United ‘Hammered’ in London
Manchester United lost 2-0 at West Ham yesterday to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side winless in seven English Premier League (EPL) matches on the road stretching back into last season.
To compound United’s problems, Marcus Rashford limped off early in the second half after Andriy Yarmolenko had given the hosts the lead in the 44th minute. Aaron Cresswell completed the victory by curling in a free kick in the 84th.
With Anthony Martial already missing through injury and youngster Mason Greenwood ill, United finished the match without a recognised striker and Jesse Lingard playing in attack.
Rashford’s early departure will raise more questions about United’s summer transfer business, when the club failed to bring in a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
“We’ve got to scan him tomorrow,” Solskjaer said of Rashford. “He felt his groin, so he’ll probably be out for a little while.”
While West Ham have 11 points in six matches – after three wins from four – United are three points worse off. Solskjaer is tasked with returning United to the four UEFA Champions League places.
“It’s a good group to work with,” Solskjaer said. “Sometimes along the road, you’re going to hit some bumps as we’ve said. Some highs and lows.
“This group was out there determined and they showed the desire we want to get out. It was a good atmosphere in the dressing room and they have got the focus right.”
José Mourinho, who was fired to make way for Solskjaer last December, was withering in his assessment while working as a TV pundit on the game.
“We were bad last season, but I don’t see any improvement this season – even with three new players,” Mourinho said on Sky Sports. “I have to say, players with a positive impact. I like the three and I think they’re bringing good quality to the team.
“But the team, as a team, I don’t like at all. I’m not surprised by the result and I don’t think Ole can take many positives from the game.”
There were many positives for West Ham, who enjoyed a fourth successive clean sheet in all competitions.
“The feel-good factor at the club is really high and it makes it a little bit special when you get Manchester United at home and perform like that,” West Ham captain Mark Noble said. “This gives us belief, maybe, that we can compete with the top teams.”
Elsewhere on the day, 10-man Arsenal toiled at home against Aston Villa. After going down in the 20th minute to John McGinn’s strike, record-signing Nicholas Pépé netted his first goal for Arsenal to level the game, but Villa went ahead 90 seconds later through Wesley. Calum Chambers put Unai Emery’s side level once more, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck a well-placed free kick for the 3-2 win, moving the Gunners to fourth on 11 points.
Liverpool extended their 100 per cent run in the league with a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino got Liverpool’s goals in the 14th and 30th minutes, respectively, while Chelsea got their consolation through N’Golo Kante in the 71st minute.
Yesterday’s EPL results:
Crystal Palace 1-1 Wolves
West Ham 2-0 Man United
Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool