Moyesball at its most effective as Benrahma goal secures West Ham win over United

West Ham move seven points above bottom three as concerns grow for Erik ten Hag and Manchester United

West Ham 1 Manchester United 0

This was Moyesball at its most effective. West Ham never looked likely to let the points out of their grasp once they had the lead. David Moyes’s side simply swarmed all over Manchester United, making it horrible, feeding off the passion of the London Stadium crowd. The worry for Erik ten Hag will be that his side’s latest stumble on the road could not be explained away simply by pointing to David De Gea’s error for the goal that breathed life back into the race for the top four.

United were loose in all departments. They almost saved themselves from a second consecutive away defeat at the start of added time, Anthony Martial twice going close to a dramatic equaliser, but they should not kid themselves.

United, whose lead over Liverpool is down to a point, were flat after falling behind to Saïd Benrahma’s goal. Moyes deserved this win over his old side, taking West Ham seven points above the bottom three and filling them with optimism before their Europa Conference League semi-final against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday.

United began with the right attitude, controlling possession, their defeat to Brighton seemingly out of their system. A big issue for this team, though, has been a tendency to squander dominant positions. Profligacy cost them when they threw away a 2-0 lead against Tottenham and, while there was much to admire about the way they pushed West Ham back, ten Hag must have been concerned at United’s failure to hit the target with five presentable opportunities during the first 20 minutes.


The first miss came inside the second minute, Marcus Rashford bending wide after surging away from Angelo Ogbonna and swapping passes with Christian Eriksen – and there would be more to come. Fatigue did not appear to be a concern for United. Ten Hag made three changes and his set-up offered encouragement, with Antony hugging the right touchline, Bruno Fernandes threatening when he drifted in from the left, Rashford causing problems through the middle and Wout Weghorst offering a few neat touches after coming in for Martial.

West Ham looked outmatched at first. They were passive and United should have punished them. Fernandes and Eriksen both went close from long range and ten Hag did not hide his displeasure when Antony, played into space by Weghorst, fired wide.

United, who were under pressure after Liverpool’s win over Brentford, had to be clinical. The fifth opening went to Rashford, bursting past Thilo Kehrer before striking the woodwork, but then came a lull. The tempo dropped and West Ham began to step up. Had they simply been waiting for their moment? After all, the hosts had managed to isolate Casemiro on a couple of occasions – Eriksen was not providing much protection in defensive midfield – and they had also seen hints of skittishness in De Gea, Weghorst racing back to help out when the United goalkeeper sent a pass straight to Declan Rice.

United were not focused enough. After 27 minutes West Ham stepped up their pressing and Luke Shaw lost possession to Benrahma. Suddenly United were on the retreat, though there was still no panic. Benrahma was outnumbered, reluctant to go it alone and a long way out. There was no venom from the winger when he tried an early shot from 25 yards; he must have been as surprised as anyone when De Gea, slow to move his feet and going down in stages, collapsed to his right and bizarrely pushed the ball into the net.

West Ham had barely threatened; now they were alive. They remained compact and pounced on the break. Michail Antonio broke and made a chance for Jarrod Bowen. Benrahma got in again, this time drawing a sharper response from De Gea with a low drive, and West Ham should have had a penalty when Victor Lindelöf handled the winger’s cross just before half-time.

United got away with one, Stuart Attwell, the video assistant referee, somehow electing not to intervene. Antony threatened an equaliser, pinging the left post, but the visitors were unravelling. A sense of injustice burned through West Ham at the start of the second half. They imposed themselves, using their physicality. Rice and Tomas Soucek were shutting everything down in midfield after missing the defeat to Manchester City because of illness.

United suffered. West Ham went for a second, Rice playing the ball across the face of goal, Soucek warming De Gea’s palms. They thought they were 2-0 up when De Gea flapped at a cross, only for Antonio to be penalised for a push. Ten Hag had seen enough. He replaced Weghorst with Martial.

Yet Nayef Aguerd, who was also too unwell to play against City, had a fine game alongside Ogbonna in central defence. Kehrer was tough at right-back. Aaron Cresswell had Antony in his pocket. West Ham were rugged, Antonio terrorising United. Lucas Paquetá blazed wide. Soucek had a goal disallowed for offside.

United woke up near the end. Lukasz Fabianski tipped over from Rashford and there was a long delay after Soucek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka clashed heads. The board showed eight added minutes. Martial shot at Fabianski and headed wide. It was West Ham’s night. – Guardian