Wednesday 26 September 2018

Manchester United wrap up second place in the Premier League after a draw at West Ham

West Ham 0 Manchester United 0

Paul Pogba failed to inspire Manchester United to a win at West Ham
Paul Pogba failed to inspire Manchester United to a win at West Ham

Mark Mann-Bryans

West Ham and Manchester United played out a dull goalless draw at the London Stadium - although the result was enough to see Jose Mourinho's side secure second place in the Premier League.

Luke Shaw had a strike turned onto the post in the first half in a game bereft of quality and decent chances.

The point means United will finish as best of the rest behind runaway champions Manchester City while David Moyes' Hammers move within two points of the top half with a game remaining.

Two years to the day since West Ham won this fixture, the last at their old Upton Park home, and the stage could not have been further removed. There were empty seats, a lack of atmosphere and two sides lurching towards the end of fairly disappointing league campaigns.

Mourinho reacted to Friday's 1-0 defeat at Brighton by making eight changes, introducing a back three and utilising fit-again Alexis Sanchez as his main striker.

The likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata paid the price for a poor showing on the south coast with the trio dropped to the bench here.

The away supporters in attendance paid near-constant tributes to former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, the 76-year-old now out of intensive care having had an operation on a brain haemorrhage over the weekend.

West Ham's Marko Arnautovic hit an early strike straight at David De Gea before the Austria international could only head over from six yards after Chris Smalling made a mess of clearing Aaron Cresswell's cross.

United's first decent chance came at the midway point of the first-half and fell the way of Scott McTominay - but Mourinho's choice for player of the year could only arrow a shot wide of Adrian's goal.

Jesse Lingard forced the Spanish goalkeeper into his first save moments later with a drive from a similar position.

The visitors started to take control of the contest, Sanchez drawing another stop from Adrian before the West Ham stopper turned Shaw's follow-up strike onto the post.

West Ham reacted, Cresswell firing wide from long-range before Joao Mario turned an Arnautovic cross behind from six yards.

Adrian was again on hand to keep out Lingard's strike on the stroke of half-time as the teams headed in level at the break.

Paul Pogba headed wide as the half wore on without any real drama, Moyes turning to Andy Carroll with 25 minutes remaining after the pair buried the hatchet following a falling out in the aftermath of the defeat to Manchester City.

Mourinho turned to Rashford in an attempt to sway the game in favour of United, who were again below-par just over a week before their FA Cup final date with Chelsea.

The game seemed to be petering out before a flare up between the sides as Pogba's foul on West Ham skipper Mark Noble led to a fracas.

Both players grabbed hold of one another but it was Noble who was arguably the luckier of the pair to only be cautioned following his angry reaction.

That proved to be the final action of note as a poor game deservedly ended with no side able to muster up a winning goal.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport