You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Paul Pogba doubles up from the spot as Manchester United toil to overcome unlucky West Ham

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 13/4/2019 James Ducker
Paul Pogba standing in front of a crowd: Paul Pogba scores his second penalty to help Manchester United to victory over West Ham © PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images Paul Pogba scores his second penalty to help Manchester United to victory over West Ham

They are limping towards the finish line this Manchester United. If they keep playing like this, they can probably forget about a top four finish, let alone overhauling Barcelona on Tuesday. Play like this at the Nou Camp and it may be a case of how many Lionel Messi and company score, not whether United can overturn a 1-0 deficit in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

a crowd of people watching a football ball on a field: Felipe Anderson turns in West Ham's equaliser © Gareth Copley/Getty Images Felipe Anderson turns in West Ham's equaliser

Two penalties in either half from Paul Pogba were enough to salvage a precious, if contentious, win against a West Ham side who were the better team for long periods.

The upside for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Tuesday is that United will be away from home. The days of Old Trafford being a fortress opponents feared feel a long time ago and the worry for the United manager, bearing in mind he still has three home matches to navigate – Manchester City and Chelsea included – is how cowed his players look in M16.

West Ham have managed one point on the road since the turn of the year but you would not have known it.

“We were lucky to get away with three points and even a draw I would have taken at one point,” Solskjaer said. “Luckily it wasn’t Barcelona on the other side today. I feel good for Tuesday because we can’t play worse than we did today.

a football player throwing a ball in front of a crowd: Felipe Anderson turns in West Ham's equaliser Credit: Gareth Copley/Getty Images © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Felipe Anderson turns in West Ham's equaliser Credit: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

“We got away with it but it’s three points and in a few years no one will remember how we played if we finished in the top four.”

Luck shone on United here and it was a good job because they were distinctly off the pace, with and without the ball, and largely indistinguishable from the side that was slowly imploding under Jose Mourinho.

Manuel Pellegrini, the West Ham manager, was unhappy Felipe Anderson’s 10th minute goal was wrongly ruled out for offside, with Diogo Dalot playing him on from Javier Hernandez’s knock down, despite acknowledging it was a marginal decision. “With VAR, maybe today we are having a different score,” Pellegrini said.

a crowd of people watching a football game: Felipe Anderson equalises for West Ham © Phil Noble/Reuters Felipe Anderson equalises for West Ham

David De Gea also needed to make a stupendous reflex save to keep out Michail Antonio’s header moments after the West Ham substitute had crashed a shot against the crossbar, the United goalkeeper atoning for a mistake in the lead up to Anderson’s goal early in the second half. “That save was unbelievable and he won us the game because at 2-1 down we would have struggled to create enough,” Solskjaer said.

He was right because, from it, United went down the other end to score, the otherwise lamentable Anthony Martial getting in behind West Ham’s defence for the first time after Pogba’s pass had ricocheted through and Ryan Fredericks hacked him down.

Pogba kept his cool from the spot, as he had in the first half after Robert Snodgrass scythed through Juan Mata. 

a group of people playing football on a field: The aftermath of Snodgrass's collision with Mata that gave Man Utd a penalty © PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images The aftermath of Snodgrass's collision with Mata that gave Man Utd a penalty

In both cases, Pogba abandoned that stuttering run up of his in favour of racing to the ball and belting it. “I like that way of running up to the ball and smashing it in,” Solskjaer said.

a close up of a mans face: Newsletter Promotion - James Ducker's Man United briefing © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Newsletter Promotion - James Ducker's Man United briefing

It was about as much composure as United showcased all game. At one point in the first half, Pogba had nothing but red statues in front of him, no one looking to make a run or showing for the ball, and the Frenchman ended up getting hounded out of possession. 

a group of people watching a football game: Paul Pogba scores from the spot © AP Photo/Rui Vieira Paul Pogba scores from the spot

None of United’s lifeless forwards were as bad as Martial, who delivered another masterclass in indifference. 

