If this was a movie it would be binned at submission for being too far fetched.
We have the return of the once great one to save the day again. We also have hero returning to the site of his recent exploits to see if he can repeat the formula from the dark side. And we have the introduction of a former hero, now into his dotage, to see if he can just one more time recreate the magic that made him famous throughout the land.
And we have gazillions of idiots hopping onto packed trains maskless, to go and see the action.
Anyway, moan out the way, and onto the game.
Mr Moyes was unusually bullish during the week, when asked if this a bad time to play United he replied it’s a bad time to play West Ham. And his selection post our European exploits was very strong, replacing the suspended Antonio with Vlasic. Bowen was placed up top as I suspected he would after being on the bench on Thursday, with Vlasic, Fornals and Benrahma supporting. Lingard didn’t start for United but Ronaldo did which I’m sure pleased the home debutant Zouma.
United started the game on top, but WHU came into it after about 20 mins and were really pressing their visitors back. Souchek had a couple of digs from range, and we seemed to be finding space with some tricky passing. At the half hour mark, Benrahma took a shot which took a wicked deflection from Varane and nipped past de Gea to open the scoring. The atmosphere in the stadium by then was electric and the crowd was willing the team on. I, however, was more concerned with the next 10 minutes, based on us letting goals in very soon after scoring against Palace. This was well minded, as 5 minutes later Fab spilled a long range shot from Fernandez to gift a tap in to Ronaldo. Bollocks.
The rest of the half played out 50/50 as did most of the second half. Lingard was introduced to a standing ovation from the home crowd, and the game seemed to be going to a draw. And then…… as is almost demanded in these situations, Lingard picked the ball up just outside the corner of the box, and bent in a worldie to no celebration from him and crazy celebrations from the away section. What to do ?
Throw Yarma on and get stuck in. Rice came into his own and was tearing it up. Ronaldo by this time was reduced to diving for the 3rd and decisive away goal. Poor show from one of greatest players of all time.
In what was almost the last kick of the game…… Coufal crossed and Shaw gave away a handball and a penalty to the Hammers. I’m not a fan of Rice taking pens, but he had the ball in his hands until…………….Moyes hoicks off Bowen for Noble and it’s game on. Could he bring the point home with his first and likely only kick of the game ? No warm up, no practice, just straight in against a keeper whose own pen record isn’t fantastic. The atmosphere was now more charged than a power station, some with excitement and some with fear and trepidation. He places the ball, takes his usual walk back.
The run up……the connection……the ball on its way………….the Save. No, no, no . And thats all she wrote.
Moyes has since the game stated Noble has one of the best penalty records in Europe. Facts right there. None of them were ever taken in that situation. I’m sure he wasn’t phased at all, he’s been there since before most people knew where there was. Rice is the usual taker (despite my doubts). Yarmo was on the pitch, so was Fornals and Souchek. Surely, trust someone who is in the cadence of the game. So despite me getting all Disney happy endings when he came on , in retrospect, it was a bit too clever and Moyes has to take all the responsibility.
Ronaldo. One of the greats of all time. Once again, facts. So to spend most of the second half diving, and informing the ref in regards of his quality of eyesight, was disappointing at best. Why do it ? Maybe he could learn some humility from Lingard.
Is now the time to drop Fabianski ? Once again at fault for a goal. Him resigning from international football seems to have coincided with a shocking drop in form.
MOTM Declan Rice. The lad is a Rolls Royce of a player, Not a pen taker.