West Ham the victim of daylight robbery at Manchester United
PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 April 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Surely VAR will stop this Old Trafford bias happening again
Perhaps in a few years time, we will look into the record books and see the result of this game and just put it down as another Manchester United home win.
But that will not go anywhere near to telling the real story of this match. It won't tell us the sheer injustice of what we all saw on Saturday at Old Trafford.
Even Ole Gunnar Solksjaer admitted his team were lucky, but let's go further, this was a travesty of justice, this was daylight robbery.
West Ham scored a legitimate goal which was ruled out for an offside that never was; Manchester United were awarded a penalty that never was, while even their second goal had a hint of offside about it.
Play the same game next season and VAR would have sorted out these problems, but it is so frustrating when time after time officials make rash and erroneous decisions because it is Old Trafford and it is Manchester United.
It is not the first time it has happened to the Hammers there. There was Kevin Nolan's winner that was ruled offside, a foul on Darren Randolph which cost an FA Cup win there to name just two.
What is really annoying is that the controversy took the gloss of what was a superb performance from West Ham from start to finish.
They started well, their passing and running with the ball was exemplary and they created chance after chance.
You would have expected manager Manuel Pellegrini to be spitting fire afterwards, but he was surprisingly restrained.
“For me it was a pleasure to see the way the team played here, against Manchester United at Old Trafford,” he said.
“It was a very good performance and we were unfortunate not to get a result.”
And what about those decisions?
“I don't want to complain about the referee because all of them were very difficult decisions,” said the boss, though it must have hurt to say it.
“Our first goal was onside, by just one player's foot, so that's why the mistake was made. If we have VAR it's a goal.
“The second goal they scored was a mistake from us, but it was also offside. Rashford touches the ball, so it's offside.
“We also made a mistake for that goal and I'm not complaining that we lost because of the referee. The three of them were very difficult decisions. It was not possible to see, but with VAR we win this game.”
He was absolutely right. It is hard enough to come to Old Trafford anyway without having to play against the officials as well.
There was so much to applaud from this game.
Felipe Anderson was dangerous all game and should have had two goals to his name, Manuel Lanzini ran hard at United all day, Robert Snodgrass caused all sorts of problems and Declan Rice was simply imperious.
Add to that a superb cameo from substitute Michail Antonio who crashed a shot against the crossbar and force a stunning save from David De Gea and you could see just how good this performance was.
But because of poor decisions, it all meant nothing. It was West Ham's third defeat on the trot and their hopes of seventh place are all but gone.
But they showed that they can do it and if they play like this for the rest of the season then surely the decisions will go there way.
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