Man United wins 4th straight, beats West Ham 3-1
Manchester United continued its resurgence by recording a fourth
straight win, comfortably seeing off a disappointing West Ham 3-1
in the Premier League.
Danny Welbeck’s first goal at Old Trafford since October 2012
was followed by a superb effort from Adnan Januzaj as United took
command before the break on Saturday.
Substitute Ashley Young then produced the perfect first-time
finish to Wayne Rooney’s layoff to ensure Carlton Cole’s late
strike was nothing more than a consolation.
United started the game trying to avoid a third straight defeat
at Old Trafford for the first time since 1979 though this never
United provisionally moves up a spot to seventh. West Ham stays
immediately above the relegation zone.
It was not all good news for United manager David Moyes as
Welbeck departed with an injury early in the second half and
Januzaj was booked for diving.
However, United’s winning streak equals the best it has managed
since Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer and represents
an encouraging entrance to the festive campaign, when United really
need to hit the accelerator if they are to mount any challenge
toward the top end of the table.
A brilliant reaction save from West Ham goalkeeper Adrian to
deny Tom Cleverley inside the first minute, followed by an extended
period of possession without creating too much, hinted at another
difficult afternoon for the Red Devils.
Yet the home supporters remained resolutely behind the team and
United retained the confidence to attack.
And when Welbeck found the returning Rooney and was on hand to
collect the return, he had sufficient self-belief to drive an
effort goalwards in the 26th minute. Making his Premier League
debut, Adrian was unable to stop the ball going under him.
Not that Welbeck was complaining. His first goal in this stadium
for 427 days took him to six for the campaign, three times as many
as he managed in the whole of last season.
After that, the 18-year-old Januzaj took center stage. He
received a rebuke from Mark Noble when he went down in the box, yet
the West Ham man had levered him out of the way and was fortunate
not to concede a penalty.
Within a minute, Januzaj was exchanging passes with Welbeck and
powering home his first goal at Old Trafford in the 36th as James
Collins was made to look foolish by the ease with which Januzaj
stepped aside him.
In a mixed afternoon, Januzaj’s blatant dive by the touchline
drew a deserved booking.
Welbeck’s departure 10 minutes after the restart with what
appeared to be an ankle injury could add to an already lengthy list
United do have options though, as substitute Javier Hernandez
proved when he fired home from 12 yards, only for the effort to be
harshly ruled out for offside.
The hosts did not need to wait long for their third though, with
Young continuing his superb week by applying the finish to Rooney’s
layoff in the 72nd.
Moyes took the opportunity to give hard-working full-back
Patrice Evra a break.
However, it was the Frenchman’s replacement, Alexander Buttner,
who lost his concentration to allow Cole to break the offside trap
for the Hammers’ late strike in the 81st, which denied United its
biggest home win of the season.