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Report: Romelu Lukaku sank West Ham with an Old Trafford debut brace; Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial score too

Manchester United beat West Ham United 4-0 at Old Trafford in the opening game of their Premier League campaign. In the days before the match, manager Jose Mourinho said United were on fire, and he was right. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, assisted by Marcus Rashford. The Belgian’s second goal came off his head with Henrikh Mkhitaryan assisting. United’s third goal was scored by Anthony Martial, Mkhitaryan the provider again. United rounded off the scoring through Paul Pogba, a thundering effort, assisted by Martial. United have started the new season at the top of the league.

Jose Mourinho named a good starting XI to take on the Hammers with his side having a bright start. West Ham also had a bright start, nothing to write home about for either side in the opening six minutes of the match. In the seventh minute of the match, Romelu Lukaku got the ball on the left flank, ran up the pitch and tried to get a cross into the box, which was cleared for a United corner. The corner came to nothing with the Hammers clearing and Blind getting a cross into the box, hitting Nemanja Matic with the ball going out for a goal kick. A bright spell from United there, unlucky not to find something.

In the eleventh minute of the match, Paul Pogba got away from his marker and saw his low cross cut out by Winston Reid. Henrikh Mkhitaryan then hit the ball over the crossbar from inside the box, which was the best chance yet for United. In the 14th minute, Juan Mata played a pass into Marcus Rashford on the edge of the box. The forward was challenged and went down easily, nothing given by the referee and West Ham made the clearance from danger. United then started their attack again. In the 16th minute of the match, Daley Blind had the ball at the edge of the box, not sure if it was a cross or a shot, but he was wide of the target.

United had a great chance to take the lead in the 19th minute of the match with Joe Hart off his line, brought out by United, the ball being played in the box and a scuffle to get the ball into the back of the net. West Ham cleared the ball, which stopped United from taking the lead, luckily. United maybe need to be a bit more ruthless up front. United were still trying to piece something together in the 21st minute of the match with a looped pass over to the left flank for Blind to cross into the box, going out of play for another goal kick. United won a corner minutes later, Blind reaching Bailly who put the ball out of play.

In the 25th minute, Rashford tried to get something by twisting and turning in the box to get through from the left flank but his effort was deflected behind. United were still looking strong. Mata had a great chance in the 27th minute, not aiming for a goal, squaring the ball across the face of the goal to create a chance, which was thwarted by the Hammers. United won another corner soon after, the threat being cleared for another with Lukaku looming and Hart clearing his area. United took the lead in the 33rd minute of the match through Lukaku with Rashford doing the work to get the ball into the box and Lukaku firing, striking the post and in.

Nemanja Matic was having a great game for United as half time approached. Not only was he commanding his area, he also attempted to create something himself, showing that he was not just a one trick pony. Mourinho will be proud of his newest signing of the summer. Eric Bailly was booked in the 43rd minute for a challenge on Javier Hernandez, who was being a tricky customer in the match, but nowhere near as dangerous as he could be. There was a minute of added time at the end of the half, West Ham had a chance, with David De Gea making the save, Bailly and Pogba clearing the danger. 1-0 to United.

Four minutes into the second half and Rashford could have doubled United’s lead, latching onto Pogba’s pass, making the run and getting close to the box and launching his shot, which was wide of the target. Pablo Zabaleta was booked for a foul on Rashford in the 51st minute of the match, United winning a free-kick just outside the box on the left flank. Lukaku scored his second of the day from the free-kick with Mkhitaryan putting the perfect ball into the box and the Belgian striker heading home. 2-0 United and a second Old Trafford goal for the £75 million man.

Mkhitaryan found the back of the net in the 57th minute after some good attacking play by United, but Rashford was offside, having played the ball on the attack and the third goal was ruled out for United. Just before the hour, Marko Arnautovic’s looping header clipped the bar in the first credible chance for the visitors. United getting a ticking off by the manager, who ran from his seat and into the technical area. Antonio Valencia was booked for a challenge on Arnautovic in the 60th minute, just before the Hammers made their first change with Edmilson Fernandes replaced by Diafra Sakho and Declan Rice replacing Mark Noble.

Immediately after the changes, United were looking for a third with Lukaku unlucky to complete his hat-trick. Pogba, latching onto the ball coming back saw his effort deflected by Zabaleta with the home side winning a corner. Mkhitaryan made a good run towards the box, firing his shot but Hart thwarted the effort. United were playing with such an attacking threat that the Hammers will be happy when the whistle has been blown for full-time. United seem to have changed in the year from Mourinho’s first Premier League match to the first of this season. A lot better and better with attacking chances too.

In the 66th minute, Rashford had a superb strike on go from just inside the box, beating the keeper, who dived to save the effort and striking the post and. Unlucky for Rashford, who seems determined to get something from the game today. Mourinho will be happy with his team, who seem to be pulling out all the stops to entertain and impress. In the 71st minute, after some good interplay with Valencia, Blind, receiving the cross had a shot on goal, just hitting it slightly over the crossbar from a wide-angle. Mourinho sent Marouane Fellaini, Matteo Darmian and Anthony Martial out to warm up, seemingly looking to make some changes.

