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Man Utd 1-0 West Ham: 5 talking points as Craig Dawson own goal gifts Red Devils win

Manchester United responded to Leicester City’s win earlier on Sunday by seeing off West Ham at Old Trafford.

It was the second time the Red Devils had seen off tonights opponents in a matter of weeks following their FA Cup win.

The Hammers saw several of their top four rivals drop points this weekend, but they didn’t have the look of a side wanting to take advantage.

David Moyes, on his return to Old Trafford, set his team up very defensively.

They failed to have a shot on target in the opening 45 and the hosts enjoyed the majority of the play.

A Craig Dawson own goal proved decisive on 53 minutes. The Hammers defender put through his own net after a Scott McTominay flick had caught him out.

The visitors went in search of an equaliser, but failed to find one as United reclaimed second spot.

 

Craig Dawson headed into his own net
Craig Dawson headed into his own net(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Fernandes continues to dictate

It is very much the same story with United going forward – is Fernandes on song

When the playmaker plays well so do his team, but when he’s slightly off it its very apparent.

The onus placed on the Portuguese star is justified given his talent, but also an issue.

Marcus Rashford returned from injury and looked slightly off the pace meaning the hosts were lacking a spark at times.

Their lack of a willing centre forward remains a problem that will need to be addressed.

A battling win will please Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but the Red Devils could’ve been out of sight at half-time if they had an attack that was firing on all cylinders given the freedom they enjoyed.

2. Greenwood’s efforts

Mason Greenwood is enduring a challenging year in Manchester.

His excellent breakout campaign saw expectations rise – but he has, so far, failed to match them this term.

There were signs on Sunday evening though that he is beginning to find his touch again.

An excellent Lukasz Fabianski save pushed a first-half effort onto the post before he again hit the woodwork in the second 45.

Greenwood is never going to be a one-season wonder, he appears too talented to fall foul of that.

And there were signs against West Ham that good things are just around the corner.

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Mason Greenwood twice hit the woodwork(Image: PA)

3. Henderson’s hopes

Dean Henderson was told prior to the Crystal Palace game that he was set for a run of six games.

He’s now played four of them and conceded just once.

David de Gea is back in the country and self-isolating before returning to training on Monday.

Henderson will have been looking to use this time to prove that he is deserving of the No 1 spot.

He was criticised for his part in AC Milan’s goal in midweek, but other he has been impressive.

Solskjaer though has regularly backed De Gea and he faces a huge decision in the coming weeks.

On performances alone Henderson deserves to remain a starter, you get the impression though that it won’t turn out that way.

Michail Antonio kept looking to attack Victor Lindelof
Michail Antonio kept looking to attack Victor Lindelof

4. Antonio’s target

Michail Antonio was the sole man in the Hammers attack on Sunday evening.

His pace and ability to bring others into play makes him an ideal target man.

It is telling though that almost all of Antonio’s runs came down United’s right hand channel.

That allowed the Hammer to run up against Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka time and time again.

United’s right-back was booked in the first-half for scything down Antonio and it serves to show that opponents feel as if they can get at the Red Devils down that side.

5. Bizarre methods

If you’d watched this game without looking at the table you’d assume West Ham were a bottom half side ready to battle for a point.

The reality though is anything but and United are hardly the type of side who keep opponents under constant pressure.

Perhaps Moyes was fearful of the hosts hitting them on the break – as they prefer to do.

But when you consider that West Ham are very much in the top four hunt you question why they were not more adventurous.

Even in their recent defeat at Man City they showed more ambition.

For large periods though the Hammers were content to sit in and soak up the pressure hoping they could rely on Antonio to carry them up the field.

Going a goal down forced them to open up and be more expansive as they sought an equaliser.

It was then that they showed they were able to build pressure in the final third, which makes they original set-up all the more bizarre.

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