Manchester United’s woes continued at the London Stadium on Saturday, as West Ham United handed them a morale-sapping 3-1 loss
Manchester United were slow off the blocks, with West Ham pegging them back right from the get-go. And, the visitors were rocked in the 5th minute as Felipe Anderson put the Hammers ahead through a clever backheel flick, after Pablo Zabaleta found him inside the box with a squared ball.
Manchester United subsequently took control of the proceedings, but chances came few and far between. Their predicament then went on to become a whole lot damning as West Ham doubled their advantage, albeit thanks to a stroke of luck as Andriy Yarmolenko’s shot was deflected into his own net by Victor Lindelof.
The Red Devils continued to enjoy most of the possession post the half-time break, only to see their frustrations continue thanks to Lukasz Fabianski, whose stunning save denied Marouane Fellaini. But, Manchester United pulled a goal back in the 71st minute when Marcus Rashford flicked the ball into the net.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 29, 2018
All hopes of a comeback though, were dashed mere three minutes later as Marko Arnautovic restored West Ham’s two-goal lead and round off the win for the hosts. With that 3-1 loss, Manchester United equalled their worst start to a Premier League season. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jose Mourinho’s men.
David de Gea: 6/10
What more can a goalkeeper do when the defensive unit in front of him keeps letting him down time and again? De Gea was helpless for each of the goals that West Ham scored on the day. Otherwise, the Manchester United no. 1 had very little to do, with his distribution usually being precise.
Ashley Young: 5/10
The non-performing Antonio Valencia was dropped for the game against West Ham. But, the player who took over the armband from him wasn’t much better either. While Young’s crosses did reach dangerous areas, and even a target man a couple of times, his set-piece delivery was shambolic. The veteran English international’s vulnerabilities at the back didn’t help either.
Scott McTominay: 4/10
The decision to start McTominay in the back-three was always baffling, and the youngster’s performance vindicated the fans’ concerns. The Scottish international was uncomfortable throughout the game, and was at fault for two of the goals that West Ham scored. Tidy on the ball, but that didn’t make up for his deficiencies at the back at all.
Chris Smalling: 5.5/10
One of the better performers for Manchester United, Smalling was largely tidy at the back, bar in the 74th minute when Marko Arnautovic finally evaded him to slam home West Ham’s third. Otherwise, the experienced defender kept a check on the Austrian, and even made a brilliant challenge to stop a near-certain goal.
Victor Lindelof: 4/10
After a few improved outings, it looks like Lindelof is back to square one. The Swede was nowhere to be seen when Manchester United went one down in the fifth minute. To make his day even worse, West Ham’s second was chalked down as an own goal in his name. He was then hooked off at the hour mark as Mourinho looked to go for an equaliser.
Luke Shaw: 5.5/10
Hands down, the worst performance of the season by Shaw. The young full-back was partly at fault for the first goal, even though it should have been chalked off as offside, as he was caught out of position when Zabaleta found acres of space to square the ball. Shaw did get forward more than Young, but his end product was lacking. Will be credited with an assist for Rashford’s goal.
Marouane Fellaini: 5.5/10
Fellaini seemed like an overkill in midfield for Manchester United, when they needed more pace and dynamism to get back into the game. The Belgian did not really do much wrong on the day, but his presence just wasn’t needed for the visitors. Would have felt hard done by, as Fabianski denied him a goal with a stunning save.
Nemanja Matic: 4/10
Matic has been well off his best this season, and he continued to look off pace on Saturday. Partly at fault for West Ham’s second as he allowed Yarmolenko the time to stand off before taking aim at goal. Atrociously slow in moving the ball forwards as well, taking an extra touch almost every single time.
Paul Pogba: 3/10
The build-up to the game had been concentrating on the bust-up between Mourinho and Pogba. The Frenchman had the chance to let his performance against West Ham do the talking. Unfortunately for him though, Pogba had absolutely no influence in the game, in what was a listless outing.
His marker, Mark Noble showcased exactly what Pogba needed to do, with the World Cup winner neither creating a meaningful chance, nor getting on the end of an opportunity himself. It’s time he stepped up, as the frustrations continue to mount in the Manchester United camp.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Favoured in place of Alexis Sanchez, who was dropped altogether from the matchday squad, Martial had the golden opportunity to cement his place as a regular. But, it turned out to be a missed opportunity instead, as the Frenchman failed to inspire a comeback. Martial did enjoy some good moments, but his end product was severely lacking, which didn’t help his case.
Romelu Lukaku: 4/10
All too often, a case is made for Lukaku for not being supplied adequately by his teammates. But, as the performance against West Ham showed, the Belgian doesn’t help himself with his poor hold-up play. He was instead restricted to crossing the ball a number of times, none of which reached their target man. Back to drawing board for the umpteenth time.
Marcus Rashford: 6.5/10
A breath of fresh air upon his introduction, Rashford provided Manchester United with a lease of life with a fantastic effort, before it was taken away moments later. The youngster though, must have done enough to secure a place in the starting lineup in the next game.
On for Pogba, Fred was largely anonymous, basically continuing from where Pogba had left off.
Juan Mata: 4/10
On for Martial, Mata didn’t had very little impact on the game, barely creating anything of note.