Manchester United vs. West Ham United
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Sunday, 13 August 2017
Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Manchester United cruised to a 4-0 victory over West Ham United in their opening Premier League game of the new season.
Romelu Lukaku’s brace either side of half-time set them on their way in a comfortable day at the office.
Further strikes from Frenchmen Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba added to the visitors’ woes late on in an eye-catching display at Old Trafford.
Lukaku’s bursting run and Mkhitaryan’s curled effort were the highlights of the opening quarter of an hour before the latter saw a shot blocked.
Against his former team, Javier Hernandez’s volleyed cross had to be dealt with by Phil Jones after Lukaku failed to divert Juan Mata’s cut back at the other end.
Neat footwork from Marcus Rashford created space before his shot was blocked behind and Mata should’ve been more selfish, deciding instead to square towards Lukaku only for Angelo Ogbonna to clear over his own bar.
On his Old Trafford debut, Nemanja Matic was thwarted by a block but he was involved in the opening goal moments later.
It was his tackle that allowed Rashford to race clear before sliding in a pass for Lukaku, who finished emphatically via the inside of the near post.
Captain Mark Noble volleyed over, Antonio Valencia forced yet another Hammers block before he himself blocked from Edimilson Fernandes.
David De Gea then parried the latter’s strike as half-time arrived on the opening match at Old Trafford.
Early after the break, Pogba trusted Rashford’s pace and was rewarded when the youngster reached the ball, but the attacker curled wide of the far post under pressure from Winston Reid.
The 19-year-old then won the free-kick which saw Pablo Zabaleta booked and Lukaku head home Mkhitaryan’s exquisite free-kick to double the lead.
The Armenia then tapped home but it was ruled off for Rashford’s offside as Marko Arnautovic glanced a header against the bar from a deep cross.
From substitute Diafra Sakho’s free header to Rashford’s breakaway, Lukaku looking for a perfect hat-trick was thwarted, as Joe Hart punched clear Mkhitaryan’s cross and Paul Pogba saw an effort deflected wide.
Pogba then teed up Rashford who blazed over first time and Mkhitaryan’s mazy dribbling ended with his shot held.
Cutting inside onto his favoured right foot, Rashford was unfortunate not to score as he struck the inside of the far post and the ball fell behind for a goal kick on the opposite side.
From full-back to full-back, Valencia’s cross to the far post was met by Daley Blind’s volley which bounced into the ground and onto the top of the net.
Lukaku’s shot from range flew over as did Arnautovic’s fluff from a tight angle before the game was put to bed late on.
Pogba’s pass into Mkhitaryan allowed the playmaker to slip in Martial, who continued his impressive scoring record against West Ham with a fine slotted finish passed Manchester City loanee Hart.
If that wasn’t enough, Martial turned provider for his fellow countryman Pogba who fired his strike into the back of the net in style to round off a great opening day for Jose Mourinho’s outfit.
Having failed to beat West Ham in the last two league encounters, this victory certainly shows signs of progress, with this kind of fixture one of many unnecessary slip-ups United had on their way to a below par sixth placed position last term.
Having played last this week, United are up first next weekend with a trip to Wales to take on Swansea City in a lunchtime kick-off at 12:30pm on Saturday.
United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind; Matic, Pogba; Mata (Fellaini 76) Mkhitaryan (Lingard 89), Rashford (Martial 80); Lukaku.
Subs not used: Romero, Smalling, Darmian, Herrera.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
West Ham: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku (Cresswell 81); Noble (Rice 61), Obiang, Fernandes (Sakho 61); Ayew, Hernandez, Arnautovic.
Subs not used: Adrian, Fonte, Collins, Byram.
Manager: Slaven Bilic