United thump Hammers
Man Utd 4 – 0 West Ham
Goal Scorers: Lukaku (2), Martial, Pogba
United Team: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Mata, Matic, Pogba, Rashford, Mkyitaryan, Lukaku
Subs who appeared: Fellaini, Martial, Lingard
West Ham Team: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Ayew, Noble, Obiang, Arnautovic, Fernandes, Hernandez
Subs who appeared: Sakho, Rice, Cresswell
United fans were excited, nervous and anxious about what they were going to see from their side today. On the day of the new Premier League season for the Red Devils, the team certainly delivered in style!
Jose Mourinho set up his team in a 4-5-1 formation which was matched by the Hammers. He handed starts to Lukaku and Matic, while Lindelof was not selected in the match day squad. Phil Jones got the opportunity to impress, he didn't do anything amazing but was solid. United started off well, playing some nice football and Matic was the difference already. Cleaning up the 2nd ball, even dancing around a couple of West Ham players on the far touchline and his distribution was excellent. Even though it's early in his United career, he could be as important for Jose Mourinho as Roy Keane was to Alex Ferguson. Lukaku opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, setup from a counter attack, Matic closed down the West Ham midfield and the ball fell to Rashford in his own half. Rashford sprinted 40-50 yard, slotting a beautiful through ball to Lukaku who's shot hit the inside of the post and went in. On his debut scoring in front of the Stretford End, what more could he have asked for? United ended the first half defending for their lives with Eric Bailly putting his body on the line to try to stop West Ham from scoring. The noticeable tactical move by Slavin Bilic was the man marking of Antonio Valencia. Bilic had pinpointed the right back as United' out ball and to be fair he stopped United from making much head way.
As the second half started, United were always going to be allowed more space as the Hammers would have to come to try and score. However, it was United who scored the next one, a free kick on the left-hand side, crossed in Mkhitaryan onto the head of Lukaku for his second 7 minutes into the half. He won't score an easier header for United, there was no tactical ‘NFL style' runs, just move towards the goal and use the power of the ball to guide it home. United were in cruise control. Rashford, who had played okay throughout the game, was unlucky not to score. Cutting in from the right, with a terrific shot which hit the bottom of the post went across the goal and out for a goal kick. That's the difference at the moment between Lukaku and Rashford, one hits the post and goes in, the other goes wide. Anthony Martial who came on as a sub made it 3 in the 87th minute to United, with Mkyitaryan sliding the ball through to him after some neat play outside the box and a cool finish from the Frenchman, in the style of his French colleague Thierry Henry, opened his body up and curled into the far corner from 12 yards. The game was wrapped up in the 90th minute with a good finish from Paul Pogba, who picked the ball just inside the opposition half and took a shot from 25 yards out. I think it was poor positioning play by Joe Hart but if you don't shoot, you won't score.
Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday said United wouldn't be more expansive than last season, I thought we were very expansive, not just a long ball side but some neat intricate play and three of our goals came from good, on the ground football. It left me really excited to see how United perform over the coming season! I thought Matic was fantastic, Lukaku scored twice on his EPL debut, Mata looked sharp and Pogba got a goal. The worst performers for me today were Daley Blind and Mkyitaryan, Blind could not put a good corner in all day and Mkhitaryan who set up two goals and went on a mazy run did not perform for 90 minutes. A bright spot for Martial, United rejecting an offer from Spurs and he comes on, scores a goal and assists for Pogba. United off to a flyer and sending out a message to everyone in the Premier League that we are on fire!