West Ham United 2-0 Manchester United
Premier League, London Stadium, Saturday 23 December 2023, 12.30pm GMT
Jarrod Bowen, Mohammed Kudus and Lucas Paquetá were West Ham United’s matchwinners yet again as they combined to defeat Manchester United 2-0 at London Stadium on Saturday.
A week after their goals and assists saw off Wolverhampton Wanderers, the trio combined again to devastating effect in the final 20 minutes to give the Claret and Blue Army an early Christmas present and send their team soaring into the Premier League’s top six.
Brazilian Paquetá made it five assists in two top-flight matches, first exchanging passes with Bowen, who scored with his right knee after his initial effort was blocked by André Onana on 72 minutes, then taking advantage of Kobbie Mainoo's mistake to play in Kudus, who swept past Onana with his right foot six minutes later.
The first half will not live long in the memory, as the two teams combined for four shots on target and largely struggled for rhythm in their attacking play.
The closest either came to scoring in the opening period was five minutes in, when Emerson popped up on the right side of the penalty area, cut inside and tested Onana at the near post. The Cameroonian parried, Paquetá collected in a similar area and his cross was cleared as far as Ward-Prowse, whose shot flew too high.
Bowen had West Ham’s second chance on 17 minutes, collecting Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s clearance but dragging a mishit shot wide of the Onana’s goal, and the half ended with Tomáš Souček heading James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick past the far upright.
In between, Manchester United had the majority of the ball and grew in confidence as the first half wore on, but it was from broken play that their two best opportunities came.
After Antony had curled a speculative effort into Alphonse Areola’s gloves on 33 minutes, the Frenchman was called into action again moments later. Mohammed Kudus’s loose pass went straight to his former Ajax teammate Antony, who then fed Alejandro Garnacho, but the teenager’s right-foot shot was well kept out by Areola at the near post.
Moments later, Garnacho was in again after Paquetá was caught in possession, but the Brazilian got back well to block the Uruguayan’s shot onto the roof of the net.
The second half was a far better watch, particularly after Moyes switched Bowen to his natural position wide on the right and put Kudus and Paquetá into more central positions.
Before that switch midway through the second period, Bowen forced Onana into a one-handed save with a powerful header from a Ward-Prowse corner either side of Fernandes heading and then shooting wide for the Red Devils.
The deadlock was broken 18 minutes from the end when Bowen cut in from the right and played a square pass for Paquetá, continued his run and controlled the No10’s return ball. His initial shot was blocked by Onana, but fortunately bounced into the net off the 27-year-old’s right knee.
If Bowen’s eleventh Premier League goal of the season delighted the home faithful, the second lifted the roof off London Stadium.
Teenager Kambwala allowed the ball to slip under his boot and Paquetá pounced, instantly releasing Kudus, who took the ball wide of Jonny Evans before shooting accurately across Onana and into the bottom left-hand corner.
West Ham’s ninth win of the season lifted Moyes’ side into sixth place above their opponents, at least until Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion complete their fixtures, and marked just the ninth time in 55 meetings that the Irons have got the better of Manchester United in the Premier League.
West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Zouma ©, Mavropanos, Emerson, Álvarez, Ward-Prowse, Souček, Kudus (Johnson 90+3), Paquetá, Bowen (Fornals 88)
Subs not used: Fabiański (GK), Kehrer, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Benrahma, Ings, Mubama
Goals: Bowen 72, Kudus 78
Booked: Kudus, Paquetá
Manchester United: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Evans, Kambwala (Reguilón 84), Shaw, McTominay, Mainoo, Antony (Pellistri 73), Fernandes ©, Garnacho (Eriksen 85), Højlund (Rashford 57)
Subs not used: Bayindir (GK), Bennett, Amrabat, van de Beek, Hannibal
Booked: Evans, Fernandes, Eriksen
Referee: Simon Hooper