Football News

Man Utd 3-0 West Ham: Erik ten Hag’s young guns burst Hammers bubble

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:00, 4 February 2024

Manchester United returned to successful ways at Old Trafford in the Premier League with a 3-0 win over West Ham this afternoon.

Erik ten Hag’s men’s previous home outing saw them play out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Tottenham, but that was immediately put behind them following a 4-3 success against Wolves earlier in the week.

Kobbie Mainoo’s very late winner ended a two-game winless run in England’s top division and, in the process, set up Man Utd to win back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since November when they went on a three-match winning run.

Mainoo started again, becoming the sixth-youngest player to make 10 Premier League appearances for Manchester United (18 years, 291 days). He was just one day older than Cristiano Ronaldo on his 10th appearance in 2003.

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Even with the visitors looking threatening — registering 12 shots in the opening half alone — United broke the deadlock through Rasmus Højlund, who was celebrating his 21st birthday today. After struggling in front of goal, having failed to net across his opening 14 league appearances, he’s now scored in four consecutive Premier League outings.

In doing so, Højlund became the youngest player to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances for Manchester United. Furthermore, he’s the youngest player to score in four successive Premier League appearances since Dele Alli in January 2017 (20y 268d).

From a historical note, Højlund is only the second player to score on his 21st birthday in the Premier League, along with Noel Whelan in December 1995.

Having not lost a home league game after leading at half-time since May 1984, when Ipswich Town came from a goal behind to run out 2-1 victors, the Red Devils were understandably wary given how leaky their defence has been of late.

Any such apprehension was alleviated when Alejandro Garnacho struck four minutes after the break. That strike, moments after Emerson fluffed his lines, effectively broke West Ham’s resolve. Garnacho ensured no chance of a stunning comeback when he grabbed a second minute from the end.

Days after gifting Bournemouth a goal on his debut, Kalvin Phillips was robbed on the halfway line by Scott McTominay, who raced forward before sliding in Garnacho. It was a simple finish for the Argentine forward, who slotted the ball past Lukasz Fabianski, who came on for the injured Alphonse Areola at the break.

United’s explosive teenage winger has now bagged seven goals for the campaign in all competitions (31 appearances), surpassing his tally for the last term (5 in 34). Having netted one goal in his first 20 league appearances at Old Trafford, he’s now scored four goals across his last three Premier League appearances here.

The result sees Man Utd (sixth) leapfrog West Ham (seventh) in the Premier League table. It also saw a six-game unbeaten run come to an end. The Hammers conceded as many goals today as they had across their six previous league games (3).

For their manager David Moyes, who infamously succeeded legendary Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, he still awaits a first Premier League win at Old Trafford – it’s now 13 losses across 17 visits (four draws).

Ten Hag, meanwhile, has overseen three consecutive wins in all competitions for the first time since October, while it’s the first time they have done so while scoring 3+ goals in each game since January 2023.

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