Fans Back but Hammers Fall to Defeat
Since leaving Old Trafford in 2014, David Moyes has still not won a match against Manchester United and that record unfortunately continued as West Ham United lost 3-1 in Stratford on Saturday evening, meaning the Hammers were unable to make it four consecutive victories.
A maximum of 2000 fans were permitted into the stadium for the first time since 29 February and they saw a team which showed one change from the one that took to the field against Aston Villa last Monday night, as Sébastien Haller was welcomed back into the starting line-up in place of Michail Antonio, who had suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. Haller’s place on the bench was taken by Robert Snodgrass.
Despite winning every Premier League match on the road so far this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side have gone behind in all of them and they were close to doing the same here when Jarrod Bowen combined to good effect with Pablo Fornals but unfortunately, goalkeeper Dean Henderson made a great save to keep the Spaniard’s effort out.
Bowen was definitely a threat and he thought he had opened the scoring but as he beat Henderson just nine minutes later, the flag was raised for offside.
Although the visitors were starting to find their rhythm, the Irons were still dominating proceedings and they missed a golden chance to go in front when Bowen and Fornals linked up again, with the midfielder’s header ending up in the side netting.
The former Villareal player was really orchestrating matters in the opening stages and he went close yet again when he got the better of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, only having Henderson to beat, but unfortunately the ball hit the post before rebounding back into the goalkeeper’s hands.
West Ham finally made their pressure pay on thirty seven minutes. Just as on Monday evening they took the lead from a corner. The set-piece was headed on by stand-in Captain Declan Rice before Tomáš Souček found himself in space and was able to squeeze the ball past Henderson, not only to the delight of those watching in attendance, but also the majority watching from afar.
The home side ended Aston Villa’s unbeaten run on the road last time out and they were just forty five minutes away from ending a similar record for the Red Devils.
The visitors had to turn to the bench to help them claim victory at Southampton last weekend and they did the same again here, as Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes took the places of both Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani.
The hosts should have doubled their advantage at the start of the second-half as Haller linked up well with Vladimír Coufal and the Czech played in Bowen but the former Hull City man couldn’t benefit on this occasion.
The Hammers were left to rue those missed opportunities just after the hour as the visitors levelled when a long ball from Henderson picked out Fernandes and he in turn set up Paul Pogba who sent a curling effort past Łukasz Fabiański.
Just four minutes later, Solskjær’s men had turned the game around as Fabianski was beaten again when Mason Greenwood gave the Pole no chance with a clever finish.
The Red Devils were really coming on strong by this point and Rashford could have added another but instead, he saw his effort hit the woodwork but that didn’t deter him as he added his name to the scoresheet just minutes later to seal all three points for the visitors.
Not even the introductions of Saïd Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini could inspire the East Londoners who fell to their first defeat since the reverse at Anfield on 31 October.
They are back in action again on Friday when they travel to Elland road to face newly-promoted Leeds United.