Manchester United eventually cruised to a 3-0 win over a West Ham United side who gave it a really good go in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Rasmus Hojlund opened the scoring after 23 minutes, extending his recent run to four consecutive league appearances with goal and marking his 21st birthday to boot. The even younger Alejandro Garnacho’s brace later sealed things, with the 19-year-old scoring at either end of the second half.
How the game unfolded
West Ham started the contest with their tails up, playing with plenty of the ball in the hosts’ defensive third, and Andre Onana needed to be alert to keep his side going an early goal down. His reflexes were spot on to leap and divert Emerson’s shot to safety.
In the other goal, Alphonse Areola wouldn’t be outdone by his opposite number. Cutting in from the left, Bruno Fernandes looked to have sent a dipping rocket towards the top far corner until the Frenchman’s strong hands pushed the ball to safety.
But there was little stopping Hojlund’s excellent opener. The in-form Dane showed excellent composure to feint his way into position at the edge of the box and unleashed a low finish.
Erik ten Hag’s team hadn’t been poor by any stretch of the imagination, but West Ham might still have wondered how they were behind. Onana then parried away Ben Johnson’s sweetly struck drive from distance to keep it that way.
The Hammers probably should have been level straight after half-time, with Emerson allowed to go through on goal after Harry Maguire’s error. Yet with all the composure of an elephant in a library, the wing-back was bewildered by the opportunity and shanked the eventual shot high and wide.
It proved enormously costly because less than a minute had passed before Garnacho doubled United’s lead. The young winger cut in from the right and was rewarded for his endeavour when his shot took a deflection of Nayef Aguerd to wrong foot replacement goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Old Trafford held its collective breath when Lisandro Martinez, not long back from a foot injury, appeared to jar his knee in an innocuous tangle with Vladimir Coufal. He was treated and returned to the pitch but lasted only a few moments more before accepting he couldn’t continue.
In the midst of that, West Ham had a glorious chance to pull one back when Edson Alvarez delivered the ball over Maguire’s head to send Jarrod Bowen racing clear. But as he wound up to pull the trigger, flying back was Diogo Dalot…