Scott McTominay made the difference but Donny van de Beek was sub-par as Manchester United beat West Ham United to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
In what turned out to be a tepid affair, chances came few and far between for both sides, with Manchester United conjuring up the better opportunities for the most part. Alex Telles was the chief creator in the opening 45 minutes, setting up a chance each for Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof, only for both the players to be thwarted.
On the opposite end, Dean Henderson was hardly tested, although there was one nervy moment when Aaron Wan-Bissaka miscued a clearance. The game, though, ended goalless in the regulation period and went into extra-time. It is then that Manchester United finally broke the deadlock.
After a fine run by Martial, who linked up with Luke Shaw, the ball found its way to Marcus Rashford, whose deft touch created room for Scott McTominay to shoot and find the net. Manchester United subsequently held on for the narrow win to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Dean Henderson: 6/10
Starting ahead of David de Gea in a cup game once again, Henderson enjoyed perhaps his most comfortable outing for Manchester United till date, with West Ham never really forcing him into action. Alert to collect aerial balls without much of a fuss and precise on the ball.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
Pablo Fornals never really had what it takes to get the better of Wan-Bissaka on the night, who completed 5 tackles and 4 interceptions in the game. Fortunate to not see his horribly miscued clearance going into his own net. Lacked the zing and zeal in the final third and reverted to type after a couple of promising displays going forward.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
Unlucky to his goal-bound header being saved superbly by Lukasz Fabianski. On the other end, however, Lindelof enjoyed a comfortable evening and made a better impression when building up play from the back than Harry Maguire, completing 83 of the 88 passes he attempted. There will be bigger tests ahead.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
One of those games wherein Maguire had precious little to do. With Tomas Soucek never really getting into the game, the Manchester United captain’s aerial abilities were never put to the test. Moved the ball forward with purpose but also lost possession cheaply at times.
Harry Maguire won 10 of the 11 aerial duels he contested against West Ham.
Almost impeccable in the air. 👏 pic.twitter.com/h9YJxrey3o
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 9, 2021
Alex Telles: 7/10
Starting over Luke Shaw, this was another chance for Telles to make an impression. The Brazilian did do so to an extent, as he set up a couple of fine chances in the first half, for Anthony Martial and Lindelof, but did not get rewarded with an assist for either of his efforts. Looked solid in the defensive phase and kept a check on Jarrod Bowen. Faded as the second half wore on; rightly replaced.
Quite simply, Fred failed to impress in this game. Far too often, the Brazilian was wasteful with the ball at his feet, which was a major down point of his performance considering he had more touches than anyone in the game (155). Not tested a great deal off the ball, but he did show his usual energy to win the ball back quickly higher up the pitch.
Nemanja Matic: 6/10
On his part, Matic did not put a foot wrong for the most part and always looked to push Manchester United forward when he got on the ball. However, the Serb’s selection was questionable, seeing as West Ham were content with staying behind the ball, an outlook that warranted a more forward-thinking player in Matic’s position. Solid as ever off the ball.
Mason Greenwood: 6/10
Once again, Greenwood carried a lot of threat whenever he got on the ball. However, the teenage prodigy could never manage to get into promising scoring positions and aimed just one shot on goal. Misplaced just three passes all game, though, in what is a minor positive.
Donny van de Beek: 4/10
Given a rare chance to impress and that is exactly what van de Beek did not do. The Dutchman never really managed to get into the game bar the odd occasion and seemed to be on a different wavelength as the rest of his teammates. Does not press as intently as Solskjaer wants him to either. However, it is worth noting that without a run of games, he cannot grow into his role at the club.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Marcus Rashford has been directly involved in 25 goals [16G 9A] in all competitions this season.
Second only to Bruno Fernandes in Man Utd’s squad. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/1Y0NlrNpgI
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 9, 2021
Another game, another occasion wherein Rashford did not make an impact as much as he would have liked. The English international can never be faulted for effort, but he seems to have become increasingly reluctant to take aim at goal and pull the trigger at the right moment. Nevertheless, he did set Scott McTominay up for the winner and played 2 other key passes as well.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Yes, Martial was involved in the build-up to McTominay’s goal, but that was perhaps the only positive for him in the game. Saw a fine chance being set up for him by Telles, but his shot was blocked while on other occasions. Always seems to be lacking that movement which makes Edinson Cavani so dangerous. Needs to step up desperately.
Scott McTominay: 8/10
The man who made all the difference. McTominay looked intent on making things happen from the middle of the park and even played a key pass. The notable moment, though, came in the form of his winner, in what was yet another brilliant finish to hand Manchester United the win.
Scott McTominay scores for a 3rd successive game for @ManUtd
He has 6️⃣ goals in his last 9️⃣ apps at Old Trafford – as many goals as Anthony Martial (4) & Edinson Cavani (2) combined at Old Trafford this season pic.twitter.com/YO6NsDA8uN
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 9, 2021
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
An instant upgrade on van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes added the creative impetus that was missing from Manchester United’s gameplay in the opening 75 minutes or so. Another player involved in the build-up to the goal that McTominay scored.
Edinson Cavani: 7/10
On for Greenwood, Cavani typically created a threat with his dangerous movement, although he did not see any chances falling his way.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
On for Telles, whose levels dropped closer to the end of the 90 minutes, Shaw provided an injection of energy and looked purposeful, pushing Manchester United forward in search for the winner. Linked up well with Martial in the lead-up to McTominay’s goal.
Brandon Williams: 6/10
On for Wan-Bissaka, Williams got a rare run in the side and looked solid for the most part in extra-time.