In a battle to continue their respective pushes towards the top four, Manchester United and West Ham United played out a fascinating encounter at Old Trafford on Sunday night. It went from being dull to full of drama and back again multiple times, but in the end, a Craig Dawson own goal was enough to hand the Red Devils all three points.
Even though they didn’t blow West Ham out of the water, with the scoreline proving that, Manchester United still seemed to be in real control of this fixture with a sense of composure in their game we rarely see. They aren’t going to be viewed as legitimate title contenders so long as rivals Manchester City keep on winning, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has found a structure that works and we could see that transition into some silverware over the next few years if they can keep it up.
The Benrahma effect
He may not have been the sole catalyst behind it, but Said Benrahma quite clearly had a role to play in West Ham finally waking up and taking part in the game. They struggled to show any kind of forward-thinking intent throughout the first hour and alongside Lanzini, they seemed to try and get after the hosts. It didn’t lead to the Hammers coming away with anything other than a defeat but as we look ahead to the future, the club can look at Benrahma as someone who can be a real impact player – which should’ve already been obvious.
Top four secure?
Manchester United are priced at 1/20 with Betfair to finish in the top four and while there’s every chance they will collapse between now and the end of the campaign, this is definitely a positive step in the right direction. Solskjaer can see the title slipping away but in a lot of ways, that’s okay. They’ve got a good base with which to build on as they attempt to secure 2nd, they’re still in the mix in the Europa League and they’re only one win away from getting back to Wembley through the FA Cup. If that isn’t progress, we don’t know what is.
Manchester United: Henderson (6.5), Shaw (7), Maguire (7.5), Lindelof (7), Wan-Bissaka (7.5), Fred (7), McTominay (7), Rashford (6.5), Fernandes (7.5), James (7), Greenwood (7)
West Ham: Fabianski (7), Diop (7), Dawson (6), Cresswell (6.5), Rice (7), Coufal (6.5), Noble (6.5), Soucek (6.5), Johnson (6), Bowen (7), Antonio (6), Lanzini (6.5), Benrahma (6.5)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Goals: Dawson OG
Yellow Cards: Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, James, Rashford
Red Cards: N/A
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