Problems mount for Manchester United as West Ham seal deserved win
Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell maintained the hosts’ impressive start to the season.
Manchester United lost Marcus Rashford to injury as they slipped to a demoralising 2-0 defeat at West Ham.
The England striker limped off early in the second half after Andriy Yarmolenko had given the hosts the lead, before Aaron Cresswell finished United off with a stunning free-kick.
With Anthony Martial already missing through injury and youngster Mason Greenwood ill, United finished the match without a recognised striker and Jesse Lingard playing in attack.
Rashford’s early departure will raise more questions about United’s summer transfer business, when they failed to bring in a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
Of just as much concern will be their away form. United have not won on their travels in the Premier League since February, a run of seven matches equalling an unwanted club record.
Life looks far brighter for West Ham, whose captain Mark Noble this week claimed they could even break into the top four this season.
They are certainly heading in the right direction after a hard-fought third win in four matches.
A pedestrian first half was meandering towards a stalemate when Yarmolenko struck.
The Ukrainian winger had already sent one shot into the arms of David De Gea, the keeper making his first appearance since signing his new United contract.
De Gea also kept out a Noble volley while, at the other end, Nemanja Matic fired straight at Lukasz Fabianski and Rashford’s run on goal was halted by the excellent Declan Rice.
After 44 minutes of no little effort, but zero inspiration, from either team, it was West Ham who made the breakthrough.
Felipe Anderson’s quick feet and neat chip in the area teed up Yarmolenko, who wrapped his left foot around the ball and drove it past De Gea and inside the near post for his second goal of the campaign.
At the start of the second half Ashley Young’s cut-back found Scott McTominay in an advanced position but Fabianski denied him at the near post.
United’s lack of options in attack was laid bare on the hour when Rashford pulled up injured with no one around him.
Lingard came off the bench and was pressed into attack, but it was centre-half Harry Maguire who came closest to hauling them level, his effort from a corner kept out by the legs of Fabianski.
Instead, with five minutes remaining Cresswell, who had already lifted one free-kick narrowly over, curled in the sort of set-piece former Hammers favourite Dimitri Payet used to specialise in to cap a memorable win for the hosts and a miserable afternoon for United.