Manchester United defeated West Ham 4-0 to start the 2017-18 league campaign in style. Goals from Martial and Pogba and a brace from debutant Lukaku were enough to hammer the hammers at Old Trafford.
United opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Rashford played a lovely through pass to send Lukaku on goal, who struck the ball past Hart to give his side the lead. Mourinho’s men went into the break with a feeble lead, but Lukaku completed his brace minutes after the restart. He headed home Mkhitaryan’s free kick emphatically into the net to double his side’s lead. Martial then scored a goal after coming on in the 80th minute, as he made the score 3-0 to put the result beyond any doubt. He then assisted Pogba’s sumptuous strike just 3 minutes later in the 90th minute to put the game to bed. The hammers didn’t have many chances, and De Gea was on hand to make fine saves either side of half time, with his save from Fernandes being the moat important one. United played free-flowing, attacking football which satisfied the fans and reminded them of the way they regularly played under Sir Alex Ferguson. However, Mourinho called for fans being grounded after a single match week, and called upon his team to maintain their focus. With this win, United go on top of the table after the first match week.
Here are the major Talking Points from the match
Chelsea would repent selling Matic
Nemanja Matic again led to questions being asked of the Chelsea hierarchy as to why they would let a star player leave and that too for a rival. The defensive midfielder put in a match winning performance and was superb in every aspect of the game. He was solid and made some fine tackles and also completed some majestic long passes. He also completed some beautiful through passes with exemplary vision, and above all, he freed Pogba who enjoyed a superb evening. Matic could prove to be the final jigsaw in Mourinho’s title challengers, and this could come back to bite Chelsea.
Little Pea Returns
Much of the build up to the match revolved around Javier Hernandez’s return to Old Trafford. ‘The Little Pea’ was a fan favourite during his time at the club due to his excellent track record, but could not manage to score here today. He was unfortunate, as he was by far his team’s best player- giving his side confidence and purpose even when 3 goals down. He is undoubtedly West Ham’s best signing in recent years, but he requires good service, and Bilic must try to build his team around him- potentially making them a one-man army.
Dream Debut for Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku had a dream league debut for United, as he capped off his first appearance with two great goals. He became the first person to score on his premier league debut with three different teams and now looks like an upgrade on Ibrahimovic. He could well spearhead Mourinho’s men to a successful title charge, and other teams in the country must find a way to contain the flat-track bully.
How long will Mourinho overlook Martial?
Anthony Martial didn’t have a great second season, but he was brilliant in the pre-season and should’ve been rewarded with a starting berth in the Super Cup Final. However, Mourinho overlooked him for Rashford. He again played Rashford tonight, but Martial came on from the bench and reminded everyone of his quality. He scored and assisted in only 12 minutes on the pitch, and Mourinho must start him in the next match or risk losing the in-demand player before August 31.
Title Challenge on the Cards?
It’s obviously too soon to make a call, but United finally look like serious title contenders this season. Agreed- Hammers were without some injured players and weren’t at their best, but apart from the left-back position, United were convincing in every area on the pitch. Mourinho has drilled a winning mentality in his squad, and the acquisition of Matic and Lukaku has made his side way stronger than last season. We could be in for an exciting season, as Mourinho looks to go on a rampage and maintain his successful second season record. They could still further strengthen their side before the transfer window closes, and another top-class player could make them the favourites for the title.