Lukaku had a shot in the 75th minute, over the crossbar. Fellaini replaced Mata in Mourinho’s first change of the match with United reverting to a 4-3-3 formation. West Ham started to try to piece something together after the United substitution. Some poor clearing by Blind could have seen Arnautovic score, but his shot is still rising now. In the 79th minute, Mourinho brought on Martial to replace Rashford to a rousing reception. West Ham made their third change with Aaron Cresswell replacing Arthur Masuaku. Martial, in the 82nd minute, had the ball on the flank, passed to Lukaku who thought he may have been offside, not taking the chance to score his third of the day.

74,928 supporters were at Old Trafford to see new summer signing Nemanja Matic put in a great performance and more importantly see new striker, Romelu Lukaku score his brace. In the 85th minute, Lukaku was put through to try to complete his hat-trick, Hart getting the ball. In the 88th minute of the match, Anthony Martial scored the third goal for United after Mkhitaryan played the ball in for the Frenchman. After the celebration, Jesse Lingard replaced the Armenian as the third and final change of the match. United went 4-0 up and top of the Premier League after Paul Pogba scored United’s fourth goal, assisted by Martial – some good play from the French teammates. Manchester United send West Ham packing after a 4-0 victory.

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 33′, 52′, Anthony Martial 87′, Paul Pogba 90′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 33′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 52′, 87′, Anthony Martial 90′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind; Matic, Pogba; Mata (Fellaini 75′), Mkhitaryan (Lingard 88′), Rashford (Martial 79′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Smalling, Darmian; Herrera

Bookings: Eric Bailly 43′, Antonio Valencia 60′

Starting XI: Mourinho looking to start the season strongly against West Ham United

Manchester United open their Premier League campaign against West Ham United at Old Trafford this afternoon. Romelu Lukaku could make his Premier League debut for United and against the Hammers, the Belgian has scored nine goals in his last ten appearances against the London club. Anthony Martial, who missed the UEFA Super Cup final as an unused substitute has scored five goals against Slaven Bilic’s side, so he will be looking to get the nod from Jose Mourinho either from the start or at some point in the match. United ideally need to take all three points here, their first home match of the season, if turning the Theatre of Dreams into a fortress once again is what Mourinho and his side intend to do. United will have a tough season ahead of them, Chelsea were beaten by Burnley on Saturday, Liverpool drew with Watford, Arsenal narrowly beat Leicester City on Friday evening and Tottenham Hotspur are currently drawing 0-0 with Newcastle United. Here is today’s team news:

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind;

Matic, Pogba;

Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Smalling, Darmian; Lingard, Herrera, Fellaini; Martial

Manchester United have the better results against the Hammers and today, at Old Trafford, that needs to be the case with Jose Mourinho’s side starting the new season strongly. Come on United!

Starting XI Prediction: Romelu Lukaku looking to get his goal tally started against West Ham United

Manchester United start their Premier League season against West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday. Jose Mourinho will be seeking a good start in the league this season, three points at home would do just that, Hammers manager Slaven Bilic will be looking for a good start too. United have had the better pre-season, playing eight matches in total, one of those the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid earlier in the week. During pre-season, Mourinho has been trying out different formations, namely the 3-5-2 formation, which has many different versions, a 3-4-3 being possible. Whether Mourinho starts that at home remains to be seen. I think United will play 4-3-3, which should see both Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera having free roles in midfield with Nemanja Matic sitting in front of the back four and keeping watch for his teammates.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper will be back to his best after his summer break. David De Gea has Sergio Romero as his back up goalkeeper, a fine keeper to have in reserve, which sees United strong, even when Jose Mourinho is rotating his keepers. De Gea is the best number one in the Premier League at this moment in time and will be looking to strengthen his side with a clean sheet, the first of the season. He may have to come against Javier Hernandez, but United’s defence should have enough to stop the Mexican from finding the back of the net.

Back Four: Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian

United’s back four will be a mismatch until Luke Shaw is fit to play again. Mourinho has already confirmed that he, Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo will remain on the sidelines. Shaw could be back in September, but whether that means fit to train or fit to play, remains to be seen. Antonio Valencia is the guy many want to see as the right back, getting forward and creating chances, also putting pressure on the opposition’s defence. Matteo Darmian should start because he is the best defensive minded fullback at the club, which creates a back three, so to speak, with him, Bailly and Jones the line of defence ahead of De Gea. Eric Bailly and Phil Jones were both suspended for the UEFA Super Cup and both are fit to face the Hammers. Mourinho will be looking to keep his side fresh early in the season, which could see much rotation. Victor Lindelof may need some time to settle, not looking the sure starter just yet, but will and should be given time.

Midfield Three: Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

United’s midfield three could dominate in the Premier League this season. Real Madrid were the dominating midfield on Tuesday, but the Premier League does not have a club like the Madrid side, so United will not have to come up against a team as strong. Nemanja Matic should make his Premier League debut for United, sitting in front of the back four and allowing both Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba to play further up field and do their thing. Herrera could be called to mark some of the attacking or creative West Ham players, leaving Pogba to create and try to find the back of the net. Last season, the Frenchman was unlucky not to score many goals, he hit the woodwork many times, which shows his class and determination. This season, now Pogba is free of his ‘most expensive player in the world’ label, he could just surprise all of his critics.

