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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
28 November 2012
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 75572
R. van Persie 1'
West Ham United
Thanks for joining us for the live commentary of Manchester United 1-0 West Ham. Sir Alex Ferguson's side were not their usual selves, but a win and a clean sheet is always a welcome result when challenging for the title. West Ham are definitely moving in the right direction, but perhaps need to vary their play a little to win difficult games such as these. Stay with Goal.com for match reaction, and for news on all the other Premier League games tonight. Goodbye for now.
Well, Robin van Persie scored the fastest goal of the Premier League season so far, but then we saw very little onwards. Manchester United have kept a rare clean sheet, but it was at the expense of their attacking play. West Ham will take heart from a confident display here, but Sam Allardyce will rue a missed opportunity with United looking so unsure of themselves for long periods.
90' + 3'
Anywhere will do for United now as Carrick clears it - and that's it! From the reaction of the crowd you'd have thought their side had drawn the game, but it's three points to keep them top.
90' + 2'
What is Evra doing! The defender tries to play a pass at the back and the ball bobbles with two West Ham players close by - but Evans reacts well to avert any danger. Shaky times for the hosts...
90' + 1'
Nolan is denied in the box! West Ham are now going all-out for an equaliser, and a combination of Smalling and Carrick do really well to block his low left-footed effort from 16 yards.
Three minutes of injury time here - can United hang on for the victory which will see them stay at the top of the Premier League? The game promised so much from the first minute, but in truth it's been disappointing from then on.
Jones sets up to finish the game for the home side, but his 20-yard effort hits Hernandez and goes wide - but they somehow win a corner. Rather than waste time though, they whip it in and Carrick heads over - a strange decision this late on really, as West Ham will go forward once more.
United break through Hernandez and Welbeck, but Rafael's pull-back on the right is really poor. Evans does well to win the ball back high up the pitch and wins a free kick 35 yards out - the centre-back has had a decent game tonight.
Quite a few United fans are leaving early, causing the Hammers fans to chant: "Is there a fire drill?" They may be getting a head-start on the journey home, but this game is still in the balance.
Maiga loses Evans really well on the right of the box and whips in a strong curling effort that is a couple of yards over Lindegaard's bar. Promising play there, but at this stage of the game, those have to be on target to mean anything.
Phil Jones is on for Anderson, and rather than sitting back, he drives forward and wins a free-kick after Collins handles it. It's astounding the West Ham centre-back hasn't been booked yet, as he's put in a fair few cynical tackles tonight.
So close for the Hammers! Collins delivers yet another long free kick, and the ball falls to - who else - Carlton Cole, who spins well and volleys to draw a great stop from Lindegaard. What a chance for the English striker.
the home crowd are nervous and getting audibly frustrated as their team have been denied by a stubborn West Ham back line and an inspired display from Jussi Jaaskelainen. Still, it's the Hammers who need a goal now, and while Carlton Cole hasn't got much in the way of service yet, but all he needs is one chance.
Nolan is furious with O'Brien as he waits for a delivery in the box that never comes - poor from the defender there, when a little bit of quality could well unlock this United defence in the air.
Yellow Card Michael Carrick
Hernandez gets a chance in the box, but is always on the stretch and can only roll the ball slowly towards Jaaskelainen before falling over. And Wayne Rooney is being replaced by Danny Welbeck - the 27-year-old has been good in linking play, but really poor when finishing.
Ashley Young has opened up the game for the home side, but they have looked very narrow today. I guess that's what happens when you play three central midfielders and three strikers from the outset.
A little over 15 minutes to go here - and Van Persie is denied by a great sliding challenge from Demel. The striker shaped to finish after being fed on the left by Rooney, but the West Ham player got in to prevent a second for the Reds and the forward.
Anderson drives the ball low at goal from 22 yards, and Jaaskelainen does well to parry the ball up and out of danger. The Finnish keeper has been in great form tonight, and could have saved the game for the Hammers yet.