West Ham’s right back, Pablo Zabaleta, is 34, his mobility greatly reduced these days. But neither his team-mates nor Martial made an attempt to isolate him, Zabaleta enjoying a stress free day and Pellegrini perhaps rueing his decision to substitute the Argentine in favour of Fredericks late on given what transpired.

West Ham’s goal had been no less than they deserved. De Gea’s poor throw eluded Pogba, who ended up lunging at Declan Rice. Rice fed Snodgrass, who in turn played the ball wide to Manuel Lanzini on the left. 

Dalot did not close down the cross and Marcos Rojo was guilty of ball watching as Anderson stole in at the back post to score.

David de Gea et al. playing a game of football: Felipe Anderson volleys a shot past David De Gea © REUTERS/Phil Noble Felipe Anderson volleys a shot past David De Gea

West Ham then had two great chances in as many minutes to lead. First Antonio rifled a shot against the bar after Rice – excellent throughout – dispossessed Fred and then must have thought he had scored when he headed Grady Diangana’s cross downwards only for De Gea – at full stretch down to his right – to claw the ball away. United can’t continue playing this poorly and expect to keep getting away with it.

a black and red sign on a brick building: Badges! © Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine Badges! 7:23PM

Full time

West Ham were deeply unlucky to lose against a very lacklustre Manchester United side. They should have had a goal in the first half and the first Man Utd penalty wasn't legitimate. They played well but United have won and winning ugly doesn't affect the result or points. 

Paul Pogba standing in front of a crowd: Paul Pogba scores his second penalty to help Manchester United to victory over West Ham - AFP © PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images Paul Pogba scores his second penalty to help Manchester United to victory over West Ham - AFP 7:21PM

90+4 min

United have abandoned their possibly ruinous deep line and are pressing forward. Solskjaer is waving at them to set the positions. 

7:19PM

90+2 min

Good header from Smalling stops Antonio breaking past him and when the ball comes back out into midfield Snodgrass catches Fred. Free-kick. 

7:18PM

89 min

Ogbonna brings the ball forward 30 yards and lays it off to Felipe Anderson. Man Utd sit deep but will have five more minutes to defend after long breaks for Lanzini's injury and Jones' split crown. 

7:16PM

87 min

Steve McManaman names Pogba as his man of the match while Jones is being patched up with vinegar and brown paper. West Ham deserve credit today for playing with grit and intelligence this half. All that was missing against Everton. 

7:14PM

85 min

West Han corner after a penetrative run by Fredericks whose eventual cross is blocked. Snodgrass, who was channelling Munch's muse when Fredericks gave away the pen, whips in the corner again. Jones goes up with Rice and the Man United defender's eyebrow is split by Rice's elbow. Ouch. That'll need stitching. Claret everywhere. 

7:10PM

82 min

Felipe Anderson, who switched to the left halfway through the half, takes on Pereira who has to knock it out for a corner. Snodgrass whips it to the near post and again Felipe Anderson wins it. Pereira blocks his flick-on and United clear. 

7:08PM

80 min

Again, none of that high-steppin' nonsense. He runs up and smashes it into the bottom left corner. Fabianski went the right way but it was so well-placed it hit the side netting before the back of the goal. 

7:06PM

GOAL!!

Man Utd 2-0 West Ham (Pogba, pen)

7:06PM

Man Utd penalty

Fredericks accepts Martial's invitation to foul him as he went one-on-one on the keeper and he accepts. Martial almost stopped and let Fredericks make the rash tackle. Yellow card. 

7:05PM

78 min

Superb save from De Gea and Antonio powers a header into the turf and it spits up towards the top right corner. De Gea leaps up and tips it way. 

7:04PM

76 min

Michail Antonio goes on a mazy run, getting the ball out from under his feet as he swept past Pogba and then crashed a left-foot shot from 18 yards on to the cross bar. 

7:03PM

75 min

Greenwood goes to the right side of the attack, Dalot to left-back, Pereira to right full. West Ham send on Ryan Fredericks for Zabaleta. 

7:01PM

74 min

West Ham substitution - Chicharito goes off to be replaced by Michail Antonio. United send on Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira for Romelu Lukaku and Marcos Rojo. 