Forward Three: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial

United forward three have the class, guile, pace, and determination to score for the club this season. Henrikh Mkhitaryan showed his class last season, scoring many goals, most of them in the UEFA Europa League. During pre-season, he has bagged a few goals but has also looked out of sorts at times, which could be worrying ahead of the new season. Still, if he is not chosen, Marcus Rashford could fill in the void in this position. Perhaps Mkhitaryan is better through the middle, but in a 4-3-3, there is not a number ten player and Mkhitaryan would not do what Pogba does in midfield, so a wing role, in this formation at least will be his. Anthony Martial on the other flank will be great for United. The Frenchman did not play against Real Madrid, suggesting he could start on Sunday. He needs to and also needs to have a great game, silence his critics who suggest he is not happy and does not want to be at the club. Romelu Lukaku, the striker will be on fire for United if they play well. Last season he scored 25 goals for Everton and with a better class of player behind him, but could see him bang more goals in the back of the net. Joe Hart, are you ready?

Key Players & Battles: Matic and Hernandez key in West Ham clash; Bailly, Herrera, and Lukaku to have battles on the pitch

Manchester United will be pitted against West Ham United in their opening match of the new Premier League season at 16:00 BST on Sunday at Old Trafford. Javier Hernandez could get his return to the Theatre of Dreams and his competitive West Ham debut after sealing a move from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen during the summer. Jose Mourinho has tipped a seven-way battle for the Premier League title this season, of which the Portuguese manager will be seeking to keep his second-season record alive having won the league at every club he has managed in his second season; FC Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Hammers manager Slaven Bilic will be looking to put last season behind him, starting well in the league against United, aiming to take three points away from the Theatre of Dreams, Mourinho, on the other hand, will be looking to do the same thing, start the Premier League season with a good victory.

Key Players: Nemanja Matic and Javier Hernandez hold the key for Manchester United and West Ham United

Nemanja Matic and Javier Hernandez both joined their new clubs this summer and will both be looking to make their Premier League debuts on Sunday at Old Trafford. Matic is a defensive midfielder, a position which United needed to strengthen this summer, despite having Michael Carrick at the club for another season. Matic made his debut for United against Sampdoria, the final friendly match of the summer, playing 45 minutes and looking like he had been at United for a long time. The Serbian also played 90 minutes against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday, putting in a good performance in the defeat to the La Liga and UEFA Champions League holders. Hernandez has played for the Hammer during the summer, making his debut in the 3-3 draw with Altona 93, playing the final 20 minutes of the match, also playing the second half in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City. Chicharito is still looking for his first Hammers goal.

Nemanja Matic

Nemanja Matic was a surprise move from Chelsea this summer, at least a surprise to manager Antonio Conte who seemingly wanted to keep the player. The Serbian has done well at United during the one and a half matches played so far, making his competitive debut against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening, a 2-1 defeat. Matic played well and showed his abilities and how United could well be back in the driving seat for the race for the Premier League title with him on the side. Matic, a Premier League champions last season, will be looking to win the title back to back, returning his new team to the pinnacle of English football. Jose Mourinho knows the type of player he has got, how he can be relied upon and just what tools he has in his locker. This should be a good season for Mourinho, Matic and United.

Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez left Manchester United in the summer of 2015 after then manager Louis van Gaal sold him to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. Hernandez was a good striker for United and had a goal or two in him, but at times he was very frustrating. Jose Mourinho stated earlier in the summer that Hernandez was a player he would not have sold had he been the United manager at the time, which fueled rumours of a return to Old Trafford, which the player will get on Sunday, just playing against United rather than for. Chicharito is still searching for his first goal for West Ham and if that happens against United, the player will be ready to lock and load for the remainder of the season.

Key Battles: Eric Bailly, Ander Herrera and Romelu Lukaku to have their work cut out for them against West Ham United

Eric Bailly -v- Javier Hernandez

Eric Bailly had a great first season for Manchester United and that was after Jose Mourinho suggested the Ivorian was a player for the future, rather than the now. Bailly was United’s best central defender last season, showing the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and even Daly Blind what is needed from a player in this position. Bailly set the benchmark which saw Mourinho bring in Victor Lindelof as his first signing of the summer, the player not yet finding his feet at the club. Bailly could be pitted against Javier Hernandez, a fox in the box and capable of getting the best of a defender to find a goal. If Chicharito plays and Bailly has to be the man in the defence to cut chances out, he will be hard tasked against the Mexican, especially if his teammates are creating goalscoring opportunities for him. Bailly is made of stern stuff though, so he could get the better of the Little Pea.

Ander Herrera -v- Andre Ayew

Ander Herrera had a good season under Jose Mourinho, playing a blinder against Chelsea in which United beat the Premier League champions 2-0, man-marking Eden Hazard. Herrera will be able to play a much different role for United this season with Matic’s arrival but the Spanish midfielder may still need to use his man-marking talents to stifle the opposition. Andre Ayew, should he play on Sunday could be the player Herrera has to cut out of the game to stop creating goal scoring opportunities, especially with Chicharito waiting around the box to score crucial goals for the Hammers. Ayew played 25 times in the Premier League last season, scoring six goals and creating 15 chances for his teammates. Ayew could be a threat on goal himself, which is something Herrera may have to stifle out of the game.