So poor from Rooney here. Young feeds the striker and is felled by Collins - the referee allows Rooney to continue, but he places it well over the bar from 20 yards. A really bad effort.
Hernandez flings himself at Rafael's drive across goal, but can't direct it on goal. Good positioning from the striker there, but we're still without a second goal tonight. Young then passes low into the box from the left but there's nobody on hand to finish from six yards.
Ashley Young replaces Tom Cleverley as Ferguson looks for a bit more attacking drive with 25 minutes to go. Straight after the switch West Ham again threaten from a set piece, but can't get a real effort in at goal. The longer it remains 1-0, the more nervous you feel United's back line will get.
Evans is down in the box clutching his head after playing a back-pass to Linegaard in the area - there was pressure from Cole, but nothing too serious. Moments later Jarvis swings a poor cross out for a goal kick - he's gotten into good positions but his delivery has been poor so far.
Carroll hasn't recovered from that early knock, and is replaced by Carlton Cole. The substitute is also impressive in the air, but will Allardyce alter the tactics at all now his number-one target man has departed?
Close for United! The corner comes in and Carrick flicks the ball on, with Jaaskelainen just getting to the ball before Hernandez from two yards out. The ball is back in, and conveniently falls to a Hammers player two yards out, who boots it clear. That was a real goalmouth scramble.
Jaaskelainen denies Rooney brilliantly! A cross finds the forward on the right-hand edge of the area, who takes it down and bends an effort towards the far post, and the keeper stretches to touch the ball wide. Great stop once again.
Carrick has a rare, rare shot but fires the ball over from outside the box. It's something of a mystery as to why the England midfielder doesn't shoot more often - he's got a wonderful right foot, and has scored crackers against Wigan and Roma in the past.
Carroll has the ball down in the box...but no, he is adjudged to have handled it, despite his protests. The big man is causing United's defence problems tonight, but hasn't really had a clear-cut chance.
The Dutchman gets it up and over the wall, but Jaaskelainen is over to the left of his goal to quickly prevent the hosts going further ahead.
Now then, Van Persie spins away from O'Brien beautifully and is felled by the defender outside the box. United have a free kick around 20 yards out...
Rooney powers another effort over the bar from 25 yards - he's been active all over the pitch today, but a little more composure in the final third wouldn't go amiss for the forward.
Diame feeds Jarvis well down the left, but Rafael does really well to chase down the winger and hold him up until the cavalry arrive, and Englishman's cross comes to nothing. A good recovery from the Brazilian right-back, but he can't keep giving Jarvis that kind of space.
United move the ball about well around the penalty area and Rooney whips in a great cross for Hernandez, which is superbly headed away by a Hammers defender before the Mexican can nod in from six yards. The hosts have upped the pace a little after a slow start to the half.
Close for Cleverley! Rooney swings at an effort but his volley is blocked, and Van Persie brings the ball down for the England midfielder, who fizzes an effort just over from 20 yards. Replays show Jaaskelainen got fingertips to the ball, but it's given as a goal kick.
It's that time again - Collins gets ready to launch a free kick from 70 yards...from which West Ham win a throw. Diame almost takes the ball down in the box, but can't quite reach it. The Hammers are full of vigour in the opening minutes of the second half.
James Collins is limping after going in for a header from a West Ham corner - Sam Allardyce will be hoping his centre-back can shake that one off.
Early chance for the Hammers as Cleverley loses out to Diame, who shapes to finish from the left-hand side of the box - but Smalling does well to block the high effort.
We're back underway here - can West Ham battle their way back into this one and deny Manchester United the points?
Looking back at the goal, it really was a sensational turn from Van Persie, receiving a quick pass and flicking the ball over his (and the defender's) head. The finish was lucky, but the spin deserved a goal - it was similar to Dennis Bergkamp's glorious spin around a hapless Newcastle centre-back for Arsenal a while back. It must be something about those Dutch strikers...
