West Ham vs Manchester United Match Analysis

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Image from Football.London
Yesterday was one of those flat and underwhelming performances that highlight how far from the top Manchester United have fallen. West Ham did not have to play too well to win the game and that's telling. Manchester United already had injury problems and they would worsen when Marcus Rashford was forced off with a groin complaint just after the hour.

The First Half
One of the big questions was always going to be whether Solskjær’s line-up had the creativity to hurt West Ham. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were absent and from the early stages it was obvious that Rashford would have to struggle given the service he was receiving. West Ham had a nice balance, with Declan Rice in front of the back four and danger from the flanks in Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson. They have generally proved a tough nut to crack this season and they took charge upon Yarmolenko’s goal, which was marked by precision and quality. With Andreas Pereira standing off, Mark Noble found Anderson and he was in sync with Yarmolenko. When Anderson flicked the ball on his teammate was already on the move, using his first touch to power away from Harry Maguire and angling a low finish into the far corner. United wanted to counterattack but only once in the first half did they threaten to quicken the pulses of their supporters. Daniel James turned sharply to find Rashford and when Issa Diop missed his slide challenge, the United striker had yards to sprint into. Rice, though, had read the danger. He eased back and across to snuff out Rashford, a celebration of understated efficiency.

The Second Half.
Solskjær sent his players out early for the second half and things would get worse for him when Rashford pulled out. He played every minute of United’s season up to that point, including the full game against Astana in the Europa League on Thursday. Had the heavy workload got to him? With Mason Greenwood absent because of tonsilitis, Solskjær sent on Jesse Lingard to lead the line.
West Ham could sit a little deeper after the break and look to counter, an approach that almost bore fruit when Anderson played a give-and-go with Yarmolenko before working De Gea at the near post.
For United, Juan Mata stretched but could not apply a decisive touch to a Pereira cross while Maguire shot low and too close to Lukasz Fabianski on 69 minutes after a corner had been worked to him. Lingard also had a shot blocked by Yarmolenko. Then to end any chances of a revival, Aaron Cresswell scored a superb freekick and sealed the game for the Hammers. Defeat at West Ham reaffirms everything you knew about United. Squad thin in midfield and up front. Don't create enough chances or score enough goals. There will be more days like this before it gets better.

Ole has been working with this squad for nearly a year and there’s not much to show for it. He is limited tactically and we still don’t have a style of play. Obviously the biggest problem is above Ole, but it’s worrying.

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