Romelu Lukaku -v- Joe Hart

Romelu Lukaku has already found the back of the net for United during pre-season, also scoring his first competitive goal for the club against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening. The Belgian striker scored 25 goals in the Premier League for Everton last season and United will be looking for something similar from him this season. Going against former Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in the league could well see the Belgian to his first goal for United in the league. Hart has spent a season away from Manchester City on loan with Torino in the Italian Serie A, not having a great season to come back to the most competitive league in the world. Hart conceded three goals in West Ham’s last pre-season match against City, which shows he may not be ready for the full force of the Premier League, which could see the England goalkeeper as one of the weak links in the squad. If so, the likes of Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford could find goals aplenty, should United start Sunday’s match strongly.

Scouting The Opposition: West Ham United scouted ahead of Premier League opener

The finishing touches to this season’s preparations are coming to an end as the Premier League finally returns from the summer break. With West Ham United having to open their season with three consecutive away games due to the London Stadium’s athletics priorities, I’m sure many fans would have wanted to avoid a trip to Old Trafford, a ground where the Hammers have just one win in fifteen years. If pre-season results are anything to go by United can be confident to get three points in this Sunday’s opener, with West Ham arriving on the back of just one win in six pre-season games, finishing up with a 3-0 loss to Manchester City.

However, as we all know, pre-season is all about fitness and match practice, with the results having no real relevance to a season’s expectations (Just as West Ham saw with a 100% pre-season record leading to relegation in 2011). So, in reality, there is still every chance West Ham can take the three points back to London, especially with a look in at the players acquired over the summer. Although, what we do know is that it is a fixture which always produces a great game of football. Here is a quick peek into United’s opposition on Sunday, labelled title contenders by Jose Mourinho for this season. Hmm, maybe.

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Formerly a player for West Ham in the 1990’s, the Croatian took charge of West Ham for the club’s final season at the beloved Boleyn Ground and over-exceeded expectations massively. However, following a truly remarkable season, it took a turn for the worst inside the 48-year-old’s second season. A transfer request from star man Dimitri Payet alongside the new stadium factor unsettling both players and fans it was always going to be a hard season.

A very likeable and passionate manager, you’ll be sure to see him walk miles within his technical area trying to do everything he can in his power to get a result. Perhaps even that little bit more, with this season being a test to show that his first season was no one-off.

Ones to Watch

Javier Hernandez: Returning to Old Trafford following a five-year stay at United from 2010, this is a man you need to keep your eye on at all times. Signing for a fee believed to be around £17 million, this is arguably the signing of the summer especially with today’s inflated prices. The Mexican is a very quick striker with a poacher’s instinct and is sure to test every defence as his scoring records across Europe’s top league’s show. Although it has been reported that the forward is not at full fitness which could see him not as his sharpest and subbed off in the second half should he start.

Marko Arnautovic: Another summer signing for the Hammers is set to be a threat to the United defence with his flair and technical ability. Breaking West Ham’s transfer record with a fee around £25 million, the Austrian is set to show why he has such a large transfer fee. Scoring against United in the past, I wouldn’t put it past him to do it again. However, one downfall, especially in a fixture with backs against the wall, is his work rate. This may play to United’s favour should he be in the starting line-up.

Predicted Line-Up

Prediction

Manchester United 2-0 West Ham United

I know it seems very pessimistic for me as a West Ham fan to have this prediction but I feel like Manchester United will just be too strong for an already injury ridden side. If it was later in the season it certainly wouldn’t be this, however, key players such as Manuel Lanzini, Mikhail Antonio, Andy Carroll and Cheikhou Kouyaté being out of the side as well as Javier Hernandez not being at full fitness, I feel that we may fall short of what is required to get a result. Saying that, if we are on our day, there is no reason why we can’t knick something!

Written by Sam Hall of @WHUFC_News

Preview: Mourinho set to start his seven-way Premier League title race with victory over West Ham?

Manchester United -v- West Ham United

Premier League 2017/18

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 13th August 2017; KO 16:00 BST

Live on Nissan Super Sunday, Sky Sports Premier League HD

Manchester United commence their Premier League season at home against West Ham United. Slaven Bilic’s side will travel to Old Trafford for Sunday’s match with a point to prove. This United side led by Jose Mourinho still have some ground to gain ahead of the new season, especially after finishing sixth last season. The success of the last season with United lifting the FA Community Shield, the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League, earning a group stage place in the UEFA Champions League, suggests that United’s league form could still be questionable. Mourinho has strengthened his side with Victor Lindelof, a £30 million signing from Benfica, Romelu Lukaku, a £75 million, possibly £90 million addition from Everton and Nemanja Matic, a £40 million signing (including £5 million in add-ons) from Chelsea.

Mourinho has won the league title in his second season at every club he has managed; FC Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan and Real Madrid. The Portuguese ‘special one’ will be looking to do the same this season and it will be important that the club get off to the best start this season. Last season, United won their first three Premier League matches, looking in good stead for the season but after the first international break of the season, United were defeated by Manchester City and Watford in the league and Feyenoord in the Europa League, losing three matches in a row which seemed to bring discontent, albeit on social media, from so-called supporters. United’s season went from bad to worse with draws both home and away which could have been wins and the club not turning Old Trafford into the fortress it used to be.

