Manuel Pellegrini‘s West Ham United passed a big test, moving into the Top Four with a decisive 2-0 defeat of struggling Manchester United at London’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored on either side of halftime to send West Ham fourth with 11 points.
Man United remains eighth with eighth, and lost Marcus Rashford to injury.
Three things we learned
1. Healthy Yarmolenko a big asset: Injuries short-circuited Andriy Yarmolenko’s first year at West Ham after they did the same to his only campaign at Borussia Dortmund, so it’s been easy to forget that the Ukraine playmaker is pacey, creative, and lethal. His lunging finish to beat De Gea in the first half was simply one moment of a match full of good ones, as he fooled Harry Maguire in the process. Three shots, a key pass, and a goal from the right-sided wide man. Good stuff.
2. Pogba import underscored as Rashford adds to injury woes: With Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba already out, the non-contact injury that sent Marcus Rashford to the tunnel is a scary thought for a United team incapable of creative work through the middle. Andreas Pereira was a danger out wide, and Daniel James has proven himself a handful, but a long-term injury to Rashford would heap pressure on young Mason Greenwood. Without Pogba pulling the strings inside — forget Martial’s early season wizardry — this team is in big, big trouble.
Not great, Ed.
3. Technique on return: Aaron Cresswell had a free kick from the right of the 18, with the wall lined up to stop any ideas of a near post effort. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. The West Ham left back swept a piece of technical beauty over the wall, spinning it into the upper 90 despite the best efforts of David De Gea. Sensational.
Man of the Match: Yarmolenko.
Andreas Pereira’s industrious run up the right forced a hard obstruction out of Angelo Ogbonna, who collected a yellow card.
Andriy Yarmolenko was bright early, and linked up with Felipe Anderson to curl a shot into the arms of David De Gea in the 20th minute.
Marcus Rashford drove into the box then was thrown-off by the oncoming Declan Rice and bobbled his dribble, allowing the West Ham man to take the ball away.
De Gea had to make a save on a half-hit Mark Noble strike which was re-directed by Victor Lindelof.
Yarmolenko scored before halftime, Noble and Anderson working the ball inside for the Ukrainian to cut past De Gea through traffic. Beautiful stuff, and it forced a rare mistake out of Harry Maguire.
The second half started well for United, with Juan Mata missing a sliding effort at the back post set up by Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay bundled a shot to Lukasz Fabianski in the 57th.
That’s when Rashford limped off following a non-contact injury.
Yarmolenko set up Anderson for a near post drive that De Gea foiled in the 62nd.
Cresswell made it 2-0 from a free kick in the 84th, De Gea somehow getting a hand to the left-back’s piece of technical beauty.