There was a lot to admire about our performance at Old Trafford; previous West Ham sides would’ve completely capitulated after conceding two goals so early at the so called ‘Theatre Of Dreams.’ However this current Hammers team carries a far greater goal threat and after Diafra Sakho’s lifeline (his fourth in four games) we gave this incredibly expensively assembled Manchester United team a stern examination, one they were very lucky to pass.
Wayne Rooney’s red card was the turning point of this contest; with United desperate to avoid back-to-back defeats they crammed everyone behind the ball in an attempt to frustrate and nullify the Irons’ attack. West Ham seized the initiative and began relentlessly attacking the home side; unfortunately that cutting edge which we found so ruthlessly against Liverpool seven days earlier had deserted us.
Beating 10 men isn’t easy; last season away to Cardiff City and home to Swansea City we were reduced to 10 men on both occasions and yet still ended up winning both games relatively comfortably. When sides have an advantage to protect and don’t need to attack it can be incredibly difficult to break them down and find that goal that would force them out; and unfortunately that is exactly what happened at Old Trafford.
The harsh reality is; the damage was done in the opening 22 minutes when we found ourselves 2-0 down, the positives were the way we fought our way back into the game and the unrelenting fashion in which we took the game to Manchester United after Rooney’s dismissal, in fact even before his departure we were on top and looked the better team.
Kevin Nolan’s disallowed equaliser and the sight of Man United fans whistling, baying and praying for the final whistle are memories which will linger, I just have to ask at the Stretford end with Man United 2-1 down would the linesman have put his flag up? I just don’t think so.
The performances thus far this season with the exception of Southampton have been of a great quality, and the signs of this new look Hammers side are very promising indeed. QPR at home next weekend will be a great opportunity for this new look side to impress yet again.