The return of Javier Hernandez to Old Trafford could cause problems for United with the Mexican ‘Little Pea’ looking to show his abilities again. Mourinho criticised the sale of Chicharito under Louis van Gaal, suggesting that he would not have sold the striker, which seemed to start reports of a return to Old Trafford for him, but playing for United. The Old Trafford club have moved on though, Mourinho fed the press what he thought, but not that he was going to re-sign the striker. Mourinho seems to have a stronger squad this season, which will be needed to compete on all fronts, which is what the manager and the players seem intent on doing. The departure of Wayne Rooney could be a good thing for United as his performances last season were not the best and now United do not have to find a place in the team for him, using a more fluid attacking player instead. This will be an important match this season, the first home match and a match which will need to end with all three points remaining at Old Trafford.

Previous Matches: Manchester United the more successful side when pitted against West Ham, who have a point to prove

Manchester United and West Ham United have played 137 matches in total. United have won 64 times, the Hammers winning 43 times and the pair drawing 30 times. The last defeat to West Ham came in the Premier League at the end of the 2015/16 season with Diafra Sakho taking the lead in the tenth minute, Anthony Martial equalising in the 51st minute, then putting United in the lead in the 72nd minute. Michail Antonio levelled the score on the 76th minute with Winston Reid putting the Hammers in the lead nine minutes from time. United have gone 16 matches without defeat against West Ham which started with a 3-0 victory on the 1st September 1993 and ended with a 3-1 victory on the 1st January 2001. During that period, United won ten times and drew six times. On the 28th January 2001, United were beaten 1-0 by the Hammers in the FA Cup. United best winning streak against West Ham lasted six matches, starting with a 4-1 victory on the 3rd May 2008, ending with a 3-0 victory on the 28th August 2010. During that six match period, United scored 17 goals, conceding just one, keeping five clean sheets.

Pre-Season Form: United have had the better pre-season, but results in the summer are not important, fitness, however, is!

Manchester United have played eight matches this pre-season, five of which were played in the United States of America. United beat LA Galaxy 5-2 in their first match of the summer, then going onto beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in the second. United then participated in the International Champions Cup facing Manchester City, winning 2-0, Real Madrid, beating them 2-1 on penalties after a 1-1 90-minute draw and Barcelona, losing in a 1-0 defeat which was a very close match. United then heading back to Europe, facing Valerenga in Oslo, winning 3-0, their first win against the side after a previous 0-0 draw in the city. The last pre-season match came against Sampdoria in Dublin with United winning 2-1 in the Irish capital. United played their first competitive match of the season against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, beaten 2-1 after being outclassed during the match.

West Ham United have played six matches during the summer as they looked to find the fitness levels ahead of the new Premier League season. The Hammers started out against Sturm Graz II on the 17th July, drawing 0-0. The second match of the summer was a 2-1 victory over Fulham on the 20th July, the clubs only pre-season victory. In the Betway Cup, the Hammers were pitted against Werder Bremen, losing 1-0 in the first match on the 28th July, then drawing 2-2 (losing 3-2 on aggregate) in the second match a day later. West Ham then played another friendly against Altona 93 on the 1st August, drawing 3-3 before playing the final pre-season match of the summer, a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Team News: Three injuries for United, nothing new; West Ham have five players out, another a slight doubt…

Jose Mourinho has already confirmed that Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, and Marcos Rojo are the only players missing due to injury at the start of the season. Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, who were both suspended for the UEFA Super Cup match against Real Madrid on Tuesday will be a boost for United’s defence against the Hammers. Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, and Victor Lindelof could all make their Premier League debuts for United at Old Trafford. Javier Hernandez, a former United striker could make his West Ham debut at the Theatre of Dreams, which will be a big occasion for the Mexican striker, who left United under Louis van Gaal and played for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga for two seasons. West Ham seem to have an injury crisis at the start of the season with Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate, Sofiane Feghouli, and Manuel Lanzini set to miss the match. Aaron Cresswell is also on the sidelines but could face United.

Predicted Starting XI: Romelu Lukaku to strike on his Old Trafford debut, United to demolish the Hammers?

Match Prediction: Manchester United have the strength-in-depth to send West Ham packing!

Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United

Mourinho on a difficult match, but he had ammunition on the bench

Manchester United beat West Ham United in their first ever match against the side in the Premier League at the London Stadium on Monday evening. It was the third time both teams had met this season, drawing 1-1 in the league at Old Trafford and with United winning 4-1 in the EFL Cup, earning a semi-final place against Hull City, in which they face in a weeks time at Old Trafford in trio of matches at home in which they face Reading in the Emirates FA Cup, Hull and then Liverpool in the league. United benefited from Liverpool dropping two points in the league against Sunderland in a 2-2 draw, which sees the Merseyside club just five points ahead of United, having to visit the Theatre of Dreams in just under a fortnight, which could see United go within three points of Jurgen Klopps resurgent side, who are apparently streets ahead of United this season.

Jose Mourinho congratulates everyone for a hard-fought victory over West Ham United at the London Stadium:

“Congratulations to everyone on the pitch because I realise that it’s really hard. I was a bit disappointed with some mistakes, with some bad decisions, but that is typical of fatigue and there are no miracles. And for them with 10 men for a long period is even more difficult. With 11 it’s difficult, with 10 it’s more difficult. For us, it was a question of keeping a clean sheet which we did because David made a very important save from Antonio. And it was a question of moving the ball, try to find spaces and accelerating the game. So we did okay. It was not a phenomenal match but the circumstances are really difficult so again, congratulations to everyone.”

