Manchester United extended their unbeaten run to 13 games and made it 6 wins on the bounce after a 2-0 win at West Ham on Monday night. United moved level on points with fifth-placed Spurs after the win, and sit just 3 points behind rivals Manchester City in third.
Despite the fixture having all the necessary requirements to be a tasty fixture, the game was effectively ruined after just 15 minutes, when referee Mike Dean showed Feghouli a straight red card after the midfielder’s challenge on Phil Jones. The tackle was hardly worthy of a sending off by any standard and the result left West Ham with a tough task, to hold on for 75 minutes and claim anything from a solid United team with a player more. In United’s perspective, the game became more frustrating after the sending off as the Hammers chose to sit back and defend rather than play for victory.
The stubbornness of the West Ham defence lasted for over an hour, with various chances coming United’s way but to no avail. Antonio Valencia missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring after some beautiful passes from both Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan lead to an opening, but a fine save from goalkeeper Randolph saw his effort saved. The rebound from the goalkeeper’s save fell straight into the path of Jesse Lingard, who squandered the chance – before looking towards the linesman praying for an offside call.
However it was in typical United fashion that a couple of ‘super subs’ were called into action. Marcos Rashford entered the game just after the hour mark and set up fellow substitute Juan Mata to score. Zlatan Ibrahimovic then doubled the score after 78 minutes, the Swede snatched at a poor clearance from Pedro Obiang and slotted home – despite replays showing that Zlatan was one of 3 players offside.
As previously mentioned, it was Jose Mourinho’s side’s sixth straight Premier League win and their seventh in all competitions. A record that we haven’t seen at Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure. Fortunes are definitely starting to change at Old Trafford and it’s easy to see just how well Mourinho’s men are coming together. Their previous two wins in the league were like watching the United of old – against Middlesbrough on New Year’s Eve the Red’s dominated for much of the game before going a goal down, but they fought back and scored 2 late goals to turn the game on its head. Last night against West Ham, they had to put up with a team so stubborn on their defensive duties that it was almost impossible to break the deadlock, but they did, and some supporters of rival teams might say they did it in typical United fashion with a bit of help from the referee.
Mourinho’s team is really starting to gather momentum now, the top 4 is just a whisker away and they remain in every competition outside of the league.
Here’s how we rated the Manchester United team:
De Gea – 9
Valencia – 7
Jones – 7
Rojo – 6.5
Darmian – 6
Carrick – 7.5
Herrera – 7
Pogba – 7.5
Lingard – 7
Mkhitaryan – 6
Ibrahimovic – 7
Subs: Mata (7), Rashford (9) (Man of the Match).