Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United
Premier League, Old Trafford, Sunday 4 February 2024
West Ham United fell to a disappointing 3-0 defeat away to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Despite the Hammers enjoying more shots and opportunities than their hosts in the first half, David Moyes’ side went in a goal down at the interval after Rasmus Højlund’s well-taken finish.
Tomáš Souček and Ben Johnson went closest for the Irons, registering decent chances just before and after Højlund’s strike, and the away side were a tad unfortunate to be trailing at the break.
But a clinical edge in front of goal was lacking for West Ham at Old Trafford, who were made to pay by Erik ten Hag’s side. Alejandro Garnacho struck twice, four minutes into the second half and five minutes from the end, while Emerson and Jarrod Bowen both missed gilt-edge opportunities, bringing an end to the Hammers’ six-game unbeaten league run.
Poignant and moving tributes were held prior to kick-off as the two clubs came together to mark the imminent anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.
The Hammers enjoyed a bright start at Old Trafford, offering a dangerous threat on the offensive. Emerson’s driving run almost set Bowen away early on before Souček’s deflected effort, from a James Ward-Prowse corner, forced Andre Onana into a smart save.
Bruno Fernandes went for the spectacular to register Manchester United’s first meaningful effort. A curling 25-yard effort had to be superbly stopped by Alphonse Areola, after a corner routine by the Red Devils.
The Irons were certainly giving as good as they were getting in Manchester and it was with a small degree of misfortune that the away side went a goal behind. While Kurt Zouma’s attempted clearance was lacking, Casemiro fell into the ball and accidentally – but perfectly – found striker Højlund. The No11 opened up space for himself and drove in a right-footed finish from the edge of the area, giving the home side the advantage on his birthday.
Johnson’s versatility was called on by manager Moyes at Old Trafford, with the Academy of Football graduate playing on the right flank of the front three. It was his powerful attempt from distance that almost pulled West Ham level, with Onana forced into another low stop.
With Mohammed Kudus heading on target and Edson Álvarez turning another shot goalward, the away side were getting opportunities and arguably did not deserve to be losing at the interval.
Just three minutes into the second half came the opportunity the Hammers had been hoping for. Emerson pinched possession from a dawdling Harry Maguire and drove into the Manchester United penalty area. With the chance to level the game in front of him, the full-back got his bearings all wrong and sent his effort wide.
With the chance to restore parity missed, West Ham were two goals down just seconds later. Argentinian Garnacho received the ball from Fernandes, cut inside onto his left foot and fired a shot towards the target. A cruel, vital clip off Nayef Aguerd wrong-footed half-time substitute Łukasz Fabiański, and the Red Devils’ advantage was doubled.
Rashford and Diogo Dalot both went close to adding a third for the hosts within just a few minutes of their second, before Ward-Prowse led a promising counter-charge for West Ham. He found Emerson but, this time, the defender sent his shot into Onana’s grateful grip.
The unwavering effort to get back in the match continued and Bowen found himself with a huge opening to score on 68 minutes. The forward got past Harry Maguire, strode into the penalty area, and unleashed a right-footed effort, only for Dalot’s late slide tackle to block the ball away.
Kalvin Phillips and Maxwel Cornet entered the fray with 20 minutes left on the clock, as the Irons looked to add more attacking impetus to their fightback.
But the Red Devils would wrap up the three points with a third goal with five minutes left to play. Substitute Scott McTominay fed Garnacho on the right wing, who slotted in his second to ensure West Ham’s first league defeat in seven matches.
Manchester United: Onana, Dalot, Maguire, Martínez (Varane 70), Shaw (Lindelöf 88), Casemiro, Mainoo (McTominay 64), Garnacho, Fernandes ©, Rashford, Højlund (Antony 88)
Subs not used: Bayindir (GK), Amrabat, Eriksen, Forson, Diallo
Goals: Højlund 24, Garnacho 49, 85
West Ham United: Areola (Fabiański 46), Coufal (Phillips 73), Zouma ©, Aguerd, Emerson, Álvarez, Souček (Cornet 73), Ward-Prowse, Johnson, Kudus, Bowen
Subs not used: Mavropanos, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Scarles, Ings, Mubama
Referee: Andrew Madley