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Premier League
Sunday, 13th August 2017

Manchester United 4
West Ham United 0

by David Fletcher


Same old West Ham, starting the season off with an incredibly inconsistent performance.

Many praised the club's transfer business this summer and tipped them to be the surprise package of the new Premier League season, yet today they were anything but.

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It was a reasonable start from West Ham, their game plan was clear, to keep Man Utd at bay and it went relatively smoothly at first.

Everyone was playing their part defensively from front to back, Mark Noble was commanding the team very well, Pablo Zabaleta was a strong presence at the back making numerous clearences.

However, cracks were starting to show in the Hammers' resilient defence. Unexpectedly though, despite having less than 30 per cent of the ball in the first half-an-hour, Man Utd's first goal came as a result of catching West Ham out in posession.

Regardless of conceding, West Ham weren't about to change their game plan with ten minutes of the first period to go, so they stuck at it and ended the half on a high note after a nifty bit of play ended up with an Edimilson Fernandes driven shot well saved by David De Gea.

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In the second half, West Ham tried their best to hold up the ball more and allow their attacking players to express themselves but it was Man Utd who came out all guns blazing.

The Hammers were let off the hook when Marcus Rashford skied a very decent opportunity, but just minutes later, on a free kick delivery from the edge of the box, Arthur Masuaku was left ball watching and Lukaku was on the score sheet again, powering his header home from close range, much to the delight of the home faithful.

It was that sinking feeling again for West Ham, yet they didn't lose hope, Marko Arnautovic went extremely close after his header hit the woodwork.

In order to keep the game alive, manager Slaven Bilic brought on fresh legs in the form of Diafra Sakho and academy starlet Declan Rice, who commanded the midfield very well following Noble's replacement, one of the few positives from the match.

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The momentum quickly shifted in Man Utd's favour after a flurry of West Ham chances including a free header from Diafra Sakho. The defence lost its shape and it was only a matter of time before the Red Devils reasserted their authority on the game.

West Ham's inevitable fate was sealed a few minutes from time, loss of interest by the Hammers and simply beautiful play from Man Utd allowed the home side to surge to the top of the table thanks to goals from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.

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Player Ratings

Joe Hart
Despite making a few decent saves, when letting in four goals a goalkeeper is always partially at fault.


Pablo Zabaleta
A true warrior, blocked and cleared absolutely everything that came his way in the first half and the early stages of the second. Yet his booking stopped him from being aggresive and as a result could do nothing to stop the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.


Arthur Masuaku
Showed signs of what we saw at the back end of last season with positive attacking play, but unfortunately his marking, tackling and other aspects of his defensive game were appauling.


Angelo Ogbonna
Was confident going into tackles and held his line well in the first half but mich more can be expected of him.


Winston Reid
Room for improvement as far as Reid is concerned. Was the focal point in the defence but could have prevented one or two of the goals.


Pedro Obiang
Just wasn't at the races, despite usually being West Ham's most consistent player. He was constantly dispossessed and failed to complete passes. He did get margainly better as the game wore on.


Mark Noble
Was a leading voice for the lads when he was on and helped the team keep their shape. Very comfortable on the ball and picking out some good passes, a shame seeing him substituted so early in the second half.


Edimilson Fernandes
Remarkably average performance, seemed like he didn't belong at that level at times. Much room for improvement and will face fearce competition from Declan Rice if he can't find his form.


Marko Arnautovic
Not a good enough performance for a player who is supposed to be our markee signing.


Javier Hernandez
Gave his absolute all for the team, he still had belief even though the rest did not. He was forever pressing, closing down and trying to receive the ball high up the pitch in order to get involved more. Hardly got any service from his team mates. He will be expecting much more from them in the matches to come.


Andre Ayew
Was kept quiet by Daley Blind all day long. When he did receive the ball he managed to hold it up well but it just wasn't a day for the strikers today.


Substitutes


Diafra Sakho
(Replaced Fernandes)


Declan Rice
(Replaced Noble)


Aaron Cresswell
(Replaced Masuaku)


Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Did not play.


Sam Byram
Did not play.


James Collins
Did not play.


Jose Fonte
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 3,646.

Man of the Match: Javier Hernandez.

West Ham United

Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Arthur Masuaku, Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Edimilson Fernandes, Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez, Andre Ayew.

Goals: None.

Booked: Pablo Zabaleta 0 Angelo Ogbonna 0        .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Manchester United

De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata (Fellaini 75), Mikhitaryan (Lingard 88), Rashford (Martial 80), Lukaku.

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, Smalling, Herrera.

Goals: Lukaku (33, 52), Martial (87), Pogba (90).

Booked: tbc.

Sent Off: tbc.

 
David Fletcher's Man of the Match: Javier Hernandez