David de Gea, Lukasz Fabianski and Kurt Zouma starred as Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-1 at the London Stadium on Sunday.
The first half saw the game ebb and flow in phases, with Manchester United being the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges, albeit without really forcing Lukasz Fabianski into a save. West Ham United then grew in the ascendancy before the visitors took control again, with Fabianski brilliantly denying Bruno Fernandes in this period.
However, West Ham broke the deadlock against the run of play and through some stroke of luck as a shot by Said Benrahma took a heavy deflection off of Raphael Varane, leaving David de Gea beached. Shortly after, though, Manchester United went back on level terms through Cristiano Ronaldo, who had his initial shot saved by Fabianski before he tapped in the rebound.
Ronaldo came close to scoring a second moments into the second period only to be denied by the West Ham no. 1. Thereafter, it was largely as you were in the first half, with both the teams being even more tentative than they were in the opening 45 minutes. However, out of nowhere, the deadlock was broken once again, with Jesse Lingard producing a peach of a finish from close range.
There was time for some late drama, though, as West Ham were awarded a late penalty owing to a handball by Luke Shaw. Mark Noble came on to take the penalty, only to have it saved by David de Gea, who dived the right way to deny the West Ham captain from the spot. With that, Manchester United grabbed a narrow 2-1 win and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
West Ham United
Lukasz Fabianski: 8/10
A brilliant performance by Fabianski, who was the major reason why Manchester United had not already run away with a win much before they actually scored the winner. Some of his saves were right out of the top drawer, with the acrobatic stop to deny Bruno Fernandes standing out. Could not do anything to stop either of the goals that Manchester United scored, though.
Man Utd had 10 shots on target today, which is the joint most any side has had in a Premier League game this season:
🔘 Man City at home vs. Arsenal
🔘 Liverpool at home vs. Crystal Palace
🔘 Man Utd away vs. West Ham
A huge win. 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/axdxiUOWGy
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 19, 2021
Vladimir Coufal: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Coufal, who engaged in a fine duel with Paul Pogba. There were some moments when he came out on top but he was also caught out of position a fair few times. Not as influential as he usually is in the final third while losing the ball 16 times.
Kurt Zouma: 8/10
Making his Premier League debut for West Ham, Zouma had a tall task at hand to keep a lid on Ronaldo. And the Frenchman came through with flying colours for the most part, keeping Ronaldo quiet in clutch moments. Made a staggering 12 clearances while winning five duels as well. Lost the ball just twice all game on top of that.
Angelo Ogbonna: 7/10
A game that showed a lot of promising signs for a blossoming central defensive partnership. Along with Zouma, Ogbonna did extremely well at the heart of the West Ham defence, not letting Ronaldo overpower them for large parts of the game. Made seven clearances while being reliable with the ball at his feet.
Aaron Cresswell: 6/10
Not the best of displays by Cresswell. Ought to have done better when marking Ronaldo for his goal, leaving him unmarked instead and leaving Fabianski at the Manchester United star’s mercy. Carried a threat during his forays down the left flank but did not create too many chances.
Tomas Soucek: 7/10
Soucek has been a quality addition to the West Ham midfielder and on Sunday, he showed just why he is revered by the Hammers’ faithfuls. While the Czech midfielder did not really pose a threat in the final third, he put in the hard yards defensively, winning eight duels while completing five clearances and tackles each. Not enough in the end.
Declan Rice: 7/10
Rice’s work-ethic is one of his best assets, and against Manchester United, the West Ham skipper’s trait shone bright. Worked hard to ensure Bruno Fernandes & co. were robbed off space in large parts of the game while also being extremely precise with the ball at his feet. Alas, he could not inspire a win for West Ham.
Jarrod Bowen: 6/10
The creator-in-chief for West Ham. While he did not see a lot of the ball, Bowen was in business whenever he looked to create the openings, playing as many as three key passes. However, some of his decision making was suspect as he had a couple of chances when shooting at goal could have yielded a better result.
Pablo Fornals: 6/10
This was a game in which Fornals worked incredibly hard to keep Manchester United at bay. The Spaniard was here, there and everywhere, although he did not manage to win most of the duels he contested. Did not get many chances to score, although he did play a couple of key passes.
Nikola Vlasic: 6/10
With Michail Antonio unavailable, Vlasic got his first Premier League start for West Ham, only to show signs of a settling in period. Put in the hard yards but never really looked like he could make an impact in the game.
Said Benrahma: 6/10
In the absence of Antonio, Benrahma was essentially the central striker, and he definitely acted as one. However, some of his touches were too loose, as he completed just 69 percent of his attempted passes while losing the possession as many as 17 touches. However, he did score the goal that handed West Ham the lead, playing his part well.