Mourinho on having ammunition on the bench in the form of Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata, a due which combined to put Manchester United ahead:

“It was a difficult match but I had ammunition on the bench. I had Mata and Rashford, who were crucial in both matches when coming off the bench. In these fixtures it is very important to have people on the bench, capable of winning the game. I had a feeling to start Mata and Rashford today, but I think it is better for them to come from the bench when everyone is dying and the decision was proven right.”

Mourinho on his team playing against a tired defence:

“Nordtveit played for 90 minutes against Leicester City and today he played for 60 minutes against Mkhitaryan and Lingard, with lots of running. He was in front of me in the first half and it was a big effort for the boy. Slaven [Bilic] had no more defenders on the bench. He just had attacking players on the bench. So I thought Rashford could make a difference, not through the middle this time but coming from the side.”

Mourinho on the vital contribution of David De Gea in denying West Ham from getting anything from the match:

“It was a crucial save. To be honest, we had a big chance in the first half but they had a good shot, Antonio went face to face with David. It was very important. They also had Carroll on the bench and I know that when they were losing, he was coming for sure. In this moment I felt it was time for a proper centre defender and time to bring Smalling into the game.”

Mourinho on the unexpected result for Liverpool against Sunderland, where the away side played the penalty twice:

“What was the Liverpool result? [Interviewer: “2-2.”] I didn’t know it was 2-2. So we have gained two points on Liverpool. I was thinking about Chelsea and Tottenham [playing on Tuesday], because one of them will lose or both will get the draw. But also Liverpool, so we have gained points on the second-placed team and we play them at Old Trafford. If we play with 75,000 then we can win.”

Juan Mata speaking about Manchester United’s luck against West Ham United and scoring the opening goal, assisted by Marcus Rashford in the 63rd minute of the match:

“It was looking like one of those tough games where you get chances but just cannot score. But thankfully I was able to get on the end of Marcus’s pass and then we added another goal [from Ibrahimovic] so we are happy to get the three points.”

Marcus Rashford on doing exactly what he was told to do by assisting Juan Mata for the opening goal after a superb solo run”

“The manager just told me to stay wide and do my best to isolate the full-back. As soon as I lifted up my head I could see Juan in acres of space on the edge of the box and thankfully he finished it off really well.”

Rashford on Manchester United’s sixth win in a row in the Premier League, seven on the bounce in all competitions and the 13 match unbeaten run:

“It’s very tight at the top. There’s not much space between second and sixth place now. We feel confident and we know we just need to keep going game by game to keep up the pressure on the teams above us.”

Manchester United have a busy time ahead of them this January with them having to play in two domestic cup competitions against Reading (FA Cup) and Hull City (EFL Cup), then face Liverpool at Old Trafford in the league before travelling to the Britannia to face Stoke City in the league, just before travelling to Hull to play the second leg of the semi-final of the EFL Cup, a matter of days before facing the team again at Old Trafford in the league at the start of next month. The is a possibility of another FA Cup match in January, should United get through Reading, which is what they will be expected to do in order to retain their FA Cup trophy this season, which Arsenal had done over the previous two seasons.

What We Learned: Juan Mata fits Manchester United like a glove to a hand

Manchester United won their sixth match in a row in the Premier league for the first time this season after beating West Ham United 2-0 at the London Stadium. Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the two goals that did the business for Jose Mourinho’s side, with Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera assisting, respectively. Rashford’s introduction changed the game with his face and ability on the ball, also the fact that nothing seemed to faze him. United now have a team capable of grinding out the results needed which has seen them claw back a massive deficit from the teams above them. Chelsea might be out of reach, for now at least, but Liverpool in second place are just five points ahead of United, who still sit in sixth place. United’s next match in the league is against Liverpool, which could change that again. Manchester City is three points ahead of United and they have the magnificent Pep Guardiola to thank for that, he is a genius after all, not a bald fraud, obviously.

Paul Pogba is a massive talent

For months now the ABU’s (Anyone But United fan base) have been criticising Manchester United’s world record purchase of Paul Pogba from Juventus, just four years after he left with just a compensation payment payable to the Old Trafford club. Many had him written off before he even made his second debut at the club, and after a tough start, things are fitting into place for the Frenchman. Pogba has been playing well for United for weeks now, dominating matches in midfield and providing some great balls for his teammates. His winning goal against Middlesbrough showed what he can do in and outside of the box, adding more to his talent. Pogba is a great fit for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. He has got the Frenchman playing brilliant football and seems to know just how far he can go in the game. The Ballon d’Or maybe something he either will or won’t win at some point, but with many suggesting he won’t because he is not a player that scores goals, which seems to be the most important attribute when picking the winner. There is more to football than scoring goals. Players like Pogba are the ones in the background making the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as prolific as they are, as with all due respect, they don’t do it all alone, like some think they do.

Juan Mata has scored nearly as many goals as Wayne Rooney since he signed in 2014!

