Manchester United’s inconsistent start to the Premier League season continued as they lost 2-0 to West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Andriy Yarmolenko gave Manuel Pellegrini’s men a deserved lead heading into the interval as he collected the ball in the penalty area and stroked a clinical finish past David De Gea. Aaron Cresswell rounded off the victory late on with a brilliant free-kick that left the Spanish stopper grasping at thin air as the Hammers moved up to fourth in the league table.
West Ham start the better
It was a scrappy start in the capital but it was the hosts that just shaded the chances. Yarmolenko tried his luck from distance but saw his shot find the arms of De Gea. Mark Noble then also tested the Spaniard as he was picked out Pablo Fornals’ free-kick.
United were really struggling to deal with their hosts, both in an attacking and defending sense, and that eventuality saw West Ham take the lead. A brilliant passage of play saw Yarmolenko, Noble and Felipe Anderson exchange passes, with the former being picked out in the box. The Ukrainian took one touch to take the ball away from his marker before finding the bottom corner with a cool finish.
Mata miss lets of the Hammers
Despite their dominance throughout the first period, the Hammers should have pinned back just after the break. Andreas Pereira did excellently to manufacture space on the right-flank and whip a wonderful ball into the back post. Juan Mata was unmarked and really should have finished into the empty net but somehow put his effort wide.
The match then got even worse for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s troops as striker Marcus Rashford went down with an injury, eventually being withdrawn and adding to the ever-growing list of stricken players at Old Trafford.
Chances for both sides
Pellegrini’s men then almost made it even worse for the Red Devils as Anderson and Yarmolenko combined once again, with this time the Brazilian being denied by the legs of the United goalkeeper.
The visitors could well have equalised once again as Victor Lindelöf nodded down from a corner, with the ball falling to Harry Maguire. With the goal at his mercy, the former Leicester City man could only put the ball straight at Lukasz Fabianski.
Opportunities continued to come for both sides and Cresswell was the next to go close from a free-kick as he lifted the ball marginally over the United net.
Cresswell free-kick floors United
As it happened, that was just a warning shot from the defender. Given another chance just outside of the box, this time he sent the ball cannoning into the top corner. De Gea did manage to get his fingers to it but the shot was just too powerful and accurate to do anything about.
Daniel James almost reduced the deficit late on but could only lash into the side-netting as the hosts claimed a fantastic victory.
It really does seem to be one step forward and two steps backward for Solskjaer and United right now. Following last weekend’s win over Leicester City, they really should have pushed on. However, they really were disappointing thanks to an impressive performance from the home side. The Hammers were almost unbeatable in defence and clinical in attack. Pellegrini’s troops really did deserve the three points.
West Ham United: Fabianski (7); Cresswell (8), Ogbonna (6), Diop (7), Fredericks (6) (Zabaleta (N/A), 80′); Rice (6), Noble (7), Fornals (6); Anderson (7) (Wilshere (6), 70′), Yarmolenko (8) (Snodgrass (N/A), 89′), Haller (7).
Manchester United: De Gea (6); Young (5), Maguire (6), Lindelöf (6), Wan-Bissaka (6); McTominay (6), Matic (5) (Fred (6), 71′), Pereira (6); Mata (5) (Gomes (N/A), 81′), James (6), Rashford (4) (Lingard (5), 61′).
Goals: Yarmolenko (44′), Cresswell (84′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Yellow Cards: Ogbonna (14′), Mata (48′), Noble (74′), Young (83′)
Red Cards: N/A