It was the best of halves, it was the worst of halves. Dickens himself couldn’t have scripted a difference between the two performances. Manchester United were putrid in the first half, no bones about it. Nobody was settled, and almost everyone made mistakes. However, a certain mentality is developing in this squad, and while it may not be good for a fans’ health, it’s certainly fine for United’s place in the table.
OGS – Put out a very optimistic lineup, while trying to rest key figures. Knew the “bigger” game this week comes in Germany at midweek, and decided to act accordingly. A midfield of Pogba and Van de Beek should have been creative enough to overcome an overachieving West Ham side, and continuity at the back showed a faith in the establishment. A confusing decision to yank Van de Beek and Cavani at the half based on overall team performance, but was vindicated after his third change.
Dean Henderson – Made the absolute most of his first Premier League start. Important first save when United seemed to be still in the dressing room. Left hanging out to dry by poor man marking on the goal. Absolute peach of a save on the Cresswell free kick. 7.5.
AWB – Made some incredibly crucial tackles in the first half, though he looks absolutely lost going forward. Should have been exposed for a West ham second early in the second half. His indecision cost possession in dangerous areas on multiple occasions in attack. An inability to keep the play moving forward stunted momentum on key counterattacking opportunities. 6.
Victor Lindelof – Made a number of big 50/50 headers throughout the game to contest possession. Seemed to have a nose for loose balls and passes in the second half. Stepped up to intercept a number of West Ham advances to keep the pressure on when United were in control. 6.5.
Harry Maguire – Cast an incredible frustrating figure in the first half. His lack of pace was exposed on a number of times, and his distribution from the back seemed more lacking than usual. Like the rest of the defense, performed much better in the second half. 6.
Alex Telles – A mixed bag from the upstart Brazilian. Looked very positive going forward, but was caught out of position in the defensive third. Lost his man for West Ham’s goal, and failed to communicate with Maguire a few times leading to opportunities for the Hammers. 6.
Scott McTominay – Did a job. Sloppy in possession and passing in the first half, but cut a determined figure in the second. Always willing to challenge in the midfield, his energy and toughness cannot be understated. Offers more than Matic going forward, without sacrificing anything on the defense end when compared with the Serb. 6.5.
Donny Van de Beek – Unfortunate that the team lacked so much in his 45 minute display. Tried woking things here and there going forward, but nobody was on the same page. Can’t fault the Dutchman for any of the malaise in the first half, and was unlucky to be hauled off. 5.
Paul Pogba – Perfectly summed up the entire United experience in London. Absolute shambles in the first half, with multiple turnovers, and bad pass after bad pass. Seemed a different player in the second half, though so did the entire rest of the side. An absolutely sublime goal doesn’t make up for the turnovers or laissez-faire attitude, but that finishing quality is a trait so few people possess in the world. 7.
Anthony Martial – Poor yet again. Weak on the ball when a defender contested him for a pass, and ended up forcing his way into the center of the park, by refusing to stay wide and defend on the wing. Refuses to commit defensively, and wants to exclusively be a poacher of goals. Seems to care more about himself than the club yet again, leaving Telles completely exposed to the marauding runs of Declan Rice and the Hammers. 3.
Mason Greenwood – Like the rest of the attacking line, he was on an island the entire first half. Ran hard, but again tried to do too much individually when the rest of the team was also lacking. What is becoming a trademark finish ensued after the break, where the chemistry between himself, Rashford, and Fernandes is palpable. 7.
Edinson Cavani – Had absolutely no opportunities for service in the first half. Ran hard, but was too often on the left wing while Martial dithered inside, and subsequently out of position to handle the inside pass. Injury caused his hook, and can only hope it lacks seriousness just has he is gelling with the true 11. 4.5.
Bruno Fernandes – Yet again proves he is the heart and soul of this team. The mood, energy, and quality across the pitch immediately turned up when 18 ran onto the grass. His vision, bravery, and drive propelled the team forward to seize the game by the throat. 8.
Marcus Rashford – The quality he bring is beyond question, and his pace and determination to push forward is very much necessary to this squad. Could have had a brace, but sealed the win when it mattered most to crush the West Ham spirit. 8.
Juan Mata – A substitution made out of necessity, his telepathy with Fernandes allowed the team to break forward quickly. His experience and class was on display for his frozen rope pass for the clincher. 7.