Friday, 11 May 2018

Match report: West Ham United 0-0 United

Jose's United picked up the point we needed to secure a second - placed league finish with a game to spare in a dead rubber tie at the London Stadium. With the FA Cup final in mind - and perhaps to enable him to look at players to keep or not next season - it was an unorthdox 3-4-2-1 formation with no out-and-out strikers and eight changes from the side that lost at Brighton last time out.

The Reds end the season at home to Watford on Sunday, another tie in which Jose is set to rotate his side again ahead of the cup final clash with Chelsea next week. With a back three against the Hammers and former United boss David Moyes, there was an experimental look to the line-up as the hosts, who secured Premier Leageu safety at Leicester, started brightly. In-form Marko Arnautovic had an early effort saved by David De Gea, and the livewire Austrian then went close again after Chris Smalling's nervy miscue.

Scott McTominay flashed a drive wide, before Adrian made the first of a number of impressive saves when he beat out Jesse Lingard's effort from distance as the West Ham stopper started to his earn his corn. He saved well from Alexis and Luke Shaw thumped against the post from the rebound, before the recalled wing-back tested the keeper again in a strong spell of United pressure before the interval.

Arnautovic continued to look a threat and drifted past Smalling to find Joao Mario at the near post but his flicked header drifted off target before Lingard was thwarted again by the increasingly busy Adrian. United continued to carve out chances, this time through Paul Pogba who went close twice in quick succession with a header and a 30 yarder which he thumped narrowly wide after excellent build up play from Alexis.

The match petered out into nothing as the clock ticked down with both sides seemingly content to hold what they had. Arnautovic sliced a wayward volley off target and Phil Jones cleared went under pressure from substitute Andy Carroll. Completely out of context in a typical end of season nothing tie, there was an unexpected rise in the temperature with both Pogba and Mark Noble booked for a fiery coming together in the dying moments. The West Ham skipper was fortunate not to escape more serious censure for raising his arms before Carroll and Luke Shaw became involved in the melee.

Dave claimed his maiden Golden Glove award with the result United's 18th clean sheet of the campaign.

Overall team performance: 6/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Jesse Lingard

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