Sunday, June 24, 2018

West Ham 3-2 Manchester United: Five things we learn as Hammers bid farewell to Upton Park

Upton Park heading to history / Image via

Upton Park heading to history / Image via

It has been a match fitting of the occasion as West Ham played host to Manchester United in the final ever match at their ground Upton Park.

The Hammers claimed a memorable 3-2 win over Red Devils to pay a fantastic tribute to the stadium they called their home since 1904.

Slaven Bilic was reduced to tears by the result, his team’s performance and fantastic support from the fans, who stood by the team through thick and thin during the long 112 years of rich history.

It all started well for West Ham who opened the scoring only ten minutes into the game through a brilliant team effort finished by Sakho. Anthony Martial levelled the score after 51 minutes, while the same player completely turned the result upside down with his second in the game 20 minutes later.

It seemed that West Ham were running out of steam after an intense first half, but the Hammers got back up thanks to Antonio after 76 minute, before Winston Reid brought his team the lead for the second time in the match and a memorable 3-2 win.

An emotional event was rounded off by a brilliant match and here are the 5 things we learned from the final ever game at Upton Park:

Fans threatened to destroy the occasion

West Ham supporters smashed the Manchester United bus on its way to the stadium prior to Tuesday’s game in an incident that marred the celebratory occasion and a fond farewell. The Manchester United coach was pelted by rocks and bottles by the fans who gathered outside the stadium.

The game was delayed for the full 45 minutes as Manchester United team struggled to make their way to the stadium. Manchester United players and management arrived at the ground just 30 minutes before the original kick-off and the beginning of the match was forced to be rescheduled.

The referee Mike Dean made the decision to postpone the kick-off after talks with match officials.

Manchester United captain Wayne Roone was disappointed with the behaviour from West Ham fans, whose antics and scandalous behaviour in the end did not affect the celebration.

West Ham are the team with a huge heart

Bilic’s tears after the match spoke volumes of his dedication.

The Croatian manager is a loveable character and an overall positive presence in the Premier League and it will be a proper joy to watch him in his second season with the Hammers next term.

He might not be leading his side into the Champions League despite a long period when it looked like he might, but Europa League finish is within an arm’s reach and should be considered as huge achievement for the Hammers.

West Ham proved they can beat anyone in the league, Bilic’s team is not backing down under a challenge and is always up for the fight until the very end.

It did seem like West Ham have lost the plot during the some parts of tonight’s game against Manchester United as Hammers lost the intensity and composure towards the end of the first half and at the beginning of the second term, but they did great to get back into the game and make things hard for resurgent United.

With a couple of right additions in all the right places West Ham could prove to be a big hit next year.

Manchester United lack a spark under Van Gaal

As the football community speculates about Van Gaal’s future at Manchester United, the fans are scratching their heads over the manager’s decision making and the Board’s likely decision to stick with the Dutchman for the next season.

Terrible defending, Daley Blind at a completely wrong place and Wayne Rooney deeper than he ever was for United are the two things that stand out tonight.

Defence line is in desperate need of fresh blood and improved quality, while the midfield lacks organisation, creativity and wisdom.

Manchester United will have to act accordingly during the summer transfer window.

Anthony Martial justifying his hefty price tag

The talented Frenchman had an electric start to his life at Manchester United, but the closure of his debut season with the Red Devils is of a similar electricity.

His brace against West Ham is oozing calmness of an experienced striker, not the teenage boy and former Monaco striker has once again proved his worth against all the critics.

Having notched 11 goals so far, the 20-year-old has reaches a very creditable tally and will only get better once he is fully settled and once he completes a full preseason with the club.

United’s top 4 finish in real danger

It looked as if Manchester United were getting close to their ultimate aim at one point, but West Ham burst that bubble and Red Devils will be force to tremble until the very end for their Champions League spot.

United needed a win to keep the dream alive and they could still turn the situation over on the final day, but the things are not looking great.

Manchester City now only need a point from their visit to Swansea and their own chances of keeping the top four place are now looking quite livelier, much to the pleasing of Pep Guardiola for sure.

WEST HAM: Randolph 6.5 – Antonio 7, Reid 7, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 6.5 – Lanzini 6.5 (Obiang 6.5), Kouyate 7.5, Noble 7, Payet 7 (Valencia 6) – Sakho 7 (Tomkins 6), Carroll 6.

Unused subs: Collins, Emenike, Moses, Spiegel.

MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea 6.5 – Valencia 7 (Januzaj 5.5), Smalling 6.5, Blind 5.5, Rojo 6 – Schneiderlin 6 (Carrick 6) – Mata 6.5, Herrera 6 (Lingard 6), Rooney 7, Martial 7.5 – Rashford 7.

Unused subs: Borthick-Jackson, Depay, Jones, Romero.

REFEREE: Mike Dean


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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