Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United: 5 Men who won the game for Solskjaer
Manchester United welcomed West Ham to Old Trafford in midst of a minor crisis. United had lost two of their last five games in the league, which saw them slip back to 6th. However, the real cause of worry for Solskjaer was that United had lost 4 of their last 5 games in all competitions.
This was a huge concern for the Norwegian, whose permanent appointment had coincided with a series of defeats. Solskjaer, as such, was desperate to get back to winning ways but West Ham were no pushovers
The Hammers were 11th in the table before the game but had the ability to cause another upset. Solskjaer was aware of this, yet had to rest at least 5 first team players keeping the midweek tie against Barcelona in mind.
He started with De Gea in goal, with Dalot, Jones, Smalling, and Rojo making up a new look back four. Mata joined Pogba and Fred in the midfield, while the front three consisted of Lingard, Lukaku, and Martial.
It was West Ham who started the game stronger and even had the ball in the back of the net, only for it to be incorrectly ruled offside. United were back into the game in the 19th minute when Mata won a penalty and Pogba scored from the spot kick.
In the second half, West Ham scored through Felipe Anderson in the 49th minute and gave his team the upper edge. They threatened to score but United found a way back into the game when Martial won another penalty for United in the 80th minute, which was converted by Pogba. United then held on to win the game.
Despite a disappointing performance, United managed to win the game and for that, Solskjaer has these 5 men to thank.
The Brazilian impressed against Barcelona and continued in the midfield against West Ham. However, he had Paul Pogba and Mata for the company, which meant things were a bit harder on the day. With two attacking players alongside him, Fred had to be very restrained.
Fred was impressive while in possession, but also pressed well when United lost the ball. He dropped deep to help his defense out and showed pretty good feet at tight spaces. He moved the ball around well, was quite fluid in his positioning and tried to free up his forward players too.
He did give away the ball cheaply in the second half, but the Brazilian gave a pretty decent account of himself and helped United win the game.