Premier League | Monday Jan 2, 2017 | Olympic Stadium | Attendance: 56,996 | Scorers: Mata 63 min, Ibrahimovic 78 min
West Ham United
6-10-4, 13th Premier League
11-3-6, 6th Premier League
Z. Ibrahimovic, 78′ J. Mata 63′
Manchester United made the perfect start to the new year 2017 on Mon Jan 2, 2017 after ending the old year 2016 victoriously on Sat Dec 31, 2016 at Old Trafford. Second-half goals from the smallish Spanish man Juan Mata and the ageless Swedish maestro Zlatan Ibrahimovic earned Jose Mourinho’s men an important victory over 10-man West Ham United on Monday evening.
However, an early red card for Hammers midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was not utilized by United. The much-awaited breakthrough came eventually when England’s teenage sensation, Marcus Rashford, set up Juan Mata inside the area with just under half an hour remaining.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates the 2nd defining goal with teammates at the Olympic Stadium in London
Ibra added a second correct strike with 12 minutes to go, firing into the corner after confusion in the West Ham defence, to claim his 17th goal of the season and seal a sixth straight Premier League win. What a guy! What a guy!!
MANUTD reported that United’s slick Spanish goalie David De Gea made his 250th appearance for the club, and had to make an early save, diving across his goal area to tip Manuel Lanzini’s 20-yard effort around the post.
Possession: West Ham 36% United 64%
Shots at goal: West Ham 5 United 3
Shots on target: West Ham 1 United 1
Corners: West Ham 2 United 0
Mata replaced Darmian who appeared lackluster to me. The change saw Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba operating as a midfield duo, just in front of stand-in captain Michael Carrick, who moved to centre-back.
West Ham’s’ resistance was finally broken as the very expensive Frenchman, Paul Pogba, curled the ball narrowly wide from the edge of the area, before going close with a similar shot on 74 minutes. Not long after Pogba’s adventure, Herrera blocked a shot which fell at the feet of Ibra, who beat the offside trap amid uncertainty in the box, to provide a precise finish past Randolph for United to begin 2017 on a decisive note.
Ibra’s goal capped United’s professional display in East London by my own estimation. Manchester United is now hot on the heels of the other top-four contenders at the top of the Premier League table.
Possession: West Ham 36% United 64%
Shots at goal: West Ham 8 United 12
Shots on target: West Ham 2 United 6
Corners: West Ham 2 United 1
West Ham United: Randolph; Nordtveit, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Obiang, Kouyate (Fernandes 82); Feghouli, Lanzini (Ayew 89), Payet (Carroll 69); Antonio.
Subs not used: Adrian, Noble, Quina, Fletcher.
Booked: Payet, Nordtveit.
Sent off: Feghouli
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian (Mata 45), Carrick, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard (Rashford 59), Mkhitaryan (Smalling 65), Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Fellaini, Young, Martial.
Booked: Darmian, Valencia.
WE’RE FINDING OUR IDENTITY – ANDER HERRERA
According to MANUTD, Ander Herrera believes Manchester United’s recent performances are proof that the current players, under Jose Mourinho’s management, are rediscovering the identity and DNA of the club.
The Spaniard has played a key role in United’s resurgence this season with his dynamic and sometimes brave displays in midfield – he needed three stitches after sustaining a facial wound during Monday’s hard-fought away win at West Ham.
“We are playing well and we are controlling most of the games,” Herrera told MUTV, when interviewed before the preceding victory over Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve.
“When you watch Manchester United now you realise quickly who is the big team and that means we are finding our identity, the DNA of this club and its history.
REDS HAVE MOMENTUM
According to MANUTD United have now won six Premier League matches in a row at an unquestionably important time in the season. Furthermore, the Reds are unbeaten in 13 matches across all competitions and that is the club’s longest run without a defeat since Sir Alex Ferguson’s eventual title-winners managed 18 games before losing one in March 2013 – to Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
I think that the boss, Jose Mourinho, has sent a clear and early signal to the occupiers of the top four in 2017 that Manchester United will not brook any opposition from either the blues, the noisy neighbors, the gunners or any of them, for that matter. Sooner than later, United will begin to displace any one or two of them as one or two of them will soon begin to drop the much needed points . . .
Up Man U!