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Penalty controversy & 5 things we learned from Man United’s win over West Ham

Penalty controversy & 5 things we learned from Man United’s win over West Ham

West Ham vs Man United

West Ham and Manchester United would face off in a Premier League clash a short time ago.

Man United would head into the tie looking to once again move joint-top of the Premier League table, following Liverpool’s win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Red Devils were also looking to bounce back from their shock 2-1 loss vs Young Boys in the Champions League earlier this week.

West Ham, meanwhile, were keen to continue an unbeaten start to the season, but were forced to navigate their efforts to do so without the services of key man Michail Antonio, following the striker’s red card last weekend.

And, when all was said and done, West Ham were unable to get one over on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side without their top scorer.

Said Benrahma opened the scoring after 30 minutes thanks to a huge deflection from Raphael Varane:

West Ham’s lead didn’t last long, though, as Cristiano Ronaldo drew the game level after 34 minutes:

Man United then scored an injury-time winner via Jesse Lingard. The Hammers did have a chance to equalise late on, but substitute Mark Noble, who was only brought on to take the penalty, missed – handing Man United a 2-1 win.

Here are five things 101 learned from the match.

Jadon Sancho will take time to come good for Man United

Manchester United fans were likely jubilant when their side signed Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund over the summer.

The winger had previously been lighting up the Bundesliga with some starring displays, notching a very, very impressive goal and assist record for the Germans.

In turn, with United in need of a natural right-winger, expectations were high when Sancho arrived.

However, the Englishman has so far underwhelmed and, after being taken off after 36 minutes in midweek, was only handed a place on the bench vs West Ham.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke before the match about Sancho being effective from the bench, and, given his slow start, it was probably a good idea from the Norwegian to take some of the limelight off of the youngster.

As such, with Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba (when used on the left-wing), currently in better form than Sancho, we are likely going to have to wait a while before we see him handed a regular starting berth for the Red Devils.

‘McFred’ can’t save Man United’s midfield

It is blatantly obvious at this point that Man United’s central midfield is their weakest area of the pitch.

This has been in part down to Paul Pogba not doing much, if any, defensive work when deployed alongside Fred, Scott McTominay or Nemanja Matic.

One solution to this has been to use Pogba on the left – where he has actually performed well – and then utilize the pivot of Fred and McTominay for more defensive cover.

However, though both players generally work harder than Pogba, as shown again vs West Ham, they lack the passing ability to start attacks/maintain possession, and instead often end up giving the ball away in dangerous areas.

McTominay was especially guilty of this in the first 30 minutes or so at the London Stadium, with his wayward passing and poor tackling leading to several West Ham chances.

It is also worth noting that neither of the McFred pivot was anywhere close to Benrahma when he opened the scoring from the edge of the box.

It has been said a million times now, but Man United will not win major silverware without a proper defensive midfielder, and Sunday’s game was another example of why.

Zouma was a great buy

West Ham may have failed to keep a clean sheet against Man United, but one of their defenders, in particular, impressed on Sunday.

That man was new signing, Kurt Zouma. The Frenchman has slotted seamlessly into the Hammers’ backline, and looks a significant upgrade on the rest of West Ham’s centre-backs.

And though Zouma did not stop CR7 from scoring this afternoon, he did limit his effectiveness throughout the tie, winning several duels and making some big blocks on the day.

There was a major concern that West Ham’s squad did not boast enough quality depth to cope with Europa League and Premier League football this term, but the addition of Zouma has certainly gone some may towards easing that worry.

Man United should have had two penalties

Man United were far from their best against West Ham. However, they still should have had at least one penalty late in the tie.

Ronaldo had the ball in the box and would knock it past Vladimir Coufal, who stuck his leg out and quite clearly brought the Portuguese down.

Despite this, neither the ref, nor VAR, opted to award the spot-kick, a decision which nearly had huge ramifications on the final outcome of the clash.

Ronaldo should then have been awarded another penalty in injury-time, which was also not given. Luckily for United, they escaped with the win, though, despite the poor decisions from VAR.

Lingard still has a part to play at Man United

Jesse Lingard is yet to start a single game for Man United this season, following widespread surprise at the midfielder opting to stay at the club over the summer, amid the heavy competition in Solskjaer’s squad.

However, Sunday’s game showcased that Lingard can still be a useful asset for the Red Devils.

Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood started the tie on the wings, but failed to create much. Big-money summer signing Jadon Sancho was also brought on, but did very little. Lingard, though, took his chance and scored what proved to be a crucial goal for Man United on the day.

He may not have cost a fortune like Pogba and Sancho, or have the potential of Greenwood, but Lingard could yet be a key player for the Red Devils this term, if given the chance.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 9 20 22
2 Liverpool FC 9 21 21
3 Manchester City 9 16 20
4 West Ham United 9 6 17
5 Brighton & Hove Albion 9 0 15
6 Tottenham Hotspur 9 -4 15
7 Manchester United 9 1 14
8 Everton FC 9 1 14
9 Leicester City 9 0 14
10 Arsenal FC 9 -3 14
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 0 13
12 Brentford FC 9 2 12
13 Aston Villa 9 -2 10
14 Watford FC 9 -5 10
15 Crystal Palace 9 -3 9
16 Southampton FC 9 -4 8
17 Leeds United 9 -8 7
18 Burnley FC 9 -8 4
19 Newcastle United 9 -9 4
20 Norwich City 9 -21 2

Premier League 21/22

Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 7
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 4
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 4
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 4
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 4
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 4
Hwang, Hee-chan Wolverhampton Wanderers 4
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 4
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 4
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 3
Townsend, Andros Everton FC 3
King, Joshua Watford FC 3
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 3
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3