Well, after a blistering start to the match, Manchester United go in to the break with a 1-0 advantage - but this game is by no means over for West Ham. The Red Devils started brilliantly with Van Persie's deflected effort going in after just 35 seconds, but the Hammers will be confident they can trouble the hosts in the second half, as they have looked dangerous every time the ball is in the air.
45' + 1'
Rooney takes aim from 30 yards...and blasts over. It wasn't a mile away, but it was more of a hit-and-hope with seconds of the half remaining - and that's half time!
Van Persie meets a cross in injury time but can't quite get enough on the ball and Jaaskelainen collects the spinning ball - the Dutchman was on his own in the box, but his movement is so clever he is always a danger.
There will be a minute of injury time in a half that has been a generally pleasant watch - it should get even better as the match opens up later on though.
Rafael steals the ball and gives it to Anderson, who feeds Hernandez - the striker's touch is too heavy and he bounces off of Collins far too easily, but he is never going to get a penalty for that. Collins laughs it off, which is nice to see.
Cleverley wastes a promising position by rolling the ball too far ahead of Van Persie as the striker makes a good run in the box - it's a rare blip in what has been a fine performance from the England youngster so far. The midfield three of Carrick, Anderson and Cleverley looks like a promising combination for the hosts - plenty of movement and neat passing on show so far.
Rooney wins the ball off of Taylor deep in United's half as danger starts to mount - with Hernandez and Van Persie ahead of him, the England forward is dropping a little deeper to dictate play for the hosts, which he seems to be enjoying.
Neat play between Cleverley and Van Persie ends with the Dutchman finding Evra on the left wing, but with team mates waiting, the France left-back can only volley the cross harmlessly out for a goal kick.
Matt Taylor tries to launch a rocket here - and it's halfway in to space as he leans back and punts it into the crowd from all of 40 yards. What was he thinking? Carroll's tall, but he's not that tall.
Nolan fouls Carrick a little cynically but the referee waves play-on - the West Ham midfielder may do well to avoid any more confrontations before half time, or else he may not be coming out for the second 45 minutes.
The home crowd urge Anderson to shoot from 25 yards, but the Brazilian's effort is woeful and he shanks it way, way wide of Jaaskelainen's right-hand post. Truly terrible as Paul Scholes watches on from the bench. Still, the 24-year-old has looked very comfortable driving at West Ham's defence tonight.
West Ham are now pressing higher up the pitch, which Sam Allardyce will be pleased about - but they'll have to get the ball on the floor and look to create chances rather than simply waiting for more set pieces.
What a save from Jaaskelainen! Hernandez takes the ball on the turn and places a low effort hard at the bottom-left corner of the goal from 20 yards, but the keeper is down superbly to tip the ball around the post. Brilliant stuff all-round there.
Jasskelainen holds a curling Anderson shot - the Brazilian should really have done better from the edge of the area...
Carroll volleys over! It's another long, long free kick into the box which jonny Evans can't head clear, and the big forward spins to blast a shot over the bar. It was difficult, but it was still a chance, and United's indecision in the air seems to be the visitors' most likely route to goal.
There's plenty of zip in United's play, but there's not enough composure as they're pinging passes around that aren't quite coming off. There surely has to be a middle ground between the lethargy shown in the early stages against QPR and the frenetic pace of today?
Close for West Ham! The corner is only partially cleared and Nolan whips the ball low into the area from the right wing, and Lindegaard shows safe hands to catch the bouncing ball with a Hammers player just too far away from turning the ball into the net. More promising from the visitors.
Collins launches a free kick into United's area from his own half, Carroll wins the header, and Patrice Evra volleys the ball onto the roof of his own net. From the resulting corner, Carroll almost meets the ball but the Hammers get another set piece.