Andriy Yarmolenko: 6/10
On for Vlasic, Yarmolenko struggled to get into the game in the final 20-25 minutes, managing just 13 touches while not getting a proper sight at goal.
Manuel Lanzini: N/A
A late introduction, Lanzini did not have much time to make an impact.
Mark Noble: N/A
Brought on solely for his penalty-taking prowess, Noble was left red-faced after failing to beat David de Gea from the spot.
David de Gea: 8/10
David de Gea is mobbed by the Manchester United players at full-time for saving a last minute penalty 👏 pic.twitter.com/IFi62ZQdd2
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 19, 2021
In what was a frustrating first half, de Gea stood no chance at denying Said Benrahma’s effort after it took a heavy deflection off Raphael Varane. However, the Spaniard rolled back the years and produced a brilliant stop from a Mark Noble penalty to ensure Manchester United held on to their slender lead. Getting back to his very best.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
A game in which Wan-Bissaka had a lot to prove after being one of the catalysts in defeat to Young Boys last time out. The full-back, though, was not quite at his fluent best, although he continues to show a lot of attacking verve, with his crossing improving as well. On top of that, he won ten duels while making four clearances.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Varane endured an eventful first half wherein he produced a big block to deny Jarrod Bowen before seeing the ball deflect off of him and into the back of the net from Benrahma’s shot. Continued to improve as the game wore on, winning each of the duels he contested while completing four clearances as well. Completed all but five passes.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
While Varane was a solid presence at the heart of the Manchester United defence, Maguire did quite well too for the most part. Having said that, there was one error that could have proven to be costly, although he was imperious in the air for the most part.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
An exasperating evening for Shaw. While he was typically involved a whole lot in the final third and played a game-high five key passes, there were a few concerning moments at the back, while the decision to award a penalty against him for handball was contentious at best.
This the Luke Shaw we were waiting for. Thanks Ole 👍 pic.twitter.com/Je1CmofDG2
— Scott Patterson (@R_o_M) September 19, 2021
Scott McTominay: 6/10
Having regained fitness, McTominay was back in the starting lineup straightaway. And the Scottish midfielder showed just how important he will be for Manchester United this season, forcing West Ham to bypass him with long passes more often than not. Meanwhile, he showed a lot of promise on the ball, playing a couple of key passes and nearly setting up Cristiano Ronaldo for a goal.
A much-improved display by Fred, who did well to create a solid central midfield partnership along with partner-in-crime McTominay. More reliable on the ball as well, he completed 88 percent of his attempted passes. Needs to continue improving further.
Mason Greenwood: 6/10
Back in the starting lineup, Greenwood flitted in and out of the game at times, although he also showed a new side to his game. This was visible when he released Cristiano Ronaldo for a shot from the acute angle. Still, managed to complete 92 percent of his attempted passes, although he will be itching to score a goal.
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
This was a game that showed the growing chemistry that Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo have been forging. The Portuguese international played a few blind passes in brilliant fashion while his assist for Ronaldo’s goal was delightful as well. Came off as a little too selfish at times, but did his part.
Paul Pogba: 6/10
Deployed on the left wing once again, Pogba’s trademark combination with Bruno Fernandes were to be seen soon. However, at the same time, the Frenchman also lost the ball cheaply a few too many times, especially when Manchester United were in promising positions.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7/10
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in every game he has played for Man Utd since returning to the club:
◎ 3 games
◉ 4 goals
He is inevitable. pic.twitter.com/CYtlhOvG32
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 19, 2021
Is it really surprising by now that Ronaldo scored again? The Portuguese international did well to get in an offside position before reaching Bruno Fernandes’s cross to first have his beard shaved and scoring from a rebound. However, Ronaldo would have felt aggrieved at not being awarded at least one penalty from contentious situations in the side.
Jadon Sancho: 6/10
On for Greenwood, Sancho could not really get to grips with the demands of the game and this was another sub-par showing from the big summer signing.
Jesse Lingard: 7/10
No player has scored more goals at the London Stadium in 2021 than Jesse Lingard .
The home supporters didn’t enjoy his latest quite as much. 😅 pic.twitter.com/HiHi5EQTu1
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 19, 2021
Introduced in place of Pogba, Lingard was brimming with zeal and hunger, which was satiated by a brilliant finish for his goal. The demons from the game against BSC Young Boys has now likely been exorcised by Lingard.
Nemanja Matic: N/A
On for Fred, Matic nearly helped see the game out, although he was overrun in midfield by West Ham late on. Did get involved in Lingard’s goal, though, providing the assist for his goal.