By Lee Savery
With United fans used to seeing their team go behind in games this season, it was a nice relief to see the team score first. Straight from kick-off United attacked. Michael Carrick played the ball into van Persie’s whose beautiful turn set up a left footed shot that deflected off James Collins and looped over the helpless Jussi Jaaskelainen. With just 31 seconds on the clock, the Dutchman had his 12th goal of the season, in all competitions.
It was all the home side needed in the end on a slightly frustrating night. West Ham were excellent defensively and also threatened with the few chances they did create.
In terms of United’s attack, they also rarely threatened the opposition goalkeeper. Wayne Rooney was wasteful with many attempts but they were mostly from outside the box. Javier Hernandez hit over before seeing a placed shot smartly saved by Jaaskelainen, both in the first half.
Most West Ham efforts were usually off target or blocked by a very sturdy United defence who recorded a rare clean sheet. Chris Smalling & Jonny Evans looked solid and a special mention should go to Rafael who was excellent throughout. The return of the diamond formation also helped that solidity with Anderson, Michael Carrick & Tom Cleverley looking comfortable in the middle of the pitch.
The Hammers came close on a couple of occasions late on. A James Collins free-kick was launched into the box which lead to Carlton Cole’s shot saved by Anders Lindegaard who just stopped it getting to Modibo Maiga who was eventually offside. Maiga would later have a shot go just over, five minutes from time. The United defence looked nervy towards the end but they hung on.
It was not the most routine of victories but United did what they had to do to get the three points.
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