West Ham United recorded their first victory at Old Trafford since 2007 after beating the Red Devils 1-0 on Wednesday night to progress to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. It also brings to an end a winless run for boss David Moyes against his former team since leaving Manchester in 2014.
Moyes made ten changes to the side that lost to the same opponents three days ago, which included debuts for Alphonse Areola in goal, as well as Alex Král in midfield. Jarrod Bowen was the only player to retain his place.
After suffering their first defeat of the season in Stratford at the weekend, the Hammers were keen not to fall to the same opponents in successive games and to be fair, it was the visitors who made the brighter start of the two teams.
They were certainly showing that they meant business with just three minutes gone. Andriy Yarmolenko got the better of defender Alex Telles and found Bowen in the area but unfortunately, the former Hull City man couldn’t quite get a good enough connection on the ball, eventually sending it wide of Dean Henderson’s post.
The Irons had another chance to go ahead just three minutes later with Yarmolenko involved again. This time, the Ukrainians initial shot found its way to Král who tried his luck but his effort deflected off Eric Bailly and went over the top.
If you keep applying pressure, often it eventually pays off and this proved to be the case, as Moyes’ men did have the away end cheering after just nine minutes had been played.
The East Londoners were giving Telles a torrid time and he was the victim again, as it was the turn of Ryan Fredericks to turn the heat up on the defender and the former Fulham man cleverly pulled the ball back for Manuel Lanzini to not only score his first ever goal against Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men but his first in this competition.
Just after the excitement, there was soon disappointment for the Hammers, as Moyes was forced into an early change. Fredericks had picked up a groin injury and was replaced by Vladimír Coufal.
Then the home side came on strong. Three days after scoring what turned out to be the winner at the weekend, Jesse Lingard went down under Mark Noble’s challenge but referee Jonathan Moss gave nothing.
Solskjær’s side went close again minutes later, as Diogo Dalot was on the charge but fortunately for the travelling support, Noble was perfectly placed to get a crucial block in.
The resulting corner saw Areola punch clear and Juan Mata went for the spectacular with the Frenchman out of his goal but fortunately, it wasn’t the equaliser, as the effort came back off the crossbar.
Anthony Martial had another great opportunity to level matters when he was played in by Nemanja Matić but instead of shooting, he missed the target and rolled the ball across goal when well-placed.
West Ham were then forcing the home side to shoot from long-range. Donny van de Beek had two bites at the cherry but he wasn’t successful with any of them. Former Hammers’ loanee Lingard was next to have a go but his swerving effort was well saved by Areola.
Bowen was unlucky not to have put the visitors further ahead but the offside flag was raised when he tried to meet Coufal’s ball.
The Red Devils had a number of chances to equalise before the break but it was West Ham who had the advantage at half-time.
The hosts’ domination continued when the action restarted, as they went close through Jadon Sancho when he volleyed over. Then minutes later Dalot tried his luck but West Ham’s defence were still standing firm.
Mason Greenwood was introduced by Solskjær with an hour gone and he nearly made an instant impact when he raced past Issa Diop and got in a good position for his team but he didn’t test Areola, as he made a hash of his effort.
The youngster went close again minutes later but he could only force the Frenchman into a comfortable save.
On sixty eight minutes, Moyes made a double change, as Nikola Vlašić and Pablo Fornals replaced Arthur Masuaku and Lanzini.
As the hosts continued to foray forward, West Ham were determined to keep thwarting them. Sancho was the unlucky one this time, as Coufal, Craig Dawson and Noble were all alert to the oncoming danger.
After surviving wave after wave of home pressure, West Ham then went close on a number of occasions as they looked to cement their place in the fourth round draw. The best opportunity was when Noble won the battle for possession with substitute Bruno Fernandes and set Yarmolenko away. The frontman only had Henderson to beat but unfortunately, he saw his shot hit the post when it seemed easier to score.
Noble was named skipper for the evening in the absence of Declan Rice and he had a similar opportunity minutes later. Bowen picked him out and the midfielder ran the full length of the pitch but when it came to the crunch, Henderson denied him.
The Hammers were trying their very best to finish the tie off and Bowen nearly achieved this himself but Henderson came out on top again.
The large contingent of away supporters celebrated loudly when Moss blew the final whistle. If you thought that a tie against Manchester United was a difficult one to overcome, West Ham now face the team who have won the competition for the last four seasons, as Manchester City are next on the agenda.
Before then though, attention turns to another away trip and the Premier League encounter at Elland Road against Leeds United on Saturday afternoon.