Barclays Premier League | 10 May 2016 | Upton Park | Attendance: 34,602 | Scorers: Sakho 10′, Antonio 75′, Reid 81′; Martial 51′, 72′
The Champions League qualifying initiative may have swung away from Manchester United again as United lost 3-2 to West Ham at Upton Park.
The Red Devils travelled to East London knowing that two wins in the final two league games against the Hammers and Bournemouth would clinch fourth place in the Barclays Premier League. But despite a brilliant double from the in-form Anthony Martial, United lost to strikes from Diafra Sakho, Michail Antonio and Winston Reid as the hosts turned the game on its head in the final 15 minutes of the incredible encounter.
With one game remaining, United lie two points behind noisy neighbors Manchester City and must now hope Swansea City beat City in South Wales while ensuring three home points are collected when Bournemouth visit Old Trafford.
The Hammers were playing their final match at their 112-year-old stadium and wanting to give it the perfect send-off, the tempo was fast and furious. So frantic in fact that United players struggled to gain any foothold in the game in the opening half an hour as West Ham hammered on and threatened to extend their advantage on a number of occasions on the Boleyn Ground.
JUST BEFORE THE MATCH
Man United bus attacked
Manchester United team bus en route to the final match at the Boleyn Ground was attacked by West Ham fans and had the bus windows broken by fan-thrown bottles (photo: below) before Tuesday’s West Ham vs United match at Upton Park.
Why West Ham fans did that I will never know but this happened before the final home match at Upton Park before the Irons move to the Olympic Stadium next season. The match was delayed (kick-off delayed to 8:30 pm) because of this unprecedented West Ham fan-violence.
“The images shall tell everything,” Louis van Gaal said. “It’s the second time in London where we have to start later.” Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney confirmed the coach had come under attack as it struggled to get into the stadium.
“The coach got smashed up but we’ll just have to go and prepare and get on with our job,” he told Sky Sports. “I’m sure West Ham will be disappointed with their fans.
The bus was met by throngs of fans outside the Boleyn Ground, throwing bottles and other objects causing what appeared minor damage, yet preventing it from making its way to the stadium.
Police boarded the bus after it became trapped on the road outside the venue. It was showered by beer and bottles and had a window broken. A smoke canister was also let off by Hammers violent fans.
Many supporters appeared to have turned up without tickets for West Ham’s last home game at Upton Park before they move to the Olympic Stadium.
Possession: West Ham 38% United 62%
Shots: West Ham 10 United 1
Shots on target: West Ham 3 United 0
Corners: West Ham 4 United 1
Possession: West Ham 41% United 59%
Shots: West Ham 20 United 3
Shots on target: West Ham 6 United 2
Corners: West Ham 6 United 2
West Ham: Randolph, Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Sakho (Tomkins 84), Lanzini (Obiang 84), Payet (Valencia 90), Carroll. Subs not used: Spiegel, Collins, Moses, Emenike.
United: De Gea, Valencia (Januzaj 87), Smalling, Blind, Rojo, Herrera (Lingard 83), Schneiderlin (Carrick 46), Rooney, Mata, Rashford, Martial. Subs not used: Romero, Borthwick-Jackson, Jones, Memphis.
Booked: Martial, Valencia, Herrera
“It is very disappointing because we were ahead. We gave it away because of the set-plays. As a manager you are never satisfied but when you are 2-1 ahead after 70 minutes then you have to make the pitch bigger and keep the ball better.” – Louis van Gaal
“It’s no good for us. We got ourselves back in the game after not starting well and then didn’t really help ourselves with giving away free-kicks, and letting them put the ball in the box and putting ourselves under pressure. In the end that’s won them the game.” –Michael Carrick.
VAN GAAL’S VERDICT ON UPTON PARK DEFEAT
Louis van Gaal reflected on a “very disappointing” night for Manchester United, as he spoke to reporters at his post-match press conference, following West Ham’s come-from-behind win in the final competitive match at Upton Park.
“I think the disappointment is because we were 2-1 ahead. We changed the match in our favour, in a fantastic way. Then you lose because of the set-plays. I said before the match that we would try to organise everything but still we missed by centimetres. We had a lot of set-play goals against us and that is disappointing because it had a big consequence. You lose a game you have to win.”
Top-four fight still on
“Still in the last match of the season we can pass over Manchester City. They can lose and we can win – then we are fourth. In this league it happens a lot [surprise results] and Swansea City are on a very good run. But we have to beat Bournemouth and that’s also tough.”
Attack on the team bus
“It is not the first time it’s happened. Okay, I have a long experience in football – some players don’t have that. It shall have an influence but I don’t think we have to look for excuses. We chased the match in the second half. Twenty minutes before full-time we are ahead. I don’t think you have to look to that [the bus incident] as an excuse.”
Watch video below: SHOCKING** West Ham fans riot & attack Manchester United team bus en route to Upton Park . . .
An emotional night
“I said in my [pre-match] press conference that the emotion of this match – a farewell to the stadium – shall influence a lot. You’ve seen it. The fans were supporting from the first minute, singing. Of course that was a big influence. As Manchester United you have to cope with that. The circumstances before the match were unusual and that will be an influence but I’m not looking for excuses. When you are 2-1 ahead with 20 minutes to play you have to make the ball big and keep the ball better. We gave a lot of fouls away, then you invite the set plays.”
Not giving up
“We have fought the whole season for a qualification position for the Champions League. And still we are fighting until the end. On the last day we can finish fourth. It’s still possible… only now we are depending on City. Before this game we had it in our own hands, so that’s the difference. Every defeat is disappointing. Tonight is a mental blow but against Bournemouth we have to give everything so we don’t give Manchester City a free trip into the Champions League.”
It was a sad day for me. However, I’m still a United fan – to the core!
Up Man U!