Manchester United earned a valuable victory against West Ham at Old Trafford thanks to a second-half own goal from Hammers’ defender Craig Dawson.
Just like our Emirates FA Cup tie with David Moyes’s side at home last month, this wasn’t a great spectacle but the result was the same, with United winning the match 1-0.
The three points ensures the Reds go back into second place in the Premier League, having briefly been shunted out of the slot during Leicester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Sheffield United in the afternoon.
The hard-fought win strengthens our position in the top four ahead of two big cup ties with AC Milan and Leicester City.
Reds take the points!
Check out the best images from a narrow victory against West Ham at Old Trafford.
FIRST HALF – RASHFORD CURSES MISSED CHANCE AND GREENWOOD GOES CLOSE
It was a very quiet start to the match with little excitement being created by either side. West Ham did look the slicker initially, with the Reds’ passing somewhat inaccurate though it was a promising and typically barnstorming start by Luke Shaw and our left-back looked a positive outlet for United.
Despite, the Hammers looking comfortable, they didn’t provide much danger in attack – apart from a looping Aaron Cresswell cross that needed Dean Henderson to punch among a ruck of players to clear the danger.
United finally created a major threat after 25 minutes and the moment left Marcus Rashford cursing. Our striker returned from the ankle injury he sustained in our superb Manchester derby win at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, but won’t have been happy to miss a golden chance. Mason Greenwood sent over a delightful cross from the right and Rashford had an unchallenged, clear header at the back post but never caught the delivery correctly and it glanced well wide.
Greenwood was at the sharp end of the Reds’ next best chance after 37 minutes.
A swift move started by a Henderson throw-out ended with Bruno Fernandes providing the pass to set Greenwood up, his effort was sneaking in but West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski got a glove on it and turned the ball onto the post.
Rashford had another headed chance that didn’t overly extend Fabianski, two minutes later, as we started to get our momentum going in attack and finished the half in charge.
SECOND HALF – OWN GOAL SEALS WIN FOR REDS
Just when the second half looked like it was starting as tight as the first, the game came into life when United took the lead.
After 53 minutes, Daniel James drove over a low cross that Vladimir Coufal turned away at the last second as Rashford was set to pounce. However, from the resulting corner by Fernandes, Hammers defender Craig Dawson turned the ball into his own net with a header to make it 1-0.
It was almost 2-0 on the hour when a Fernandes snap-shot flashed towards goal but keeper Fabianksi got down to save well.
United’s goal forced Hammers boss David Moyes to become more adventurous and he sent on two subs, Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma, who immediately upped the visitors’ tempo and danger.
Jarrod Bowen headed wide from a cross after 64 minutes but he’d have been offside, even if the connection had been clean.
However, it did post a warning to the Reds that West Ham were now a different and more positive proposition.
United were pinned back but did break on West Ham after 77 minutes and Greenwood struck a post on the swift counter-attack, after being fed by Rashford.
West Ham continued to press but United saw the game out and there were no repeats of last Thursday’s Europa League late equaliser agony against AC Milan, with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in command at the back.
Harry Maguire was excellent at the back for the Reds.
United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire (c), Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, James, Fernandes, Rashford, Greenwood
Subs not used: Grant, Bishop, Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe, Williams, Matic, Amad, Shoretire.
Scorer: Dawson (own goal) 53
Bookings: Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, Rashford, James
West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell, Johnson (Benrahma 62), Rice, Soucek, Noble (c) (Lanzini 62), Bowen, Antonio
Subs not used: Martin, Alves, Balbuena, Trott, Coventry, Odubeko.