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Dublin: 10°C Saturday 24 October 2020


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Life as permanent Manchester United manager hasn’t exactly got off to the best start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Despite their 2-1 win over Watford at the end of March, United have picked up back-to-back defeats to Wolves in the league and at home to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

In fact, the English giants have been on the losing end of four of their last five matches in all competitions.

With Chelsea having won their last three league games on the bounce and Spurs looking to confirm third place with today’s win over Huddersfield, the race for Champions League football is as tight as ever.

Anything other than a win this afternoon could prove disastrous for United’s hopes of making the top four this year.

Stay with us as we bring you all the minute-by-minute action from Old Trafford this evening.


So let’s bring you some team news…

David De Gea (unsurprisingly) starts between the sticks but has been given the captain’s armband in the absence of Ashley Young.

Juan Mata comes into midfield, while there’s room for Marcos Rojo in the United rearguard.

As for West Ham, Chichartio makes a return to his former club.

Man Utd: De Gea (c); Dalot, Jones, Smalling, Rojo; Mata, Fred, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Martial.

West Ham: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Masuaku; Rice, Noble (c), Snodgrass, Lanzini; Felipe Anderson, Hernandez.

Now, to get you in the mood, here is some pre-match reading ahead of kick-off…

Solskjaer this week has said he will make some “tough decisions” at Old Trafford as he prepares for a squad overhaul.

United are set to be active in the transfer market in a bid to mount a serious Premier League title challenge next season, having struggled to keep pace with Manchester City and Liverpool in 2018-19.

It’s going to be survival of the fittest or survival of the best. That’s how ruthless we have to be. We need players here who are going to be able to take us forward.

You can catch that full story here:

How do we see this one playing out this evening then?

Get in touch in the comments section below or you can vote on our poll…

Poll Results:

Man Utd (164)
West Ham (34)
Draw (33)

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League - Old Trafford Fans make their way into the stadium ahead of kick-off. Source: Nick Potts

About 20 minutes from kick-off…

What did you make of Solskjaer’s team selection?

Fred retains his place from Wednesday’s defeat to Barcelona, no Young option with suspension and Rojo in for only his third start of the league campaign.

Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini says Marko Arnautović picked up an illness this week and will play no part in today’s game – Hernandez leads the line against his old club.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United - Premier League - Molineux Fred keeps his place after his performance against Barcelona. Source: Bradley Collyer

“Never thought I’d say this, but please win today Man Utd,” says Logan Shepherd in our comments section.

“We need you fighting for a Champions League place come the City game.”

Would a defeat today spell the end of or severely dent their European hopes for next season?

It’s a very, very important game,” Solskjaer tells BT Sport. “It’s a challenge for us after Wednesday’s game.”

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League - Old Trafford We're approaching kick off... Source: Nick Potts

A resounding 70% of readers think it’ll be a United victory this evening…

Settle in with your brew and follow along as we bring you the minute-by-minute action from today’s game.

Also – get your final predictions into us, we’re five minutes from kick-off.

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Nick Potts


Early chance for West Ham as Dalot commits a foul out wide inside the first minute. Snodgrass plays it short down the line – cleared.

Mata loses possession and Masuaku shoots from just outside the box but it’s over the bar.

Up the other end, Dalot has his crossed blocked. It’ll be a corner for United.

Mata’s corner is cleared and Fred’s volley is headed away…


No big chances of not in the opening 10 minutes of play…

West Ham look lively enough, Dalot in particular has been given some early work.

United play it out from the back well, De Gea feeding Pogba as United launch an attack.

Rojo plays it inside to Martial – the Frenchman’s pass to Mata is cut out. 

West Ham win a free on the halfway line. Quiet start.

Until Felipe Anderson puts the ball in the United net from close range!!

It’s ruled out offside. A cross came into the United box and as it was nodded into the ground, Anderson adjudged to have strayed ever so slightly offside and his emphatic finish is ruled out.

Did Dalot play him on? Very, very close…

Still scoreless.


Been a pretty open game so far.