Since Juan Mata signed for Manchester United during the January transfer window in 2014 he has scored 25 goals for United in the Premier League. Wayne Rooney is the top scorer in the league for United during the same period, scoring just four goals more than the Spanish midfielder. That raises some questions about Rooney, who was once the prolific striker at United, but has since lost his place as the main striker to a player five years his senior, who is fitter, more capable and a much better fit for United. Mata was a player tipped to leave United in the summer after Mourinho’s arrival at the club, but time and time against he has proved himself as a player fit for United and Mourinho as he seems to get things moving. Against Middlesbrough, he was determined to get United ahead from the moment he came onto the pitch, again against West Ham that happened, with him finding the first goal of the match with Marcus Rashford providing the assist. Mata is a player needed at the club, be may be a substitute on occasion, but he will start matches too. Mata still has a lot to offer for United and has become a player that fits in with his teammates and is well-respected by them and more importantly the manager.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still past it

That comment makes me laugh. Many had the Swedish striker written off before he even wore the famous Manchester United shirt for the first time, but he scored a great goal in that match, the friendly against Galatasaray. Zlatan has scored 18 goals this season, four of those against the same club – West Ham United. He could have scored 19 at this time if that perfect goal he scored against Middlesbrough was not disallowed, but his goal today, which was offside made up for that one being ruled out. At 35 and playing in the competitive Premier League, to make the mark he has done shows that his last four years in Paris might have been wasted as a top league would have been a better challenge for him, but he continued in his success winning title after title and trophy after trophy also scoring goals galore. It will be funny for the ABU fans and media to keep writing United and Zlatan off, but the punchline will be hilarious – Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will keep those coming.

Jose Mourinho has worked miracles after being fired by fans earlier in the season

Cast your mind back to the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Premier League, the last defeat for United in the league, and there has only been one other defeat since then, to Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Europa League, Mourinho was being slated by some so-called supporters for being out of his depth at United. One defeat and everything changes with the fickle fans. Yes, a defeat is not great, but sacking the manager because of that is not what is needed. United do need to sack some fans, though. Mourinho has done a magnificent job at United this season, bringing in four talented players, getting a team playing to his strengths as a manager and getting the results needed to ensure United do not have another season watching others challenge again. Chelsea may be a long way off yet, with them being ten points ahead of United and with a game in hand, but anything can happen this season, which is why the #MourinhoOut brigade seems to have shut up shop, for now at least.

Ratings: De Gea, Pogba, Zlatan, Mata and Rashford punish the Hammers

Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-0 in the Premier League at the London Stadium on Monday evening. Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the goals for United but is was Marcus Rashford who changed the game with his unfazed nature of play using his pace to get forward and create for his team. It was his assist for Mata which put United ahead against the Hammers. Ibrahimovic’s 18th goal of the season was the cushion United needed to ensure all three points went back to Manchester this evening. United have been playing some brilliant football recently, extending their unbeaten run to thirteen matches, winning their last six in the Premier League.

To think back to that Chelsea defeat back in October, the last time many supporters were calling for Jose Mourinho to be sacked, makes me laugh. Just where are these people right now. If you know one, you should check that they are alright! United have a break from the Premier League now facing Reading in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford on Saturday, then facing Hull City in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg the Tuesday after, again at Old Trafford before getting back to action in the Premier League against Liverpool, again at the Theatre of Dreams. After Liverpool dropped points away to Sunderland on Monday afternoon, getting three points against the side that are just five points ahead of them in second place so far this season, but are the better team. apparently, will be a great rustle. That would not be their fault, though. Come on UNITED!

Goals: Juan Mata 63′, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 78′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 63′, Ander Herrera 78′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian (Mata 46′); Carrick, Herrera; Mkhitaryan (Smalling 65′), Pogba, Lingard (Rashford 58′); Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Martial, Young, Fellaini

Bookings: Matteo Darmian 42′, Antonio Valencia 76′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spaniard had little to do for large spells of the match, making two saves in the first half, largely untroubled. Kept United in the match in the second half, which helped gain something from the match after United scored twice. Great clean sheet, well deserved.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Attacked well from the right-back position. Saw a shot denied by Randolph. Resurgent display recently, which is good to see.

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4 Phil Jones

Was the brunt of a lot of abuse from Hammers fans for a challenge on him by Feghouli, which saw the Hammer red carded. Was fine to play on and do his bit. Helped United to victory.

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16 Marcos Rojo

When paired with Jones, Rojo is a great player. He did what he needed to do against West Ham.

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Matteo Darmian

Had a poor first half leaving himself with a lot to do in order to regain a place in the squad. Was replaced by Mata at the start of the second half.

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16 Michael Carrick

A massive reason why United won against West Ham. Played well in the positions he played in. Going to be a sad day when he hangs up his boots.

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21 Ander Herrera

The Spaniard worked hard and had an energetic game against the Hammers. Played the assist for Ibrahimovic's goal.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Played alright at times but his crossing let him down. He has pace and looks good at times, but needs to find a way to become consistent when called upon. Decent squad option though. Replaced by Rashford.

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6 Paul Pogba

Had a physical presence to the midfield. Makes me laugh when people ask what he does, it's like they never watch him play. Best midfield option out there right now. Helped control the game. The Arsenal fans will think they have a better player in their team, bless them.

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22 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Not the best of games for the Armenian, who suffered an early knock and was replaced in the 65th minute.

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10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Scored his 12th Premier League goal, his 18th of the season. May wrote him off. Class player and still has so much more to give. Will be looking to keep his place against Reading on Saturday.

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Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Darmian. Got a goal within 20 minute of his introduction. Determined to get something from the match, as he was against Middlesbrough. Got what he wanted, another goal for his club.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Lingard. Had a massive impact in the game after replacing Lingard. Assisted for Mata's opening goal and also provided some good crosses. His pace and unfazed attitude prevailed with United leaving London with three points. Class

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Chris Smalling

Replaced Mkhitaryan. Came on to help quell the onslaught with Carroll expected to come on. Despite being out of sorts and not the player he was last season, did what was expected.

