Manchester United vs. West Ham United: Final score 3-1, United breeze past limp Hammers

Stu Forster

West Ham offered minimal resistance against Manchester United at Old Trafford, losing 3-1 after a limp display

No Robin van Persie? No Marouane Fellaini? No Michael Carrick? No problem. Manchester United ran riot over West Ham at Old Trafford, with goals from Danny Welbeck, Adnan Januzaj and Ashley Young ensuring that a late consolation from Carlton Cole was rendered meaningless.

The hosts were on the attack from the beginning, and would have taken the lead in the second minute if not for a heroic stop by Adrian. Januzaj's cross following a short corner hit a West Ham defender and fell perfectly for Tom Cleverley, who met the loose ball with a shot that looked destined for goal until Adrian swatted it away.

It took some time for United to mount another coherent goal threat, with some bad decisions in the final third helping the Hammers keep them at bay, but they'd find their breakthrough just before the half-hour mark. Welbeck flicked on to Wayne Rooney, who drove into the box and then repaid the favour with a clever reverse pass. Welbeck made no mistake with the finish, placing his shot underneath the unfortunate Adrian and in at the far corner.

Buoyed by the goal, United began piling on the pressure, with Januzaj in particular looking lively. A clash with Mark Noble in the box failed to earn his side a penalty, so the youngster took things further, playing a one-two with Welbeck before turning James Collins inside-out and shooting right footed past Adrian. Not content with the goal, Januzaj then picked up a booking for a rather hilarious dive near the halfway line.

The hosts had plenty of chances to extend their lead. Antonio Valencia blazed over when picked out by Rafael at the top of the box, Welbeck failed to attack a Januzaj cross properly and Jonny Evans had a header cleared off the line by Noble. Javier Hernandez, on for Welbeck after the striker picked up a knee injury, then had a goal ruled out incorrectly for offside.

United's wastefulness didn't really matter, because West Ham were failing to threaten David de Gea's goal. Heck, they were failing to even threaten to threaten David de Gea's goal. But United didn't want any nervy moments, and they turned on the class in the 72nd minute, with Rooney setting up Young for an unstoppable 18-yard strike that rocketed straight into the top corner to make it 3-0.

Alexander Buttner's introduction for Patrice Evra gave the visitors a glimpse of defensively-incompetent-hope, and his failure to play the line properly allowed Cole to finish one on one past de Gea, and West Ham were baying for a penalty after Cleverley blocked Ravel Morrison's shot with his hand on the edge of the box.  But it was all too little too late, and United were able to comfortably see out the remainder of the match.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-4-1-1): David de Gea; Patrice Evra (Alexander Buttner 80'), Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Rafael; Adnan Januzaj (Ashley Young 69'), Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia; Wayne Rooney; Danny Welbeck (Javier Henandez 53').

Goals: Welbeck 26', Januzaj 36', Young 72'.

West Ham United starting lineup (4-5-1): Adrian; George McCartney, James Tomkins, James Collins (Razvan Rat 75'), Guy Demel; Matthew Jarvis (Carlton Cole 71'), Mohamed Diame, Mark Noble, Ravel Morrison, Matthew Taylor (Jack Collison 62'); Modibo Maiga.

Goals: Cole 82'.

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