post. It is a shame that it took this long for a goal to be score. Many will praise the Hammers, whose zero shots on target to this point showed how much they wanted to win this match.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Will be happy with his fifth clean sheet for United in his 11th appearance for the club. He was not really tested and had one shot on target, which he gathered easily. It was good to see him back in the team. Perhaps he will play again this weekend?

12345

29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played well against the Hammers, despite being largely frustrated with the way Moyes' side played the game. He was replaced by Williams just before the start of extra time.

12345

2 Victor Lindelof

Did what he needed to do defensively. He could have scored the first goal of the match, which was saved by Fabianski. It was not the best game for United but the Hammers defended deep and it was a poor brand of football.

12345

5 Harry Maguire

The BBC game hit the Man of the Match award. He played well in defence but United were not tested by the Hammers, having one shot on target and that came late in extra time. He led his side well and did what he needed to do, which was good to see. Someone will find something to be unhappy about him though!

12345

27 Alex Telles

Played well and had a fair few chances in the first half, showing his ability to break forward as well as defend. The Hammers were poor during the entire 90 minutes and did not pressure the Brazilian. He was replaced by Shaw at the start of extra time.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

Did well for United and offered something to shield the defence, not that the Hammers had many clear-cut chances to win the game. It seems at times that they were playing for a point, which was never going to happen in a cup match.

12345

17 Fred

Resurgent in midfield. Kept running and helping his team break forward and ward off the Hammers, who did not have a single shot on target in normal time. Good to see him get more game time and he will surely get more this season.

12345

11 Mason Greenwood

Showed glimpses of his ability throughout the match but not enough to break down this defensive Hammers side. He will be pleased to have another chance to announce himself this season. He was replaced by Cavani in the 86th minute of the match.

12345

34 Donny van de Beek

It was good to see him start but to expect much from his was too much. He's hardly played this season and will be rusty, needing a run of matches to find some sort of form. Hopefully, with Pogba on the sidelines for a few weeks, he will get his chance.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

I think he needs to start playing a simple game. He is missing the easiest of chances and it is frustrating to watch. He looked to have injured his back at a point, but the initial worries were forgotten as he recovered from the knock. Not the greatest game for the player who made his 250th appearance for the club tonight.

12345

9 Anthony Martial

Made his 250th appearance for the club tonight, just like Rashford. He played well at times, despite seeing United unable to breakdown this defensive Hammers side, which is an embarrassment to football. Why defend so well in a game that not scoring will see you knocked out.

12345

Substitutes

18 Bruno Fernandes

Replaced Van de Beek 73'. United needed some inspiration and it did not happen instantly for United. They did get their goal but Fernandes was not the goalscorer.

12345

39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Matic 73'. Won the game for United with his sublime finish. It was good to see him score his seventh goal of the season for his club. Maybe those who constantly slate him with start to place some respect on his name?

12345

21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 86'. He's got to be United's best forward at the club this season, but even he could not find a way to find a goal awaits the Hammers, who defended for two hours, which was pointless.

12345

33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 90'. Came on at the start of extra time, giving Wan-Bissaka a break after a hard-fought 90 minutes. He did what he needed to do and United got the win, which was important.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

Replaced Telles 90'. Came on at the start of extra time to replace Telles, who played a good game and had a fair few chances. Shaw has been in great form for the past month or so and that continued as United got the goal they needed to win the match.

12345

Goals: Scott McTominay 97′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 97′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka (Williams 90′), Lindelof, Maguire, Telles (Shaw 90′); Matic (McTominay 73′), Fred; Greenwood (Cavani 86′), Van de Beek (Fernandes 73′), Rashford; Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Tuanzebe; Diallo, James

Bookings: N/A

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Rashford, Greenwood and Van de Beek start against the Hammers; Diallo on the bench

Manchester United welcome West Ham United to Old Trafford in the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup this evening. This will be the thirteenth time that United and the Hammers have been drawn against each other in England’s oldest domestic trophy. Both United and the Hammers are in good form with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United scoring 12 goals in their last two matches and David Moyes’ Hammers coming back from a defeat to Liverpool to beat Aston Villa during the week, which saw loanee Jesse Lingard score a brace to help win the match. A draw with Fulham put them on a similar path to United, who also had a win and a draw in their last two matches. This will be a fight of the fittest and the hungriest team will reach the quarter-final stage.

Lingard is not eligible to face United in the FA Cup as he featured against Watford in the third round of the competition earlier this season, so is cup-tied. If he had not played, he could have featured against United should their have no nothing stated in the contract forbidding that. United will be eager to get back to winning ways after having victory over Everton snatched from their grasp at the death on Saturday evening, which made the 3-3 draw feel like a defeat. Solskjaer will need to work with his players in the days ahead to find the problems and hope that they can be solved before kick off at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. United will be seeking to put their semi-final defeat to Chelsea last season behind them and aim to win the cup this season.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Matic, Fred;

Greenwood, Van de Beek, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Grant; Shaw, Williams, Tuanzebe; Fernandes, Diallo, James, McTominay; Cavani

West Ham United:

Fabianski;

Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell;

Soucek, Noble, Rice;

Bowen, Yarmolenko, Fornals

Substitutes:

Trott; Balbuena, Alves, Diop, Fredericks, Johnson; Lanzini; Benrahma, Odubeko

United and the Hammers have met 12 times in the history of the Emirates FA Cup. United have won five times, drawing three times and losing four times. United have scored a total of 21 goals, conceding 15. United have kept four clean sheets with the Hammers keeping two. United have lost just two of their matches against the Hammers in the FA Cup at Old Trafford – the last time being just over 20 years ago; a 1-0 victory for the Hammers in which Paulo Di Canio scored the only goal of the match. Prior to that, the other defeat at Old Trafford was in 1986 before Sir Alex Ferguson managed the club. Ray Stewart and Geoff Pike scored the goals for the Hammers back then.

United last faced the Hammers in the FA Cup back on the 13 April 2016 at Upton Park in the sixth round replay after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford a month prior. Dimitri Payet scored the opening goal in the draw with Anthony Martial equalising in the 83rd minute. At Upton Park, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini scoring for United and James Tomkins getting a consolation for the Hammers. That season, under the management of Louis van Gaal, United went on to win the FA Cup, beating Everton 2-1 at Wembley in the semi-final and then beating Crystal Palace 2-1, after extra time, in the final. It was the first major honour for United after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson three years prior.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW