FROM LONDON STADIUM – An absolutely appalling error from David de Gea gift wrapped West Ham a huge 1-0 win over Manchester United in Sunday’s late game.
The Spaniard had been a spectator for the first 27 minutes as United missed chance after chance, but let his side down badly after allowing Said Benrahma’s timid shot on the counter to trickle into the net.
De Gea’s short passing was also calamitous in a performance that will concern many United fans who don’t want to see Erik ten Hag hand him a new long-term contract at Old Trafford.
West Ham were well worth their win after a slow start, pinning the Red Devils back for the majority of the second half as Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta and Benrahma looked to impose, and are now seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Defeat for Ten Hag’s side – their second on the road in three days – means the race for Champions League qualification has ratcheted up a notch, with Liverpool now just a point behind having played a game more.
How the game unfolded
After a rousing rendition of the national anthem to mark the coronation of King Charles III – in stark contrast to many games around the country – it was the visitors who came flying out of the traps.
Bruno Fernandes dragged a shot narrowly wide of Lukasz Fabianski’s far post before Antony repeated the tricks minutes later – Aaron Cresswell exposed on both occasions as Said Benrahma failed to track back.
Those moments followed another glaring example of why many United supporters would like to see David de Gea replaced between the sticks. His terribly ill-judged pass allowing Declan Rice a simple interception and space to run into United’s penalty area, putting the visitors under needless pressure.
Christian Eriksen fired over the bar and Marcus Rashford hit the base of the post as United continued to put the squeeze on, but Erik ten Hag was left to rue his side’s profligacy in front of goal when De Gea handed West Ham a precious opening goal.
Michail Antonio did well to wrestle possession back in midfield, allowing Benrahma to run at the retreating Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Algerian then tried his luck from 20 yards out, and De Gea somehow allowed his rather feeble effort to roll over his wrist and into the back of the net.
To their credit United didn’t allow De Gea’s indiscretion to disrupt their flow, as Antony flicked the outside of Fabianski’s other post and Christian Eriksen had a deflected shot saved, but the real talking point of the half came just before the break.
Benrahma looked to hook the ball back into United’s penalty area and the ball clearly struck Lindelof on the hand – the Swede even appearing to move his arm into the path of the ball. But after Peter Bankes’ assistant referee failed to spot, VAR Michael Salisbury decided a review was not needed, clearly deciding it was a case of ball to hand.
Energised by their performance at the back end of the first half, West Ham enjoyed their best spell of the game in the second half’s early exchanges. Lucas Paqueta and Tomas Soucek fired wide and into the side netting respectively, while Antonio had a goal ruled out for a foul on De Gea – probably the right decision although the contact was soft.
Antonio and Paqueta then went close again, with the former also cynically chopped down by Wan-Bissaka after a lung-bursting run on the break.
West Ham had a second goal ruled out, this time for offside after Soucek planted Paqueta’s cross past De Gea, and never really relinquished the momentum as Man Utd faded.
The final whistle was greeted by a huge ovation from the home fans, with each and every one of the 60,000 support knowing how big that win is.
GK: Lukasz Fabianski – 7/10 – Didn’t have to make any extraordinary saves but did have to make some smart ones – was more than up to the task.
RB: Thilo Kehrer – 7/10 – Kept Rashford and Fernandes quiet for large parts of the game, defensive positioning much better than it has been.
CB: Nayef Aguerd – 8/10 – Top outing from the Moroccan against a dangerous Manchester United attack.
CB: Angelo Ogbonna – 7/10 – 34 years young but you wouldn’t know it.
LB: Aaron Cresswell – 7/10 – Not brilliant in the opening exchanges as United looked to seize the initative. Grew into the game as West Ham improved.
DM: Declan Rice – 9/10 – Absolutely sensational in central midfield. Outshone Casemiro, regarded as world class player, 100 times over.
CM: Tomas Soucek – 7/10 – Faultless commitment to the cause and had a second half header chalked off for offside.
CM: Lucas Paqueta – 8/10 – West Ham are really starting to see the real Paqueta when it matters – a top performance from the World Cup star.
RW: Jarrod Bowen – 7/10 – One of West Ham’s quieter performance but still looked threatening enough when running with the ball.
CF: Michail Antonio – 7/10 – Ran his heart out up front and helped West Ham turn the momentum in their favour.
LW: Said Benrahma – 8/10 – Received a standing ovation for a really, really excellent display.
SUB: Pablo Fornals (87′ for Benrahma) – N/A
SUB: Flynn Downes (90+4′ for Paqueta) – N/A
SUB: Ben Johnson (90’+4 for Antonio) – N/A
Subs not used: Areola (GK), Anang (GK), Emerson, Lanzini, Cornet, Ings
David Moyes – 8/10 – Got his team selection right and was rewarded with a wonderful performance.
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GK: David de Gea – 2/10 – A truly terrible mistake from a goalkeeper rated for his shot-stopping. Distribution was abysmal, as usual.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6/10 – A little timid in possession when United perhaps needed more adventure. Solid against the mazy Benrahma.
CB: Victor Lindelof – 6/10 – Got away with footballing murder when VAR failed to look at his blatent handball. Pretty good again, defensively speaking.
CB: Luke Shaw – 3/10 – Didn’t show enough in the tackle against Antonio, which allowed the ball to spill out to Benrahma for the goal. Off the pace throughout.
LB: Tyrell Malacia – 6/10 – Did alright against the pacy Bowen, though the Dutchman didn’t offer up much the other way.
CM: Casemiro – 3/10 – You’d expect a player of the Brazilian’s calibre to take a game like this by the scruff of the neck. He didn’t.
CM: Christian Eriksen – 6/10 – Bright in the first 45 minutes when United were on top. Faded like many others as West Ham upped their game.
AM: Wout Weghorst – 6/10 – Still missing a Premier League goal for United but actually did well here in a withdrawn role.
RW: Antony – 6/10 – Looked early on like the former Ajax winger might have a field day, going close twice.
CF: Marcus Rashford – 5/10 – Uncharacterically quiet as United struggled to maintain their early dominance. Did hit the post.
LW Bruno Fernandes – 5/10 – Operating on the left flank, Fernandes’ movement caused early problems and he could easily have opened the scoring. Performance level dipped after the break.
SUB: Anthony Martial (57′ for Weghorst) – 5/10 – Didn’t change the pattern of the game as Ten Hag hoped.
SUB: Marcel Sabitzer (74′ for Eriksen) – N/A
SUB: Jadon Sancho (74′ for Antony) – N/A
SUB: Diogo Dalot (88′ for Wan-Bissaka) – N/A
SUB: Fred (88′ for Malacia) – N/A
Subs not used: Butland (GK), Maguire, Williams, Garnacho
Erik ten Hag – 5/10 – Looked to have the upper hand after the first 25 minutes but De Gea’s inexplicable error allowed West Ham to turn the tide. Substitutions just didn’t work.
Player of the Match: Declan Rice (West Ham)