6:59PM

73 min

West Ham corner headed on by Felipe Anderson and United scramble it behind for another. He does the same to the next. he's won five flick-ons from corners this game, Thinks he's Alan Gilzean. There's one for the teenagers. This time Jones wins the second header and booms it clear. 

6:57PM

71 min

Brave block by Rojo who throws himself in front of a Rice piledriver from 20 yards. Blimey that must smart. 

6:56PM

69 min

Phil Jones wins a vital header but subsequently seems to be limping at least when he's walking. 

6:54PM

66 min

Lukaku is having a spell out on the right, Rashford through the middle and Martial on the left. It's Lukaku who gets to the byline and squares the ball through the six-yard box from where it's cleared. It takes an age to reach Rojo who bellows for it and then scuds a low shot from 22 yards too close to Fabianski. 

6:51PM

64 min

Diangana finally replaces Lanzini. 

6:50PM

62 min

Lanzini is clearly hobbled but they put him back on for a couple of minutes and he has to sit down. United carry on their attack regardless and almost set up Linard for a tap-in after Pogba's clever dummy but West Ham scramble it behind for a corner. From that Rashford heads over from an offside position that the linesman doesn't spot. 

6:48PM

60 min

Twang! Manuel Lanzini has done his left groin. 

Felipe Anderson equalises for West Ham Credit: Phil Noble/Reuters © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Felipe Anderson equalises for West Ham Credit: Phil Noble/Reuters   6:46PM

59 min

Good save from Fabianaki, low to his right. Rashford had been played in for a shot because Smalling steamed out of defence, brought the ball forward and slipped a diagonal inside-out pass to the substitute cutting in from the right wing. Rashford hit it first time. 

6:43PM

57 min

United switch to 4-4-2 with Rashford coming on for Mata. 

6:42PM

56 min

United are noticeably tired but that's no excuse for the midfield leaving the defence so exposed. 

6:41PM

53 min

It's all West Ham now. They open the Man Utd defence on the right and send Snodgrass to the byline. He spins, turns but runs out of room. A minute later they're back and Jones has to knock it out for a corner. United's midfield has shirked its defensive responsibility and there's a preposterous amount of space. 

6:38PM

51 min

De Gea gets the assist for a shonky throw. He rolls it straight to Rice who gallops forward 25 yards, slips it to the left to Snodgrass who turns it round the corner for Lanzini cutting in from the left. He stands up a far-post cross and Felipe Anderson, let go by the snoozing Rojo, slams it in from close range. It's the least they have deserved. 

6:36PM

GOAL!!

Man Utd 1-1 West Ham (Felipe Anderson)

6:36PM

48 min

Felipe Anderson easily zips in behind Rojo and whips over a cross that Dalot heads away from the edge of the area. He had more time than he thought. 

6:34PM

46 min

Flying re-start from Man Utd who bomb forward from the kick-off, storm up the inside left channel as the West Ham midfield parted and Pogba, in a better position on the left of midfield, supports Martial and Lukaku but the killer pass required is picked off by Balbuena. 

6:17PM

Half-time

Not much quality at all. There's so much space to exploit but the control and passing has been very poor so far. West Ham were robbed of a perfectly good goal. Man Utd were given a dodgy penalty. 

6:15PM

45 min

Better from Felipe Anderson who whips in an early cross to the near post that De Gea has to drop smartly to block with his right foot and out for a throw-in. 

6:14PM

43 min

Felipe Anderson from the breakdown of a West Ham corner, bent menacingly in by Snodgrass, is on the left of the box. He lines up Smalling as a decoy to bend the ball around but slices it miles over. High, wide and hideous.  

a group of people playing football on a field: The aftermath of Snodgrass's collision with Mata that gave Man Utd a penalty Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited The aftermath of Snodgrass's collision with Mata that gave Man Utd a penalty Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images   6:11PM

41 min

Man Utd corner on the left. Mata takes a dipping outswinger. Smalling makes the right run and steers a free header over from 12 yards. Should have hit the target. 