Confusion in the United box as Lindegaard comes for a cross and doesn't get hold of it, but the danger passes. Big Sam will want more of the same if they're to get back into this one.
Hernandez wastes a promising break as he drives into the box from the right wing, and with Van Persie arriving, the Mexican decides to blast the ball over from 12 yards instead. Disappointing from Chicharito.
Jarvis is all alone on the left wing here - there's nobody around for about 40 yards, but United quickly win the ball back. That's far too much space to give a winger of his quality.
Jarvis is looking dangerous against Rafael down the left for the visitors, but will need a little more support if he is to get into good positions tonight. The game's settled down a little, but the hosts look menacing - and very quick in midfield.
Nolan goes close! The ball is whipped in to the near post and the English midfielder gets there first, but can only flick the ball wide of the right-hand post. Anders Lindegaard was scrambling there, but it's just a reminder of West Ham's strength at set pieces.
Now then, Rafael fouls Matt Jarvis and West Ham could punish United from the left wing here...
It's all United at the moment, who are camped inside their own half. Kevin Nolan has dropped back in to midfield and Andy Carroll looks lonely up front. The visitors have to push forward otherwise it could get messy.
Yellow Card Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan is booked for stopping Cleverley getting any nearer to the West Ham area as the youngster broke away - how costly could that be for Nolan as the game wears on?
It could go from bad to worse here for West Ham as Andy Carroll appears to be limping, and may have to come off. Losing a goal and your main striker in under five minutes isn't exactly the best of starts at Old Trafford, but he remains on the pitch for now.
Wow, what a start for the Red Devils. There's no doubt it was a fortunate goal, but United looked eager from the off, and Michael Carrick split the West Ham defence with a fine ball which Van Persie took beautifully on the turn.
Assist Michael Carrick
Goal Robin van Persie
MAN UNITED SCORE AFTER 35 SECONDS!!! Robin van Persie puts the home side ahead courtesy of a huge deflection off of James Collins' sliding challenge, and the Dutchman's finish loops up and over Jussi Jaaskelainen before bouncing agonisingly in. Lucky, but a great start for United.
The teams are walking out here, and we'll be off in a few minutes - can West Ham cope with Manchester United's glittering forward line? Perhaps not - but a more pertinent question might be to ask whether United's porous back line can handle the threat the Hammers will pose in the air from set pieces. It should make for an enthralling clash of styles.
It's a big night for Anderson at Old Trafford - Ferguson said the Brazilian had "picked himself" after a "brilliant" cameo against QPR to turn the match on its head on Saturday. With United struggling in the middle of late, he could well secure a place in the starting XI for the festive rush with another dominant showing here.
Andy Carroll leads the line for the Hammers, and may well fancy his chances against Smalling, who has struggled in the past with strong aerial threats. Kevin Nolan will also be on the prowl ready to snap up any chances in and around the box, so Ferguson's midfield three will have to track him carefully tonight.
So, the main news about United's starting line-up is that Anderson and Tom Cleverley start in midfield, with Ferguson presumably keen to add more dynamism to the team. Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney all start in attack for the Red Devils, while Chris Smalling gets the nod ahead of Rio Ferdinand at the back.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen; Demel, O'Brien, Reid, Collins, Tomkins; Diame, Nolan, Jarvis, Taylor; Carroll. Subs: Spiegel, Spence, Maiga, Cole, Lletget, O'Neil, Moncur.
The team news is in... Man Utd: Lindegaard; Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra; Anderson, Carrick, Cleverley; Hernandez, Rooney, Van Persie. Subs: De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Young, Welbeck, Fletcher, Buttner.
Good evening and welcome to the live commentary of Manchester United - West Ham at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are looking to cement one-point lead at the top of the Premier League, and will do so if they match Manchester City's result at Wigan. The Hammers meanwhile have started the season superbly and lie in eighth position, and Sam Allardyce will be eager to show how far he has taken the side against Sir Alex Ferguson's men tonight.
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