Putting in what was a professional performance on Sunday afternoon, Manchester United claimed a thumping 3-0 victory against West Ham at Old Trafford.
With the red-hot Rasmus Hojlund opening the scoring midway through the first half and notching his fourth strike in as many appearances, Erik ten Hag’s side will take plenty of positives away from a gritty display on home soil.
Although the Hammers might have dominated possession over large spells, United were at their clinical best as Argentina ace Alejandro Garnacho bagged a second half brace.
Now collecting seven points from their previous three Premier League outings, Sunday’s 3-0 win also helped the former champions skyrocket their way back into the top-six.
Although West Ham might have secured an eye-catching 2-0 victory when they welcomed Manchester United to east London over the festive period, the Europa League outfit will feel that they missed out on a potential opportunity.
Now without a win from any of their last six domestic appearances on the spin, the Hammers have also recorded just a single away win since the start of December.
On an afternoon when United shored up their position in the top-six chase, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Old Trafford.
A crucial victory for ten Hag
Snatching what was a remarkable 4-3 victory away at Wolves in midweek and avoiding what would have been an almighty collapse in the Midlands, Manchester United were desperate for a far more routine display here.
Although ten Hag’s side might have slumped to a 2-0 loss when they travelled to the London Stadium on December 23rd, the former Ajax boss saw his squad put in an eye-catching performance here.
Although the Red Devils might be seeking a major miracle in their bid to punch another Champions League ticket in 2024, Saturday’s hosts are enjoying a welcomed flurry.
Extending on their FA Cup adventure last week as they secured a 4-2 win away at League Two outfit Newport, United are unbeaten in all of their previous five domestic appearances on the bounce.
Appearing to have turned a much-needed corner since opening the New Year and with ten Hag easing some of the speculation over his long-term future at Old Trafford, United have handed themselves a real platform to build on.
Hojlund extended on his recent romp
Making the move to Old Trafford over the summer in what was a £72million move from Italian outfit Atalanta, it is fair to say that Hojlund initially struggled to find his feet in the red half of Manchester.
Not notching a single Premier League strike until ten Hag’s side clinched an action-packed 3-2 win against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, the Danish marksman has suddenly burst onto the scene.
Opening the scoring with a clinical finish midway through the first half on Sunday afternoon and causing West Ham’s leaky defence a string of issues, Hojlund is starting to repay the hefty fee that United paid over the summer.
In fact, along with finding the net during United’s stunning 4-3 victory against Wolves earlier in the week, the 21-year-old has now got on the scoresheet in all of his previous four domestic appearances on the spin.
Enjoying his most fruitful spell at Old Trafford and receiving a host of plaudits from ten Hag here, Hojlund certainly had a leading role to play during the second half of the season.
West Ham’s worrying start to 2024 continues
Signing off 2023 with back-to-back 2-0 victories against Arsenal and Manchester United, West Ham certainly opened the New Year with their sights firmly set on mounting a genuine top-six charge this season.
However, although David Moyes’ men might have gained plenty of plaudits when opening up the 2023/24 campaign, the one-time Manchester United boss has found some increasing pressure on his shoulders in east London.
Crashing out of the FA Cup last month following a shock 1-0 loss away at Championship outfit Bristol City, the Hammers have now failed to muster a single win from any of their last six appearances across all competitions.
Leapfrogged by Sunday’s hosts in the top-six chase, Moyes will also be hugely frustrated by his side’s recent issues in the final third.
Yet to claim a single victory across any format since opening the New Year, things don’t get any easier for West Ham as they welcome title contenders Arsenal to the London Stadium this weekend.
Manchester United: Onana, Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw, Mainoo, Casemiro, Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund
Subs: Varane, McTominay, Lindelof, Antony
West Ham: Areola, Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson, Soucek, Alvarez, Johnson, Ward-Prowse, Kudus, Bowen
Subs: Cornet, Phillips, Fabianski
Goals: Hojlund (23′), Garnacho (49′, 84′)
Yellow Cards: Soucek
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Andrew Madley