West Ham 0-2 Manchester United
West Ham were left ruing poor refereeing decisions that denied them a share of the points in this entertaining game at the London Stadium.
The turning point in the game came after 15 minutes when West Ham’s Sofiane Feghouli was sent off after a full blooded clash with defender Phil Jones. Both players were going for the ball but it was Jones who theatrically rolled away looking more the injured party. Referee Mike Dean duly sent Feghouli off.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was in no doubt that the referee made the wrong decision, denying that the offence deserved a yellow card, let alone a red. “It wasn’t a yellow, the more I look at it, Jones made the more dangerous tackle,” said Bilic, who confirmed the club would appeal the red card.
An incensed Bilic, also refuted the view that such decisions even themselves out over a season. “I don’t believe these things do even out, “ said Bilic recalling a number of bad refereeing decisions that cost his team games last season.
Up until the sending off it had been an equal contest, with Manuel Lanzini bringing a good save out of David De Gean after being set up by Feghouli.
The same player brought an acrobatic save out of De Gea later in the half, as his shot seemed to be curling into the top corner of the net.
West Ham though were forced to defend deep and in numbers. The closest United came to scoring came in the 34th minute, when keeper Darren Randolph somehow saved a shot from Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the line, only for Antonio Valencia to fail with his attempt at a follow up.
The second half saw West Ham’s ten men continue to valiantly battle on, with Michail Antonio failing to convert, when put clear through by the impressive Lanzini.
The miss proved decisive, as three minutes later subsitutes Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata slickly combines for the latter to put United ahead.
A second goal followed, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring whilst he and two others were in blatanty off side positions.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted that had Antonio converted his chance, he doubted whether United would have won.
Unwilling to talk about the refereeing, the United boss was happy to discuss how his own decision to bring on Rashford and Mata, freshened things up and turned the game. “Coming from the bench fresh people make a difference,” said Mourinho.
Bilic also saw the Antonio miss as vital.”The chance came, we had to score it. If we scored anything was possible.They’d have to score two,” said Bilic.