Manchester United 2-1 West Ham: Two Paul Pogba penalties send United into fifth
Report and highlights as Manchester United keep up with top four rivals; West Ham lose third PL game in a row
Last Updated: 14/04/19 12:11am
Paul Pogba scored two penalties for Manchester United as they beat West Ham 2-1 in the Premier League, going above Arsenal into fifth.
The first half was defined by contentious refereeing decisions, with Felipe Anderson's 10th-minute goal incorrectly ruled out for offside before Man Utd were awarded a questionable penalty not long after, which Pogba converted (17).
Anderson deservedly got West Ham back on level terms four minutes after the break, before Ryan Fredericks brought down Anthony Martial in the 79th minute for United's second penalty of the game, which Pogba also powered home.
The win sees Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side go above Arsenal into fifth spot, with the Gunners playing Watford on Monday Night Football, while West Ham have lost their third successive Premier League game and remain in 11th.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Jones (7), Smalling (7), Rojo (6), Dalot (6), Fred (6), Pogba (8), Mata (6), Lingard (6), Martial (7), Lukaku (7).
Subs used: Rashford (7), Pereira (6), Greenwood (5).
West Ham: Fabianski (6), Balbuena (6), Zabaleta (6), Ogbonna (7), Masuaku (7), Noble (6), Rice (7), Lanzini (6), Snodgrass (7), Anderson (7), Hernandez (7).
Subs used: Diangana (5), Antonio (7), Fredericks (5).
Man of the match: Paul Pogba.
How United rode their luck
West Ham should have gone ahead inside ten minutes. Arthur Masuaku's cross was nodded down by Javier Hernandez, allowing Anderson to hook home from close range. However, the offside flag was raised and the goal was ruled out, but replays showed Anderson was being played onside by Diogo Dalot and it should have stood.
Seven minutes later, and it was another slice of bad luck for West Ham as Robert Snodgrass was penalised for a foul on Juan Mata just inside the area, coming in for a loose ball alongside the Man Utd midfielder, although there looked to be little contact.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes from the midweek loss to Barcelona. Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford dropped out with Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Marcos Rojo and Jesse Lingard coming into the XI. West Ham made three changes, bringing in Pablo Zabaleta, Robert Snodgrass and Arthur Masuaku for Ryan Fredericks, Aaron Cresswell and Marko Arnautovic.
But referee Graham Scott emphatically pointed to the spot and Pogba hammered it home without any of the run-up theatrics we have seen previously this season.
Both sides had half-chances to score the next goal, and Anderson went close again on the stroke of half-time. He nipped past Fred on the right-hand side before cutting into the area and trying to score on the angle. However, David de Gea was there to save with his feet and see United go into the break in front.
Anderson finally got his goal four minutes into the second half. West Ham were gifted possession by a poor throw from De Gea, with Manuel Lanzini eventually tricking his way past the Man Utd defence before chipping the ball to the back post. Anderson was there to nod it home, with De Gea seeing the effort slip through his fingers as he was unable to keep it out.
It was an even encounter throughout as both sides continued to seek their first win in two games in all competitions, and Michail Antonio had an instant impact when he came on in the 75th minute. He drove towards goal, shaking off Fred before hammering an effort off the crossbar and forced a leaping, close-range save from De Gea with a bullet header not long after.
But United's win was sealed in the 79th minute as Martial's driving run was halted by a tackle from Fredericks, with Graham Scott pointing to the spot for a second time - this time with little debate. Pogba stepped up again and powered home another penalty to give his side a confidence boost ahead of their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona on Tuesday.
What would VAR have changed?
Probably quite a bit. Felipe Anderson would have had his early goal given and Man Utd’s first penalty would not have been awarded – and who knows how that would have changed the game.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in 14 Premier League home games (W9 D5) since a 0-3 loss against Spurs in August. Only Liverpool (37) and Arsenal (16) are currently on longer unbeaten runs at home in the competition.
- West Ham are winless in their last eight Premier League away games (D1 L7), losing the last four in a row.
- Manchester United have won a league-high 12 Premier League penalties this season. Indeed, it's also the most the Red Devils have ever taken in a single campaign in the competition.
- West Ham had 18 shots in this match, their most in a Premier League away game since December 2016 (24 vs Leicester).
- Felipe Anderson scored his first Premier League goal in 14 games, becoming the first West Ham player to score home and away against Man Utd in the same league season since Jermain Defoe in 2001-02.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "We were lucky to get away with the three points, even a draw at one point we would have taken. Luckily it wasn't Barcelona on the other side, but West Ham played well, played better than us, created chances.
"When you have three games in six days, it is physically tough. But we are looking forward to it, and I feel good about the players for Tuesday, because we cannot get much worse than today."
Manuel Pellegrini: "I'm frustrated, of course, because I think we deserved more than this score, but football is not always won by the team that plays better. I think that for me it was a pleasure to see the team play in the manner they did against Manchester United in their own stadium.
"I always say I prefer to play not so well and win the game, but for me it was a pleasure to see the team playing with the personality and mentality of the big team."
Man of the match - Paul Pogba
It is hard to look past the cool character that was Pogba on Saturday. It is a big ask to step up and take one penalty, let alone two, in front of the Manchester United fans with a top-four race, Champions League and a dip in recent form resting on his shoulders.
But he finished clinically and with confidence, adding to his solidity in midfield for Solskjaer's once again as he continues to flourish under the new manager.
It's a big one for Manchester United on Tuesday - heading to the Nou Camp to play Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, in which they trail 1-0. They will then play Everton in the Premier League next Sunday, live on Sky Sports. For West Ham, they will host Leicester next Saturday.