Manchester United 0-1 West Ham United
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021
by Chris Wilkerson
West Ham are through to the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup after their first win at Old Trafford since 2007, this time thanks to an early Manuel Lanzini goal, and were rewarded with a home tie against Manchester City.The two much-changed sides, both of whom must see this competition as their lowest priority, met just days after the drama of Sunday?EUR(TM)s 2-1 defeat at the London Stadium, with Jarrod Bowen the only starter to survive the rotation on either side.
There were 10 changes for the Hammers, who lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with Bowen once again leading the line and a first appearance for goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. The home side changed the whole side, with the weekend?EUR(TM)s match-winner and former West Ham-loanee Jesse Lingard starting.
The Hammers started the brighter and controlled the opening stages, Lanzini floating into pockets of space and pressing high up the pitch too, joined by the non-stop running of both Bowen and Yarmolenko.
Masuaku played high up on the left wing as West Ham stuck to their usual shape, and it seemed the changes did little to stop this side playing attractive passing football, at least early on. With Johnson in at left back, that flank was well protected and whilst Masuaku lacked his usual grace and burst of pace, he was aware working back to his own goal and showed good experience to guide and protect Johnson through the game.
The passing was slick, pushing Manchester United back and really forcing the pressure on the illustrious hosts. Bowen will feel disappointed to have missed a good opening inside five minutes after good play from Yarmolenko, although the Ukrainian could have done better when passing firmly to his teammate?EUR(TM)s weaker right foot.
Moments later, Yarmolenko fluffed his lines when Kral laid a pass off very nicely, and the young Czech was close to getting a debut goal. His shot was weak in the end and flew wide after a deflection.
A minute after that, West Ham took a deserved lead. The warning shots had been fired, but the side in red were too static in defence as Ryan Fredericks took control of the ball down the right.
Three men stood off him and when none of his teammates made a run, Fredericks knocked it through all three of them and sprinted through to it, taking a touch and hitting the byline as he cut the ball back. He aimed to the near post, but a deflection flicked it back to Lanzini, who had held his position as Van de Beek followed the ball. In acres of space in the box, the Argentine passed it into the far corner to give his side the lead.
Having set the tone, the game changed once the goal went in. Whether West Ham settled in to battle, Manchester United woke up or a mixture of the two, it was all with the home side from here. Suddenly, Noble and Kral were tested in the middle. To their credit, they were aware and stepped out of deep positions to make interceptions. These were rare, the West Ham defensive shell dropping deep quite early.
Whilst Solskjaer?EUR(TM)s side threw in too many aimless crosses, there were moments that they found gaps and threatened. They could have had a penalty too, probably should have had Noble?EUR(TM)s pull on Lingard?EUR(TM)s shorts not been in a difficult spot for the referee to see.
There was fear too after a poor attempted claim from a corner by Areola, the goalkeeper too easily beaten to the ball before it dropped to Mata. The Spaniard hit the bar from a tight angle, Areola beaten but arguably covering the goal. It woke up the crowd too, who were eager for something to cheer having sat on their hands for the opening ten minutes.
Credit should go to Dawson and Diop, who stood up to the bombardment from wide well, made important interventions when players broke through and looked in control. Both could be excused for being short of confidence, but responded to Zouma?EUR(TM)s introduction to the first team with good performances.
Dawson made a vital block as Sancho shot inside the box, whilst Diop made a goal-saving challenge after Matic danced into the box and then rolled in Martial. The French forward poked at goal from close range, but his shot deflected wide off the Diop tackle.
Fredericks was forced off the pitch injured, hurt by the ridiculous slopes around the sides of the Old Trafford pitch. It might be a boring note, but they?EUR(TM)re quite ridiculous and hurt too many players. Instead Vladimir Coufal was brought on, a shame considering the full back has looked in need of a rest.
It was a chore to watch as West Ham sat deep and stopped a poor Manchester United side from breaking through. Lingard was busy, and their bright moments came from him, including a good shot from the edge of the box that Areola saved well.
The half wore on, and West Ham looked more and more likely to make it to the break at 1-0. It was nearly doubled too, a lovely Yarmolenko chip finding Coufal in space in the area, but the right back?EUR(TM)s pass was towards an offside Bowen. He could have shot himself.
Instead it finished with the Hammers a goal ahead, and as both teams came out unchanged, the rhythm of the game again settled in the host?EUR(TM)s favour.
Noble was finally booked, Diop might a quite fantastic tackle to stop the kind of Lingard run we all saw last season and West Ham again looked comfortable dealing with what faced them ?EUR" although a moment?EUR(TM)s thought for poor Coufal as Matic decided to knee him in the unmentionables for absolutely no reason, and absolutely no consequences. It wasn?EUR(TM)t long after that his studs crashed down on Lanzini?EUR(TM)s ankle and forced him off.
Moyes?EUR(TM)s side defended well throughout, from back to front too. Bowen, who still has work to do in many aspects of the striker role, was tireless from start to finish and never allowed a defender to rest on the ball.