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Report: Mata and Zlatan then men as Manchester United silence the Hammers

Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-0 in the first meeting between the two sides at the London Stadium in the Premier League on Monday evening. A red card for Sofiane Feghouli was a big blow for the home side, but Juan Mata took the lead for United  in the 63rd minute of the match with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring his 18th goal of the season in the 78th minute making it six wins in a row for Jose Mourinho’s who are on a thirteen match unbeaten run at this stage of the season. Onwards and upwards.

Jose Mourinho made five changes to his side which beat Middlesbrough 2-1 at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo replacing Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly, Matteo Darmian replacing Daley Blind, Michael Carrick replacing Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard replacing Anthony Martial. United will be looking to earn a sixth win in the Premier League in a row against the Hammers, closing the gap with the teams above them who have already played on Monday afternoon. United started the match well, cool and calm in possession looking for a way to take the lead, which is what will be expected.

The Hammers could have had something from the match early on with United closing down Dimitri Payet, which allowed Manuel Lanzini to get a shot on goal, which was off target, but saved by David De Gea, who made his 250th appearance for United, giving a corner to the home side, which amounted to nothing. In the 15th minute of the match, Sofiane Feghouli was sent off for a challenge on Phil Jones, which was unfair, but United don’t make the decisions, the referee does. Moments later, Jesse Lingard dispossessed Cheikhou Kouyaté, who went down on the challenge, which was fair with Lingard winning the ball.

United had been on top of the Hammers for much of the half, but the home side had registered more chances on goal, despite them not really being all that threatening to make a difference in the match. The red card changed the course of the match. With ten minutes to go before the end of the first half, United got their first attempt on goal, which was another great save by Darren Randolph and United were a fraction of a millimetre away from scoring. United were the team in the majority of possession on the ball with the Hammers doing all they could to stop United from taking the lead, but there was plenty of time before the end of the half.

In the 42nd minute of the match, Matteo Darmian was booked for a challenge on Michail Antonio, which may have been harsh, but will stand. United were still playing well, despite registering the least chances in the match. De Gea made another top save to deny the Hammers from scoring in the latter minutes of the half. United needed to find their momentum and Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini were told to warm up in the dying minutes of the half with the manager looking at changes to make to make his team better in the second half. It was all level at the end of the half with all left to play for.

At the start of the second half, Juan Mata replaced Darmian with Michael Carrick playing as a central defender and Marcos Rojo playing at left-back for the remainder of the match. Within five minutes of the half, United were playing well again. Angelo Ogbonna was lucky to stay on the pitch after a challenge on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, earning a yellow card and United a free-kick, which amounted to nothing. United then gave away a free-kick in their own final third, with the Hammers pressuring United with Antonio heading wide of the goal. United still had a lot to do in order to take all three points away for the sixth time in a row this season.

In the 58th minute of the match Marcus Rashford replaced Lingard with United looking to break the Hammers with pace on the attack, which has worked before. The Hammers could have taken the lead if it was not for De Gea and Antonio’s poor finish, which was lucky for United, who need to find something to get the better of the resurgent home side. Three points is all that matters, but with the Hammers only having ten men, they did, at times, look the better side. In the 63rd minute, Rashford held up the ball well in the Hammers box, crossing to Juan Mata who broke the deadlock. United then brought on Chris Smalling for Mkhitaryan.

United looked a lot better since the arrival of Mata at the start of the second half, more lively on the ball and more determined to get something from the match. Rashford added some calmness and pace on the attack as he always looks unfazed by it all. Smalling was a tactical substitution to quell the threat of Andy Carroll, who came on in the last twenty minutes for the home side. United had the win in the bag, just needed to keep hold of the lead, or extend it. Paul Pogba, a player who is labelled as not good enough by the ABU’s, also a player showing his skills at United, nearly put United 2-0 up, but his effort was wide in the 75th minute of the match.

United could have doubled their lead again through Rashford, whose shot was stopped by Randolph, but the ball got past him, hit the bar and stopped just short of the line. United then doubled the lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored his 18th goal of the season, his thirteenth in the Premier League and his first for 2017. United had this game in the bag. The Swede may have been offside, but his goal on New Year’s Eve should have stood, this makes up for that one. Not United’s fault the match officials are not up to the job they are meant to be doing. United, through Ander Herrera, could have scored another. The Hammers just don’t seem to be trying.

United may have lost the last match at Upton Park, but they have won the first match at the London Stadium. Marcus Rashford was named the Man of the Match by Gary Neville on Sky Sports. United have won six matches in a row in the Premier League, cutting the lead of those above them, keeping in with a chance of jumping into the top four. Reading is United’s next opposition in the Emirates FA Cup, with United then facing Hull City in the EFL Cup, before Liverpool come to Old Trafford on the 15th January, which will be long-awaited.

Goals: Juan Mata 63′, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 78′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 63′, Ander Herrera 78′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian (Mata 46′); Carrick, Herrera; Mkhitaryan (Smalling 65′), Pogba, Lingard (Rashford 58′); Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Martial, Young, Fellaini

Bookings: Matteo Darmian 42′, Antonio Valencia 76′

copyright: JW