6:10PM

38 min

Ogbonna puts his face into Lingard's and pokes him with his index finger after the Man Utd player fell in the box. It carries on for a good 20 seconds with both yelling at each other at intimate proximity before they part. The referee lets play continue, Fred wellies a shot over the bar and then he goes back to tick them both off. 

6:07PM

36 min

Mata, the unlikely assassin, resumes his other role and dances up the right before bending a left-foot cross beyond the far post. Martial, peeling in too late, can only do a Larry Grayson 'shut that door' volley with his right heel and spoons it over the bar. 

6:05PM

34 min

Yellow card for Mata for a lunging tackle on Noble that doesn't connect but halted his progress. It was 10 yards inside the West Ham half so needless. 

6:02PM

32 min

Noble free on the right of the box and Lanzini in space having wriggled away from his dozing marker. Golden opportunity and Noble instead floats a cross to the back post, miles away from a white shirt and Dalot chests it back to De Gea. 

6:01PM

30 min

Sky Sport's house referee, Peter Walton, thinks it wasn't a penalty but having seen it five times, I think it was 50-50, a very tight call rather than an outrage. But the offside decision certainly was. 

a group of people playing football on a field: Paul Pogba scores from the spot Credit: AP Photo/Rui Vieira © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Paul Pogba scores from the spot Credit: AP Photo/Rui Vieira   5:58PM

27 min

Fine Man Utd move - Pogba slides a pass up the left. Lukaku takes it out towards the touchline for a couple of seconds then spins back in and loses Zabaleta to lay it back to Pogba. Perhaps he hit the return too hard because Pogba took too long trying to get it on his left and has instead to improvise a weak right-foot shot that Ogbonna and Noble block. 

5:55PM

25 min

One corner begets another and both are flicked on by Felipe Anderson at the near post but Dalot knocks the first out for the second and then Balbuena fails to apply the finishing touch. 

5:54PM

23 min

Here's Felipe Anderson's finish for the goal that should have stood:

a group of people playing football in a cage: Felipe Anderson volleys a shot past David De Gea Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Felipe Anderson volleys a shot past David De Gea Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble

West Ham free-kick 22 yards out, dead centre after Pogba balletically raises his leg too high in a challenge. Felipe Anderson runs over it and Lanzini takes, clipping the top of the wall. The ball flies out for a corner. Snodgrass will take. 

5:51PM

21 min

There's no justice here for West Ham - they had a goal that should have stood wiped off by a lino's error and now fall behind from a dodgy pen. 

5:49PM

19 min

No daft run-up this time, he sprints up and slots the ball to the keeper's right with Fabianski buying the feint and diving to his left.

  5:48PM

GOAL!!

Man Utd 1-0 West Ham (Pogba, pen)

5:48PM

Man Utd penalty

Snodgrass penalised for knocking Mata over. But if anything Mata ran into him. 

5:47PM

15 min

Nice reverse pass from Fred with his left foot, playing it diagonally down the right for Lingard's run behind Masuaku. Lingard hit a first time cross through the six-yard box but Lukaku, who had been inbvolved earlier in the move, was still outside the box and Martial hadn't made a far-post run. 

5:44PM

13 min

West Ham have suffered an injustice. Dalot was playing him onside. The goal should have stood. United are asleep. Martial has just given the ball away with a misplaced pass and West Ham attacked but with the goal at his mercy Felipe Anderson loses control. Gah. 

5:41PM

10 min

Felipe Anderson puts the ball in the net with a sidewinder volley inside the six-yard box after winning the cross and heading it back across goal. The linesman's flag went straight up but there was a suggestion from the replay that Dalot was playing him onside. United's defence is wide open. 

5:40PM

9 min

Pogba is playing on the right, Fred on the left and Mata ahead of them. Pogba spraying passes around so far but his precision hasn't matched his vision and West Ham have picked off his longer efforts. 

5:37PM

7 min

Tons of space to play in and passes are easy to find. Zabaleta bullocks up the right but before he can cross halfway, Martial knocks him over. West Ham free kick. 

