Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United: Lessons learned from dominant display by Red Devils

It was a brilliant performance from the home side as they swept aside Slaven Bilic's Hammers with an all-round display

Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United: Lessons learned from dominant display by Red Devils
(Source: Shaun Botterill / Getty Images)

Manchester United put in the sort of performance even Sir Alex Ferguson would've been proud of as they breezed past West Ham United in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 scorline to progress to the semi-final of the EFL Cup.

After having recently drawn 1-1 with the Hammers in the premier league, a game which was a frustrating one for the players and fans alike, the Old Trafford faithful would've been pleased to see the team take their chances and score the goals that led to the 4-1 victory.

Despite the absence of Paul Pogba, United never looked like they missed him, as the rest of the team stepped up and delivered. Man-of-the-match Henrikh Mkhitaryan was unlucky to not get on the scoresheet, the Armenian had an amazing game and was at the centre of the everything positive about United's play. He will certainly be hoping that he did enough to warrant a starting place in the weekend's starting XI against Ronald Koeman's Everton.

Another highlight of the game was the late return of Bastian Schweinsteiger, a player who many thought would never play again for United. He came off the bench for Anthony Martial and was received by a great reception from the United fans, they will be hoping he can still play a part in the team's successes this season.

Let's take what Jose Mourinho and United might have learnt from this game...

Mkhitaryan is ready to be a regular in the team

Last years' Bundesliga Players' Player of the Season, Mkhitaryan, has struggled since his move to Old Trafford, but things have been on the up for him of late. Jose seems to be easing the Armenian into Premier league football after he struggled in his first two starts against Hull City and Manchester City.

The Armenian has looked more like the world-class player he was for Borussia Dortmund as he grabbed a couple of assists for the Red Devils in yesterday's victory. It's not just his assists that were impressive, Mkhitaryan was positive every time he had the ball and looked to get past players and give quality service to the likes of Anthony Martial, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mkhitaryan played a vital role in the build-up to each of the goals and his first assist to Zlatan was a classic example of how he uses his pace and attacking intelligence to get into spaces behind the defence and then released the ball delightfully for Ibrahimovic and the Swede wasn't going to miss from six-yards, making the scoreline 1-0, scoring the first goal gave United a boost of confidence which they used as the game progressed.

Mkhitaryan interchanged positions with Rooney and Martial during the whole game and this fluid movement of those three players confused the Hammers' defence, they combined ever so well in assisting each other as well as linking up with Ibrahimovic whenever they got the opportunity.

A fired up Rooney is what United need 

The England and Manchester United captain has faced much criticism from the media of late, but he's answered his critics on the pitch in recent matches.

Wayne Rooney started the match as the number 10 but was given a free role in the team by Rui Faria and influenced every part of United's play with an energetic and passionate performance.

He played in a number of positions across the final third, drifted out onto the wings and put some decent crosses in, at times took the ball and drove at the West Ham defense himself and also played alongside Ibrahimovic uptop at times with Martial and Mkhitaryan being the wingers in that situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rooney won most of his physical battles and was given a yellow card for protesting one of the referee's decisions in the game but he got on with the game and later when Winston Reid hit Rooney's face with his studs up and the United captain had a bad cut on his face, the linesman didn't call for the penalty, which certainly must have infuriated the Englishman.

Everyone knows Rooney doesn't have his pace anymore, but he is a powerful runner on the ball, his distribution was impressive as usual and it really looks as thought the all-time England top scorer might soon break the United all-time record and build on this season.

Jones and Rojo proving to be better than just back-ups

About a month ago, when the defensive crisis in central defence started kicking in for United, many doubted if Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones could match the impressive Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling's performances early in the season.

But Rojo and Jones have proven themselves to be better than just squad players with their performances in recent games and especially against the Hammers yesterday.

They hardly put a foot wrong and won every header,every last-ditch takle they had to make and intercepted most of West Ham's passes with some intelligent positioning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their performances of late have shown Mourinho that he has just as much quality in depth in his defensive department as he does up with his options up front and with the return of Bailly to first-team training, it will be interesting to see which of the two players makes it alongside the Ivorian or will he himself face a struggle to get back into the starting XI.

One can only hope that United can replicate these kinds of performances in the league, every time the Red Devils have done well in cup competitions, they have failed to win in their following league matches. Goodison Park will be a tough prospect to face with captain Rooney suspended for the game, but Jose can rest assured, he has enough firepower in his squad to face the Toffees.