Still, chances often come for the home side here as the pressure grows, and the best one fell to Greenwood within a minute of coming onto the pitch. A chipped ball had him through into the area, but the striker?EUR(TM)s shot was weak and too central, Areola doing well to smother and save with his feet. It may have been lucky that the forward had only been on moments.
As the tension grew and the final ten minutes came, suddenly it was West Ham who had the chances. Fornals and Vlasic brought energy from the bench, the Spaniard in particular helping out both defence and attack, passing with an assurance and confidence that opened up the spaces the desperate hosts were now leaving at the back.
They could have had three or four had their shooting boots been on. It was Yarmolenko the most guilty, his chance the best. A clipped ball through the defence came to the winger, who nodded it round Henderson and had an all but open goal, but smashed against the base of the post.
A minute later, it was Noble through on goal from another break away, but he passed it directly at Henderson as the goalkeeper closed him down. Seconds later, Bowen smashed it low and forced a good save.
There was still time for Dawson to block a Fernandes effort that looked in otherwise, but it was the hard work of the West Ham players that underlined the game. One moment it was Bowen, somehow still running into channels and holding the ball in the corner, the next it was Yarmolenko with a headed interception in the box as a ball flew to a Manchester United player in acres of space.
As the full time whistle went, the cheers of triumph and relief were not those of men who cared little about winning this game, and they got their just reward too, 14 years after the last little Argentine scored a winner for West Ham at this ground for a 1-0 win.
Their (much better) Manchester rivals await us.
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Player RatingsAlphonse Areola
The corner that he came for and missed was a worry, but could have been a desire to make an impression. A few saves later, the goalkeeper looked much more assured. Some decent saves and a promising first 90 minutes.
A real shame he was forced off as he has looked good in both appearances this season and was a threat with his pace. Great run for the goal, good to see him be decisive around the area as he is often ponderous.
Looked like the pace had caught up with him as the game got to its later stages. The fresh legs and pace of Greenwood were too much for him on more than once occasion. However, he dovetailed well with Masuaku and put in a couple good balls with his left, as well as showing the desire to make runs and be a threat of his own.
One of the defender?EUR(TM)s better performances. He was wayward maybe once as he stepped forward, but otherwise he was good in the air and strong in the tackle, reacted brilliantly if anyone broke through and looked a man battling for more than just a back up role.
Looked practically bored by the job as he calmly dealt with everything a desperate Manchester United threw at him and his defence. Very calm, stepping in with physical but fair defending to keep the clean sheet he deserved.
The old warhorse is going to bow out in the right way: throwing himself at players and then calling them soft when he takes them out. Lucky not to give away a penalty, gave away and unnecessary foul on the edge of the box with the vintage Noble lunge, but marshalled the midfield well and helped Kral settle. Could have done better when given the chance to score but the ball wasn?EUR(TM)t ideal either. Put himself about and should be happy with his performance.
More ambitious on the ball than was expected, but Noble?EUR(TM)s presence probably forced him to do more of the legwork. Passing improved but was a touch sloppy, but his defensive contributions were very much needed and showed a promising player who could hold midfield. Five tackles, three interceptions and a couple clearances showed a man getting into the game well. More to come but a good debut.
He gets the 7 rather than a 6 because he was responsible and aware when defending in front of and with Johnson. Looked short of sharpness on the ball and a step slower than at full flow.
The right game for Lanzini. He can play his game wherever he is on the pitch, and against a side who wanted to control the ball, his ability to pass out of trouble was important. Linked a lot together going forward, drifting from side to side. These are games where you can see him being a more suitable option than Benrahma.
How he hasn?EUR(TM)t scored near the end, he?EUR(TM)ll never know. He would have been celebrating in his mind, he?EUR(TM)d done everything else right. Probably the hardest he?EUR(TM)s worked in a West Ham shirt and he does look up for it more this year than last. Made two good chances with clever passing and the header at the end prevented a real goalscoring chance.
Another game where you can wax lyrical about what he did well or worry about where he was short. A couple breaks should have come to more but his pass was lacking, and he again didn?EUR(TM)t look too much like scoring, but the defensive work rate was astonishing, and his channel running relieved pressure in important moments. For everything off the ball, it was a quite immense performance.
(Replaced Fredericks, 17) Did his job quite quietly but didn?EUR(TM)t seem to be able to get on the same page as his teammates in attacking areas.
(Replaced Lanzini, 69) His class on the ball was highlighted when he came on and found players in ways other hadn?EUR(TM)t, and with ease. His awareness of his teammates and his opponents is excellent.
(Replaced Masuaku, 69) Looked off the pace for about 10 minutes and then livened up and broke with speed to support attacks.
Did not play.
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Match FactsWest Ham United: Alphonse Areola, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Issa Diop, Craig Dawson, Mark Noble, Alex Kral, Arthur Masuaku, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jarrod Bowen.
Goals: Manuel Lanzini 9 .
Booked: Mark Noble 57 .
Sent off: None.
Manchester United: Henderson, Dalot, Lindelof, Bailly, Telles (Elanga 72), Matic, Van de Beek, Sancho, Mata (Greenwood 61), Lingard (Fernandes 72), Martial.
Subs not used: Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Jones, McTominay.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
Man of the Match: Issa Diop.