5:35PM

5 min

Man Utd corner after Dalot linke up with Mata and Lukaku to get round the back on the right. His cross hits Masuaku and balloons out of play. Fabianski does catch it but he's already in touch. In comes the corner, Balbuena heads it out and Fred thrashes his shot straight at Ogbonna. 

5:33PM

3 min

Snodgrass takes it, scoops it over the defence but there was no runner and Man Utd counter at pace. But Mata loses the ball to Masuaku and West Ham have caught them on a counter-break. Space ahead of him and Masuaku gobbles it up but instead of laying it off to someone decent to shoot he carries on and spoons a shot over the bar from 20 yards. 

5:31PM

1 min

West Ham kick off and give the ball away. Masuaku bombs up the left until tackled by Dalot who knocks the ball out for a West Ham throw, from which they earn a free-kick on the left 35 yards out. 

5:29PM

Out come the players

Steve McManaman thinks United will play 4-3-3 with Mata, Fred and Pogba in a V-shaped midfield. 

5:13PM

Slaven Bilic and Paul Scholes

Are the BT Sport pundits. Little wonder after Humphrey vs Keown on Thursday night. A pox on both their houses. 

Marko Arnautovic is absent ill, according to Manuel Pellegrini. 

  4:45PM

For those of you who prefer black and white

Manchester United De Gea; Dalot, Smalling, Jones, Rojo; Fred, Pogba; Lingard, Mata, Martial; Lukaku.

Substitutes Romero, Darmian, Lindelof, Pereira, McTominay, Greenwood, Rashford.

a store inside of a building: Badges! Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Badges! Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

West Ham United Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Noble, Rice; Snodgrass, Lanzini, Anderson; Hernandez.

Substitutes Adrian, Obiang, Fredericks, Diop, Antonio, Holland, Diangana.

Referee Graham Scott (Abingdon)

No Arnautovic, not even on the bench. The Chinese Super League's covetousness and promises of outrageous wages ruined Dmitri Payet for West Ham and now it has ruined Arnautovic. 

4:32PM

Mata and Rojo start for Man Utd

  4:31PM

West Ham beat Man Utd to the punch

  4:21PM

Manchester United launch All Red All Equal 

  4:06PM

Good afternoon

Sir Alex Ferguson once called West Ham United’s effort against his Manchester United side “obscene”, contrasting their desire to beat them in 1992 during the title run-in with the appalling form that had already consigned them to relegation. In 1995 West Ham’s draw with Man Utd at Upton Park on the final day of the season cost them a hat-trick of titles, they took great pleasure from Paolo Di Canio’s goal in the FA Cup in 2001 that won the tie at Old Trafford, the farewell to the Boleyn victory in 2016 when Winston Reid scored the winner and this season’s 3-1 evisceration of Jose Mourinho’s side by the man the United manager kept calling ‘Mr Pellegrino’.

So you would reasonably expect them to be as keen as Colman’s today, particularly since United have lost four of their past five matches. But then again West Ham have lost three of their past four and in the one this correspondent covered, the home defeat by Everton, they were as abject a team as you could dread to watch. They were ponderous, muddled and seemingly spineless. For a while Mark Noble and Declan Rice this season gave the midfield some of the old bite and character but they were truly terrible in that match, the forward line, Marko Arnautovic in particular, were irresponsible and defeatist and Manuel Pellegrini could not turn it around. He needs four or five new players and more crucially has to get rid of four or five, too, who sap the spirit of the club with their attitude and demeanour.

One suspects that Manchester United, who are without the suspended Ashley Young and Luke Shaw and the injured Ander Herrera, Eric Bailly, Alexis Sanchez and Antonio Valencia, will play a scratch side with one eye on Camp Nou. It is 12 years since West Ham last won at Old Trafford, so long ago that Carlos Tevez was still playing for them, much to Neil Warnock’s ire, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was playing his final league game for the hosts. The manager has told his team that they are all playing for their futures. "We need players here who are going to be able to take us forward,” he said. “It's going to be survival of the fittest or survival of the best. That's how ruthless we have to be." His players would do well to display some of that ruthlessness he demands today.

More from The Telegraph

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon