Manchester United Bailed Out By Old Hero In The 90th Minute

David de Gea's save wins the game for Manchester United

Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s men grabbed all three points in a heart-stopping match against David Moyes’ West Ham. Ole made two changes to the side that lost to Young Boys mid-week in the Champions League.

Jordan Sancho and Donny van de Beek made way for Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood. After losing mid-week to Young Boys United are finding it tough to find some consistency early in the new season.  

First Half

United started the match well and didn’t show the sluggishness that they have been starting matches with lately. Raphael Varane looked good at the back, breaking up passes and taking the ball off of attackers. United found a lot of joy attacking down the left with Luke Shaw finding passes into West Ham’s box. United had the bulk of possession early in the match but neither keeper was really tested yet.

The match seemed to go back and forth with both teams playing some good football. West Ham would let United have possession and look to catch United on the break with some counter attacking football. Bruno Fernandes had the best of the early chances when his volleyed shot, from a Luke Shaw corner, is deflected onto the post by Lukasz Fabianski.  

West Ham Take the Lead

Against the run of play West Ham take the lead 15 mins from half time. Jarrod Bowen passes to an open Said Benrahma at the top of the United box. He is able to get a shot away that takes a huge deflection off of Varane and beats a flat footed De Gea. United’s defense had trouble keeping hold of the ball throughout the match. Harry Maguire in particular was guilty of giving the ball away to often in bad spots, allowing West Ham to attack on the break.

Ronaldo Scores Again

After West Ham’s goal United started to put more pressure on the West Ham defense. Fernandes was the main attacking threat today and gave the assist for Ronaldo’s goal. In the 35th minute Fernandes puts in an inch perfect cross into the box for an on rushing Ronaldo.

He is able to hit a right, side-footed volley directly at Fabianski but he couldn’t keep hold of the ball. It spills right to Ronaldo and he promptly puts it in the back of the net to get United level. Ronaldo has now scored 4 goals in 3 matches for United.

This was United’s 100th Premier League goal against West Ham, which is the most against any team. Just before half time Mason Greenwood slots a pass through to Ronaldo who is breaking down the left. Ronaldo hits a low, right footed shot that looks to be going in saved by Fabianski.  

Second Half

United started the second half full of energy and was able to create some chances after controlling the majority of possession. West Ham are still playing 10 men behind the ball looking to catch United on the counter. Half-way into the second half United start to look tired, McTominay and Fred are looking like they need a break. Many fans were suprised to see McTominay starting having just come back from a groin surgery. He did not look his best and did not look like he was match fit.  

With West Ham starting to attack and control possession more, Ole finally puts some subs on. In the 73rd minute Paul Pogba comes off for Lingard, who gets some applause from the West Ham fans due to his loan spell with the Hammers last season. Greenwood makes way for Jordan Sancho.  Maguire and Fred are having a tough second half and both look tired.

Penalty or No Penalty?

In the 77th minute Ronaldo goes down in the box after Coufal sticks a leg out after Ronaldo dribbles past him. Martin Atkinson, the referee, didn’t see anything wrong with the challenge and after reviewing the incident VAR agreed. Ronaldo is furious though because it did look like Coufal stuck a dangling leg out and tripped him.

Lingard Gets the Winner

In the 89th minute Lingard gets the winning goal against his former team. Nemanja Matic, who just came on for a floundering Fred, finds Lingard with a wonderful pass that goes between three West Ham defenders. Lingard in the box, turns Kurt Zouma to create enough space for a curling, right-footed shot into the top corner.

It is a wonderful goal but Lingard decides not to celebrate his winner against his former team. He showed some respect for the fans by not celebrating.  Nonetheless, this was a nice way for Lingard to make up for his howler in the Champions League this past week. United look all but assured the three points.  

Ronaldo Has Another Penalty Shout

In the 91st minute Ronaldo is brought down again in West Ham’s box, this time by a leggy Zouma.  Even though this one looks like Zouma completely misses the ball and takes out Ronaldo, Atkinson waves play on. Much to Ronaldo’s dismay, VAR doesn’t even bother having a look at the play. United’s bench and Ronaldo are steaming at the missed penalty kick calls.

De Gea’s Heroics Give United All Three Points

Just as the match is about to end, in the final minute of stoppage time, Luke Shaw sticks his arm out just as a cross is about to go in the box.  Atkinson is told to go have a look at the replay on the monitor. After watching for less than a minute, he comes back to the field and says it’s a penalty for West Ham. Instead of having a player who is warmed up and has had a kick of the ball, the West Ham manager, David Moyes, puts on a cold, 34 year old Mark Noble.

The only reason I can find for why Moyes would put Noble on is that he hasn’t missed a penalty in about four years. It has been around five years since De Gea saved a penalty, but as Noble walked up to take the kick you could sense that this was getting saved. Noble ends up hitting a terrible pen to De Gea’s left and sees his weak shot saved with a strong hand from De Gea.

Thanks to De Gea’s save, United are able to take all three points and once again come from behind to get the win away from home. That takes the Red Devil’s record to 29 top-flight games unbeaten on the road.  Despite not looking great at the back again, United get another win and sit in second place.

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