West Ham United may still be waiting for a win in 2024 but it has taken until the first week of February for them to endure their first defeat of the New Year, after a 3-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. The result meant that the Hammers were unable to do the double over Erik ten Hag’s men and, as a consequence, they have slipped to seventh in the Premier League table.
Two changes were made from the home draw with AFC Bournemouth three days earlier, as David Moyes dropped both Konstantinos Mavropanos and Kalvin Phillips to the bench, therefore restoring Vladimír Coufal to the starting line-up. Nayef Aguerd had been missing since 20 December, due to illness, together with being involved in Morocco’s Africa Cup of Nations. The defender was back in action for his club here. Ben Johnson did however retain his place from the encounter against the Cherries.
Divin Mubama and Oliver Scarles once again took their places amongst the substitutes.
To be fair to the visitors, in complete contrast to the game earlier in the week, they were passing the ball well and creating a number of opportunities. The only problem was that they were unable to capitalize on them. Emmerson Palmieri looked to play Jarrod Bowen in but couldn’t do so, while Tomáš Souček was inches away from breaking the deadlock but his deflected effort was instinctively saved by André Onana, following a corner from James Ward-Prowse.
The Red Devils were then awarded a corner of their own. After it was sent into the box, Bruno Fernandes tried his luck with a curling effort. Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola did brilliantly to keep it out.
In no way could anyone say that the hosts were dominating their opponents but they did go in front on twenty four minutes. West Ham Captain Kurt Zouma failed to clear and the ball fell kindly for Casemiro, who somehow found Rasmus Højlund. The Denmark forward created space for himself to move into and then sent an unstoppable shot past Areola.
Going a goal down didn’t appear to phase the East Londoners who responded almost immediately but unfortunately, Johnson’s venomous effort from long-range was again saved by Onana.
Moyes’ men continued to create chances with both Edson Álvarez and Mohammed Kudus going close to an equaliser but they weren’t able to send their team level going into the break.
They probably should have scored at least one goal before referee Andrew Madley blew the half-time whistle but they knew that they had forty five more minutes in order to rectify matters.
Areola was accidentally hurt by Zouma earlier in the half so, as a precaution, Moyes replaced the Frenchman with Łukasz Fabiański.
The visitors perhaps should have got themselves back on level terms shortly after the restart. Palmieri caught Harry Maguire in possession and from there, he raced towards goal. Unfortunately though, the Italian didn’t make use of the support that was coming up behind him and sent his attempt wide.
Just as it looked like the visitors were going to get back on level terms, they were instead two behind. Fernandes set up Alejandro Garnacho and the youngster then cut inside onto his left foot and shot past the substitute stopper, thanks to a deflection from Aguerd.
Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot had chances to extend the home side’s advantage but fortunately for the large travelling contingent, they didn’t make the most of them.
It was soon West Ham’s turn to fashion another opportunity. Ward-Prowse set off on the counter-attack and played in Palmieri. However, everything that the former Chelsea defender tried just wasn’t coming off, as he shot straight at Onana.
More evidence then showed that it clearly wasn’t going to be West Ham’s day. Bowen eased past Maguire and was through on goal, only to be denied by a great challenge from Dalot.
With seventeen minutes of normal time to play, Moyes made a double change with Phillips and Maxwel Cornet replacing Coufal and Souček. There was still enough time for the changes to make an impact!!!
Instead, the Red Devils had other ideas and made sure that the Irons would leave Manchester with nothing to show for their efforts. Scott McTominay had earlier entered the fray for youngster Kobie Mainoo and the Scotland international midfielder then gave the ball to Garnacho, who went on to beat Fabiański for a second time.
The East Londoners have another chance to do a league double on Sunday afternoon when Arsenal arrive in Stratford. Remember, the Hammers also dumped the Gunners out of the Carabao Cup back in November.