Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United
Manchester United may have picked up three valuable Premier League points as they continue their chase for a top-four spot, but West Ham’s performance was worthy of praise.
This was a match which had only a few Premier League 2019 highlights but my word, they were telling.
A match of importance for both sides, neutral us followers will tell you the visitors deserved at least a point — and they would be right.
West Ham, who were coming off another disappointing 2-0 defeat against Chelsea, were literally a width of the goal frame and a David De Gea fingertip from victory.
That they return south empty-handed means Premier League 2019 betting odds on United claiming a top-four finish remain a possibility.
Highlights of the game
In summing up, three players will be the focus of the post-match discussions.
Step forward Paul Pogba, De Gea and Felipe Anderson.
West Ham had managed to get the ball into the net after just nine minutes. Anderson’s volley was impressive but was ruled offside – although replays suggested otherwise.
Fortune favoured United again a short time later.
After 18 minutes the returning Marcos Rojo found Juan Mata, who shaped to shoot but was felled by a clumsy Robert Snodgrass challenge at the edge of the box.
In or out of the box, foul or not, a penalty was awarded, and Pogba confidently drilled home the resulting spot-kick.
The dangerous Anderson, who scored in West Ham’s 3-1 win against United earlier this season, went close with a flick-on which just needed a touch from a team-mate. Later on, Chris Smalling headed over from a Mata corner.
Anderson was third time lucky five minutes after the restart as he delivered a deserved equaliser for the Hammers.
Pogba wasn’t on the same wavelength with De Gea as West Ham gained possession from the keeper’s roll-out. Manuel Lanzini then delivered an inviting cross which Anderson reached ahead of the dozing Rojo and expertly converted.
As West Ham passed the ball around confidently, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent on Marcus Rashford for Mata. The youngster almost immediately made his mark, forcing Lukasz Fabianski into a fine one-handed save.
While United improved, they still failed to convince and looked like a side which had lost four of their past five matches in all competitions.
As Solskjaer bravely sent on young players Andreas Pereira and Mason Greenwood, West Ham piled forward.
A superb shot from one of the visiting substitutes, Michail Antonio cannoned back off the crossbar. He then teamed up with another lively replacement, Grady Diangana, whose header was destined for the top corner until David De Gea somehow clawed the ball away.
In those moments it showed how much West Ham have missed the talented Antonio.
West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini looks disappointed following their 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford
Coach Manuel Pellegrini had his head in his hands as De Gea somehow kept his side level. It was to get worse for the visitors moments later when Anthony Martial was brought down in the penalty area by Ryan Fredericks.
For the second time, Pogba was coolness personified from the spot. How crucial that game-winning penalty could be, we will know in a month’s time.
Pogba has been directly involved in 22 Premier League goals this season (13 goals, nine assists) – more than in any previous campaign.
Anderson is the first West Ham player to score home and away against Man Utd in the same season since Jermain Defoe in 2001/02.
Only Ruud van Nistelrooy (eight in 2002-03) has scored more penalties in a single Premier League campaign for Man Utd than Pogba (seven) this season.
No team has taken more Premier League penalties than Man Utd this season (12, one more than Crystal Palace). It’s the most they have ever been awarded in a Premier League campaign.
West Ham had 18 shots in this match, their most in a Premier League away game since December 2016 (24 vs Leicester).
United are unbeaten in the last 11 meetings at Old Trafford, winning nine and drawing two.
Juventus Asian Handicap -1.00 @ 2.26 1X2 Ajax @ 5.20 Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.89 Third Line text CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.UEFA – Champions League
The Red Devils have not kept a clean sheet for nine games in all competitions – their longest run since a 10-match sequence in 2012.
Although, they are unbeaten in their last 14 home league games (won nine, drawn five), last losing at Old Trafford in August against Tottenham.
Meanwhile, the Hammers are winless in eight league away games, losing seven and scoring just twice.
West Ham have kept just five Premier League clean sheets this season — only Fulham have recorded fewer.
It’s a quick turnaround for United. They travel to Barcelona on Monday to play the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final the following night – their third game in a week. They trail 1-0 after the first leg.
They then travel to Everton on Easter Day in the Premier League.
As for West Ham, they host Leicester City on Easter Saturday and then it’s a derby with an edge on April 27 as they travel to Spurs.
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