Despite the fact that chances have been at a premium – owing a lot to the poor service into the box – but both sides have looked dangerous going forward…

Lukaku slips a pass down the line and finds Lingard -  the ball is drilled dangerously across the front of the West Ham goal but no one is there to meet it.

United’s best chance of the game so far.

Flag 19Mins

GOAL! Paul Pogba scores from the spot!!

Robert Snograss collides with Juan Mata from behind to win the penalty – duly converted by the Frenchman!

United lead 1-0.


The tackle is a bit clumsy from Snodgrass – referee Graham Scott was in the perfect position to see it and gives the spotkick.

Pogba drills it down the middle, no big run up.

United on the basis of the game in the first 20 minutes probably feel they deserve to be ahead. They upped the pressure on the visitors over the last five minutes and they’ve got their reward. 

The attack started from the left wing – Martial & Rojo both causing Zabaleta some trouble.


West Ham win a freekick in a dangerous position – Lanzini fires it into the wall and it’ll be a corner.

Diogo Dalot meets it and he actually heads it goalbound. Over the bar. Another corner for West Ham.

Snodgrass fires it in and Anderson glances it goalbound – just past the post!

Great chance there for West Ham. United can’t organise themselves on the counter-attack.


United take their chance put West Ham under pressure, Lukaku down the left pulls it back for Pogba.

He takes a touch – perhaps dawdles on it a moment too long – and his shot is blocked. Rebound meets the same fate.

West Ham come down the other end and Noble gets the ball into the box but Jones cuts it out.

End to end this. Both sides look capable of cutting each other open. United the only side to make it count though. Still 1-0 to the home side.


West Ham are really asking questions of Man United.

6 attempts for the home side, 4 for West Ham – but only one shot on target between the two of them and that’s Pogba’s goal.

The Hammers are breaking in numbers and have had Anderson cause trouble for the United defence. Jones on a couple of occasions has had to be at full stretch to make some last ditch clearances.

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Martin Rickett


Mata looks a little frustrated out there – passing doesn’t seem quite there today.

He picks up  a yellow card, will be interesting to see if Solskjaer makes any changes at the break.

Just as I say that, the Spaniard actually plays in an excellent cross for Martial who back-heels the ball over the bar.


Bit of afters between Ogbonna and Lingard – ref Graham Scott brings the two players together and has a word.

The West Ham defender was happy Lingard went down in the box, a bit soft in his eyes.

The two go head-to-head, Lukaku intervenes to drag the young England forward away.


Smalling misses a free header from a corner – big chance for the home side.

West Ham win a freekick up the other half, header didn’t dangerous but Rojo slices the clearance.


Glanced on by Rice, Ogbonna keeps the attack alive. Anderson’s shot is fired wide. Approaching half-time.


Save! De Gea prevents Anderson’s cross/shot with his feet.

United break but Martial gives it straight to Noble. West Ham can’t capitalize either as the ball falls favourably to them out wide.

One minute to be added on.


A very open first half.

West Ham certainly not out of the game, most of their chances have come from wide. Anderson has had one or two good chances and what looked like a perfectly legitimate chance ruled out.

For Man United, there have been some encouraging signs. Pogba’s goal gave them a deserved lead – Martial, Lukaku and Lingard all causing trouble up front.

At times they have looked a bit flakey at the back, Dalot and Rojo guilty of a few slips ups at the back.

Will be interesting to see if changes are made at the break.

What did you make of that opening half?


“Perfectly good goal ruled out,” says Robert Clifford in our comments section.

Anderson’s finish did look as though it should have been given, Dalot appeared to have played the West Ham forward onside.

What did you make of that early decision in favour of United?


Lanzini whips in a cross and Anderson sneaks in behind Rojo to turn the ball home.

Five mins into the second half and we’re all square! Poor from Rojo to allow the West Ham forward in for his 10th goal of the season. 

All West Ham at the moment!


West Ham really pushing for a second.

Hernandez and Snodgrass get in behind but the latter just runs the ball long, miscontrols and it goes behind for a kick-out.

Worth mentioning for the goal, it came as a result of a poor De Gea throw out – put United under unnecessary pressure.

