Man Utd missed the chance to go top of the Premier League after a 0-0 draw with West Ham – their sixth goalless draw of the season, fourth in the Premier League.
However, this was far from a boring affair with West Ham, who have now avoided defeat away at Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool and Man Utd this season, creating four fantastic chances, including hitting the post twice.
It was a case of what might have been for the Hammers, who were aggrieved that Bastian Schweinsteiger wasn't shown a red card in the first-half for an apparent elbow into the throat of Winston Reid that drew no card from referee Mark Clattenburg.
United, who were booed off by a section of the home fans, came on strong towards the end of the game but failed to finish off some good openings - the pick of which fell to Marouane Fellaini but he was denied from close range.
Both teams came into game with injury problems in attack, captain Wayne Rooney was missing with an ankle injury for the hosts while Manuel Lanzini was ruled out for the visitors owing to a slight groin problem.
Despite home advantage, United started at a pedestrian pace and it was West Ham that created the first major chance.
Mark Noble slipped in Victor Moses, who was to limp off later with a hamstring injury, but through on goal the winger was denied by David de Gea.
Fellaini struggled to make impact on the game on his first start in the Premier League since the 3-1 victory against Liverpool on September 12 although it was his knock down for Anthony Martial on 15 minutes that drew a fantastic goal-saving block from Reid.
West Ham sprung up the other end and created two superb openings within three minutes of each other that both cannoned back off the same post.
Firstly, Chris Smalling's clearance from inside his own six yard box after De Gea's spill bounced off Zarate and then Reid bulleted a header from a Zarate corner against the frame of the goal.
The home fans groaned and the players were becoming frustrated with their inability to break down a well-marshalled West Ham defence and that agitation boiled over on 39 minutes.
Schweinsteiger and Reid clashed as they were waiting for a free-kick from the right and the German World Cup winner appeared to swing an elbow which caught Reid flush in the throat. Clattenberg blew his whistle and called both players over but no cards were brandished to the bemusement of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, who had words with the official as the teams went down the tunnel for half-time.
The game continued in the same pattern in the second-half with United happy to dominate possession and West Ham sitting deep. But yet again, it was the Hammers who created the clear opening on 54 minutes.
Andy Carroll cleverly knocked a ball into the path of Zarate inside the box but from seven yards out and with just De Gea to beat he skewed his shot horribly wide of the far post.
From that moment on, it was the hosts who went on the front-foot.
Jesse Lingard and Martial cut open the West Ham defence down the left on 59 minutes and Lingard sent in a cross that Fellaini looked set to finish, but Adrian dived at his feet and made a brave block.
Van Gaal threw on Memphis Depay in a bid for a late winner and he nearly made the desired impact with 10 minutes left.
His trickery down the left made space to find Martial inside the box, who took the shot first time from 12 yards but it drifted agonisingly wide.
Lingard then flashed a half-volley wide of the post before Smalling had one last chance in injury time but his shot from eight yards was scrambled clear by the brave West Ham rearguard, who were the heartbeat of another fantastic away performance.
Soccer Saturday reaction - Charlie Nicholas
Today it was finishing. It was actually quite an enjoyable 0-0. It wasn't a boring, slow passing day for Manchester United. They started sharply, it was quite bright. They brought Fellaini in and played him just behind Martial. He was heavily involved in the game throughout, both in controversial situations with a nasty challenge on Tomkins and he had two or three lovely knockdowns for Martial in particular. For a spell it was West Ham who were dogged defensively.
We know about their injury situation but when Zarate got the ball there was a little bit of hope and expectation. They hit the same post twice within a minute. The best chances for Manchester United? Martial sliding one wide, Fellaini probably should've scored from about eight yards, didn't get a really good connection which Adrian did well to save. The best chance by a mile was Zarate for West Ham. It was a good, solid, workman-like performance from them. This was to do with Manchester United's finishing. They all had attempts but very rarely did they actually get close to the target.
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Darmian (7), McNair (6), Smalling (6), Blind (6), Schneiderlin (6), Schweinsteiger (6), Mata (6), Fellaini (6), Lingard (7), Martial (6)
Subs: Varela (6), Carrick (6), Memphis (7)
West Ham: Adrian (7), Tomkins (8), Reid (9), Ogbonna (7), Cresswell (7), Song (6), Noble (7), Kouyate (7), Moses (7), Zarate (7), Carroll (7)
Subs: Jenkinson (6), Obiang (6), Antonio (6)
Man of the match: Winston Reid