The Warmdown: Manchester United score a late winner courtesy Marcus Rashford making sure they secure all three points
Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates scoring with team mate Diogo Dalot during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on January 22, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Manchester United clinched another vital win in pursuit of 4th place in the Premier League On Saturday afternoon. Following their 3-0 victory at Brentford, the Red Devils followed up a vital victory at Old Trafford in front of home fans with Marcus Rashford getting on the end of a diagonal ball assisted by fellow teammate Edinson Cavani. The contest remained in the balance right till the end with both teams fighting it out to get a winner for a valuable three points at the top end of the league table.

The first big chance of the game went the way of Bruno Fernandes who whipped a superb cross into the box from the left wing, with Cristiano Ronaldo throwing himself at it, but he just couldn't meet the cross properly enough, the ball flying just wide of the far right post. Ronaldo was the centre of a penalty shout in the 36th minute respectively, going down in the Hammers penalty area under pressure from Kurt Zouma, immediately appealing for a spot kick as did the home crowd. However the referee didn't think there was much in it as he waved away his appeals with nothing given.

The referee blew the half time whistle with the game goalless at Old Trafford, in a game which was yet to get going. United had dominated possession at this point but had struggled to create anything in the final third. Alphonse Areola yet to be tested in goal going into the break. 

The Red Devils continued to dig into the contest, Fred getting a bit of luck as a pass from Fernandes deflected off a West Ham player, falling straight to him just inside the penalty area. The midfielder unleashing a powerful effort towards the top left corner of the net. However, Areola read it well making a superb save to tip it around the post. Jarod Bowen for West Ham also got in on the action coming close. United failed to clear their lines after a West Ham corner, the ball falling to Bowen on the edge of the box, who fired a volley towards the bottom right corner of the net, but it flew into the sidenetting.

Rashford and Cavani were introduced soon after off the bench and would the difference giving United all three points, the goal as a result of the Red Devils breaking forward quickly. Anthony Martial feeding Cavani down the left, who then pulled the ball back across goal to Rashford at the far post, who slotted it home from close range. The win sending Man United above West Ham and into fourth spot, as the Hammers dropped into fifth.

  • Match statistics

The game was one sided in possession United having the better of it, the Red Devils utilising the ball pretty well unable to pounce on their higher statistical shots on target, with West Ham resilient on the afternoon but unable to get the winner. Man United had 18 shots on goal during the game compared to West Ham's six, with three shots on target to the away sides one. The possession count for the Red Devils was higher with a 57% to a 43% ratio at Old Trafford. The total pass count for United was way higher, 546 to West Ham's 410. The Manchester side also had the better passing accuracy of 82% to the visitors 75%.

  • Rangnick touched on controlling the way the contest played out

The Red Devils manager knew his team made sure their game management skills were used wisely to close out the game, he said:

"Defensively I would say yes from the normal game we didn't allow too many chances and as I said it was not easy against them they were a very physical team. I'm still not quite happy how we play in possession of the ball, so will have to work on these in the next steps in the next couple of weeks. We must find better solutions when in possession of the ball."

  • On Ralph Rangnick so called time and Marcus Rashford's contribution

Rangnick admitted Rangnick time will never compare to Fergie time with Marcus Rashford's contribution vital in the end. 

"I wouldn't mind if that happened but again, of course we would like to have more games like Brentford where at the end we were 3-0 up. But if you score in the last second, the big advantage is there is no time for the other team to reply and that was the good thing about today's goal. Rashford is one of the top strikers in England, he is an English international who regularly played in the Euros. We all know what kind of qualities he has. He has the pace, skills, size and physicality of a striker and in the end its all about confidence. Now its about taking the next steps and showing this on a regular basis and continuing. He can play a very important role for the rest of the season for us."

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