West Ham storm to stunning victory over shellshocked Manchester United
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers are unstoppable with goals from Anderson, Yarmolenko and Arnautovic
West Ham United 3 Manchester United 1
Those Bubbles are really flying high down West Ham way now thanks to another remarkable Hammers victory at the London Stadium, where under fire Jose Mourinho saw his Manchester United side become the latest victims of the Manuel Pellegrini revival.
That wretched run of four straight, opening defeats seems light years away now as Manuel’s men continue to climb the Premier League table following another wonderful win that saw Felipe Anderson put West Ham into a fifth-minute lead with his first goal for the club, before Andriy Yarmolenko doubled the lead just before the interval.
And although substitute Marcus Rashford pulled one back the visitors on 71 minutes, that provided just momentary respite for Mourinho, who saw Marco Arnautovi? cement a valiant victory with a quick-fire reply just three minutes later.
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The Hammers had already come into this game both buoyed by last weekend’s determined draw with Chelsea and Wednesday’s emphatic eight-goal Carabao Cup blast against Macclesfield Town but after that midweek mauling of the Silkmen all attention returned to the business of the Premier League.
That meant that only Pedro Obiang and Issa Diop retained their Claret & Blue shirts, while Grady Diangana was rewarded with a place on the bench following his debut-double but despite making those nine changes, West Ham wasted no time in carrying on from where they had left off.
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Indeed, after Fabián Balbuena nodded an early corner behind, Anderson soon showed his fellow South American team-mate the way to goal.
With just five minutes on the clock, skipper Mark Noble played in the overlapping Pablo Zabaleta and, when the accelerating Argentinian sent over a perfectly- weighted, right-wing cross, the Brazilian ghosted into the six-yard box, where he cleverly let the ball run across his body before back-heeling beyond the statuesque David De Gea to send London Stadium into a lunch-time frenzy.
Having seen his side draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, ahead of being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by ex-Hammer Frank Lampard’s Derby County on Tuesday evening, it had not been a good week for Mourinho, who came into this game in seventh-spot – 10 places and six points ahead of Pellegrini’s battlers.
After being dumped out of the cup by his former player, the Red Devils manager had made eight changes as he handed a starting spot to Paul Pogba - who had also been involved in a well-publicised, pre-match niggle with the under pressure Mourinho – while skipper Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku emerged as the only survivors from Lampard’s Rams raid.
Midway through the half, however, Lukaku did manage to send a glancing, angled header thumping onto the outside of Lukasz Fabianski’s near post and, shortly afterwards, Diop and Balbuena combined to deny the Belgian striker just six yards out to the increasing frustration of his manager.
With the contest being played out in midfield, Pogba did find time and room to see a low 20-yarder deflected wide for a corner, however goal chances were becoming more and more scarce as the clock ticked down to the interval.
But, two minutes before the break, the Hammers forced once final corner of the half and, when Anderson’s left-wing flag-kick glanced off the head of the airborne Diop, the ball fell to Yarmolenko, who patiently waited for his moment before curling a left-footed, 15-yarder inside the right-hand upright with the help of a deflection off Victor Lindelöf.
Having struck at the beginning and end of that opening half, a two-goal advantage was the perfect send-off for West Ham and, just after the restart, the bull-dozing Arnautovi? fired high over from 25 yards.
As United made little headway, Rashford replaced Lindelöf and, as the threat increased with the addition of the England striker, Anthony Martial drilled one across the face of goal before Fabianski held Pogba’s looping header under the crossbar.
Midway through the half, Marouane Fellaini thought that he had pulled one back for the visitors, when he met Young’s right-wing cross with a powerful downward header but Fabianski miraculously clawed the ball away from the base of the left-hand post to keep that two-goal cushion intact.
At the other end, Anderson slid the ball into the path of Arnautovi? eight yards out but the Austrian just could not get a telling touch and, with 20 minutes remaining, Mourinho also introduced Juan Mata and Fred at the expense of Pogba and Martial.
Certainly, the United manager got an instant response as the duo made their way onto the pitch for an impending corner and, when Luke Shaw floated the ball over from the left quadrant, Rashford ghosted in at the near post to back-heel inside Fabianski’s right-hand upright.
It looked like the Hammers were about to face an onslaught but within just three minutes, West Ham restored their two-goal advantage, when Noble cleverly invited Arnautovi? to sprint behind Chris Smalling and fire a low 12-yarder beyond the helplessly exposed De Gea to send those choruses of ‘Bubbles’ ringing around the East End and the Hammers climbing up the table.
HAMMERS: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Masuaku, Balbuena, Diop, Rice, Noble, Obiang, Anderson , (Diangana 90+1), Yarmolenko (Snodgrass 71), Arnautovi? (Antonio 83). Unused subs: Adrián, Ogbonna, Fredericks, Pérez.
RED DEVILS: De Gea, Lindelöf (Rashford 56), Shaw, Young, McTominay, Smalling, Matic, Fellaini, Pogba (Fred 70), Martial (Mata 70), Lukaku. Unused subs: Grant, Bailly, Herrera, Darmian.
Booked: Young (77)
Referee: Michael Oliver