Manchester United secured all three points as they defeated West Ham 3-0 in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
The game started off fairly tamely, but a big save from André Onana in the 10th minute soon spurred things into life, with United having three shots on target in the opening 15 minutes – but no goal came from it.
It took just over 20 minutes for the first goal to come; however, once Rasmus Højlund had his chance, there was no stopping him, with the player smashing a hard and low shot beyond Alphonse Areola to put United 1-0 up.
Alejandro Garnacho added another in the second half through a deflected effort five minutes in, before slotting his second goal of the game and United’s third with five minutes to play.
#1 – Højlund can’t stop!
After much was made of his poor start to the season, Højlund is well and truly firing in front of goal, with his first against West Ham taking him to ten for the season, and the only player in the United squad into double figures.
He has four goals and two assists in his last four Premier League fixtures, showing more and more signs that he can become the high-quality striker that the club hopes he will be.
#2 – Maguire’s mixed return
Harry Maguire starting for United on Sunday represented the first time he had done so since early December when he started against Bayern Munich in the final group game of the Champions League.
Replacing Varane, Maguire looked very solid alongside Lisandro Martínez in the first half, but in the second, he was dispossessed easily to hand Emerson a chance, with the centre-back also gifting Jarrod Bowen a perfect chance to score, who was then denied by Diogo Dalot.
However, it must be stated that Maguire was ultimately part of the defence who was able to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League for the first time in six weeks.
#3 – Garnacho’s great reply
Alejandro Garnacho was recently criticised by former United winger Angel Di Maria for copying the celebrations of Cristiano Ronaldo – who is a hero of the young winger.
After his goal against West Ham, however, Garnacho appeared to respond to the criticism by replicating another one of the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner’s iconic celebrations.
Garnacho added his second goal of the game towards the closing stages, showing that he does not need advice from those who failed at Old Trafford on how to succeed.
#4 – United’s improved defence
Manchester United were able to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League for the first time since 17 December, when they drew 0-0 with Liverpool at Anfield.
Diogo Dalot was in particular impressive, with United able to shut out an attack at Old Trafford for the first time since a 1-0 win over Luton Town on 11 November.
The clean sheet has helped the club jump into 6th position in the Premier League table, where Ten Hag will be eyeing up the battle for the top four.
#5 – Lisandro Martínez’s rotten luck
Just as Martínez seemed to return from injury, there is an almighty scare that he may have suffered another problem.
In the second half, a series of collisions left the player clutching his right knee, and although he initially tried to continue, it became clear that he could not and was substituted for Raphael Varane.
Martinez’s influence on the defence is obvious, and United fans will pray that it is not a serious issue – although there has yet to be any confirmation on this matter.
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