- David De Gea bolstered his claims to maintain the number one jersey at United, as he made an amazing save from a Mark Noble penalty deep into injury time, to preserve a single-goal lead against a strong West Ham side and earn United an important three points at the London Stadium. United had gone a goal behind against the run of play via a Benrahma shot that took a wicked deflection off Varane and wrong-footed De Gea. United quickly levelled matters and it had to be him. Ronaldo – playing his first Premiership away game – timed his run to perfection from a Fernandes floated pass and though Fabianski saved his first-time effort, he followed up to put into an empty net. United dominated play in the second half and apart from hitting the post through Fernandes, West Ham had Fabianski to thank for keeping them in the match. Indeed, United had seven shots on target in the first half, which is the most ever in the Premiership in the first half of any match. United started the second half as they finished the first and they kept West Ham in their defensive third, creating a number of chances but without finding the net. With seventy minutes on the clock, Ole made a double substitution, bringing on Lingard and Sancho for Pogba and Greenwood. And it was the former, who scored a glorious goal in the last five minutes of normal time, cutting in from the left and curling a stunning effort in the far corner and this time, Fabianski could only watch in agony as the ball hit the back of the net. This was no more than United deserved for a top performance against a strong team. During the last fifteen minutes, Ronaldo was twice denied claims for a penalty by Martin Atkinson, the second one particularly which looked a certain penalty as our number seven was felled by a rushed challenge by Kurt Zouma. To add insult to injury, Atkinson – with the help of the VAR – awarded West Ham a penalty in the last minute of injury time as a cross by Bowen hit the outstretched arm of Luke Shaw from two yards. Mark Noble came on to take the penalty-kick but De Gea guessed right in diving to his left and parried the shot from Noble. What a performance from United and what a win.
- I was extremely pleased with the performance by United today. The win is of great magnitude, don’t get me wrong, as few teams will earn points at the London Stadium this season. However, what pleased me most is the performance of the team. United where at the Hammers’ throats all game with some aggressive pressing and covering the ground very well. Two things pleased me most. The first was the composure with which United attacked. They had to be patient as West Ham defended with everything and always had numbers behind the ball. Our players showed increasing maturity even in the last ten minutes and despite time was running out, United continued to pass and probe in front of the West Ham defence and our relentless pressure finally yielded the desired result. Even before Lingard scored though, the United players seemed confident that the goal would come and our attacking play was anything but frantic. The second thing that fills me with confidence is the options we had from the bench today. When a manager has strikers of the calibre of Lingard and Sancho that can come in and influence matches – not to mention Rashford, Cavani and Martial – then you will always have a chance. You just have to persevere in attacking with composure and ask the right questions.
- Special mention today goes to David De Gea, only just though as Jesse also deserves a mention in the way he bounced back from the error in midweek against Young Boys. David however came back from his summer holidays determined to stake his claim as the senior keeper at United. He also had to bounce back from an unsatisfactory season which culminated in the loss on penalties in the Europa League final in May. He worked hard though and his performances were good this season. Saving the injury time penalty from a specialist like Noble today was immense and should give him a huge boost in confidence. ..
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Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.