Corner West Ham now.

Smalling clears only as far as Zabaleta but his low volley is saved smartly.


Substitution for Man Utd: Marcus Rashford on for Juan Mata.

That seemed as though it was coming, Mata not very impressive this evening.


“Your support is f**king sh*t,” sing the visiting supporters who are making their voice heard.

There’s a bit of anxiety around Old Trafford.

Fred doesn’t look that comfortable to press too high up the pitch to Paul Pogba’s obvious annoyance.

Rashford shot from a tight angle forces a wonderful save from Fabianski – cracking ball from Smalling to play him in.

Don’t think Solskjaer wanted to play him today ahead of Barca but he’s been trusted with helping the home side pick up an important win.

United supporters have found their voice after that shot.


Pogba plays in a dangerous cross as Rashford dummies, Zabaleta clears for a corner.

Bit of pinball after the original corner is cleared – Lukaku, Jones and Rashford all get up to try turn it goalbound.

Rashford heads it over!

Different energy around United now – only took about 15 minutes after the break to get back into it.


Rojo has a shot from distance saved!

Should mention, Lanzini has come off for Grady Diangana. He looked in a bit of discomfort coming off.

Corner for West Ham.

Snodgrass whips, but it’s headed away by Jones. He’s been impressive this afternoon, Jones.


I think Fred will be the next man to make way for United.

He’s not been great in this second half. West Ham are applying a bit of pressure now, they win a corner after a spell of pressure. Rice getting some praise for his contribution this afternoon.

Anderson heads the corner on, comes off a United body and we’ll have another corner.

Nothing comes of it after Jones’ clearance.

Substitution for West Ham: Michail Antonio on for Hernandez. 


Double Substitution for Manchester United

Mason Greenwood on for Romelu Lukaku.

Andreas Pereira on for Marcos Rojo.

Well there you go, Fred stays on.


Antonio rifles it off the bar!

Fred is caught in possession and the ball is fed to Antonio who shoots from the edge of the box – crashes off the bar.

Big, big chance for West Ham.

Both sides pushing for a winner.



The captain rescues United! Antonio heads it into the ground and it bounces at speed, looks as though it’s heading into the roof of the net and somehow De Gea manages to claw it away.

Another big chance…


Breathless stuff.

Flag 80Mins

West Ham sub Ryan Fredericks tackles Martial from behind…

Pogba steps up for the second time this evening…

GOAL!!! He scores and United lead!



What a relief for Manchester United and Solskjaer doesn’t even crack a smile.

Frantic few minutes there, Pogba buries it into the bottom left hand corner.

After two big Antonio chances, United break up the pitch, Martial gets in behind Fredericks who’s only come on and he takes the Frenchman down from behind.

Only a yellow card. No mistake from Pogba.

United fortunate to be in the lead but it’s 2-1 to the home side.


West Ham throwing everything at it now for an equaliser.

They win yet another corner, and it’s cleared.

Jones has picked up a head injury, clash of with Rice. Blood all over his face. That’ll take a couple of stitches.

Poor from the referee that he didn’t stop the game for that, he’d stayed down and everything, was forced to pick himself back up and carry on before there was a stoppage in play.


Five minutes stoppage time to be added on!

Lanzini and Jones injuries causing this additional time.

Nothing notable in the last few minutes, United sitting deep.


Four minutes of the added five played and West Ham have nothing to show for it.

United have managed the end of this game incredibly well.

Flag 90Mins

Last chance for West Ham… 

Freekick is wasted.

FT: Manchester United 2-1 West Ham.


United come away with a big three points, but were made to work hard for it.

Solskjaer hugs his goalscorer Pogba after the game and waves to the crowd.

He doesn’t look thrilled – this was hardly the ideal workout before Barca this week.

That said, three points in the bag. No injury worries.

West Ham made life tough for the home side, could well have won the game after Antonio’s two chances.

But two goals from the penalty spot means that United leapfrog Arsenal into 5th and are two behind Chelsea in 4th.

Well, that’s all from me this evening.

Thanks for tuning in – reports and reaction are all coming up on The42.


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