Manchester United have moved into the Premier League top four despite failing to beat West Ham United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
The Hammers claimed the lead on the stroke of half-time as Michail Antonio made United and Paul Pogba pay for a handball in the box with a cool penalty. Mason Greenwood equalised for the Red Devils shortly after the break with his tenth Premier League goal of the campaign. United pushed for a winning goal but weren’t quite able to break West Ham’s new found tenacity as they moved into the top four ahead of what looks to be a thrilling conclusion to the campaign.
Quiet first-half at Old Trafford
Able to seize a top-four position from Leicester City ahead of the two sides’ crunch meeting on the final day, United set their stall out early with Anthony Martial and Greenwood testing Łukasz Fabiański. Marcus Rashford also set his sights from range but his swerving effort was punched away by the Polish stopper.
The best opportunity of the half for the hosts arguably fell to Greenwood as the ball fortunately fell to him practically on the penalty spot but Angelo Ogbonna managed to get in a great block to deny the youngster.
There was a late chance for the Hammers to head into the break with the lead as in-form Antonio got on the end Ben Johnson’s dangerous cross but his headed effort was straight at David De Gea.
David Moyes and his troops received an even better opportunity seconds before the break though. From a well-worked free-kick, Declan Rice’s thunderous effort hit the arms of Pogba. VAR intervened and awarded the visitors a penalty. Antonio was the man to step up and he was successful once again, tucking away his effort, taking his count to eight goals since the Premier League restart.
Greenwood steps up once again
The Red Devils improved after the break and it didn’t take too long for them to get level. Fantastic combination play between Greenwood and Martial saw the ball returned to the former in the box. He struck with a typically clinical finish that flew past Fabianski and into the bottom corner.
Jarrod Bowen might have regained the lead soon after but his left-footed shot was well tipped over by De Gea as both sides pushed for a winner within the closing half an hour but neither were able to edge ahead and claimed a hard-fought point.
A win really would have gone a long way to Manchester United potentially securing a place in the top-four. However, the Red Devils weren’t quite at their best throughout the game. Their attacking football was really lacking, with West Ham, who have now confirmed their place in the Premier League, proving to be a stubborn opponent. Having said that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men now just need a point in the final match to secure a place in the top four.
Manchester United: De Gea (7); Williams (6), Maguire (7), Lindelof (6); Fosu-Mensah (5) (Wan-Bissaka (6), 45′); Matic (6), Pogba (5); Greenwood (7), Fernandes (6), Rashford (6) (Ighalo (N/A), 84′), Martial (6).
West Ham United: Fabianski (7); Cresswell (7) (Masuaku (6), 75′), Ogbonna (6), Diop (6), Johnson (6); Rice (6), Soucek (7); Fornals (6), Noble (7), Bowen (7) (Yarmolenko (N/A), 90+1′), Antonio (7) (Haller (N/A), 77′).
Goals: Antonio (PEN 45+2′), Greenwood (51′)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Yellow Cards: Fosu-Mensah (44′), Rashford (70′), Fernandes (81′), Masuaku (81′)
Red Cards: N/A
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