Manchester United moved back up to second in the Premier League thanks to a 1-0 win over West Ham at Old Trafford, secured thanks to Craig Dawson’s second-half own goal.
In a tight and cagey contest, the home side were forced to wait until eight minutes into the second half to make a deserved breakthrough as Dawson headed Bruno Fernandes’ corner into his own net.
As a result, Manchester United leapfrogged Leicester City, who had moved up to second place with a 5-0 home win over Sheffield United earlier in the day, although they are still a mammoth 14 points behind rivals Manchester City at the top of the table.
As for David Moyes, who was back at Old Trafford after his brief time in charge of Manchester United, his team stay fifth, three points behind Chelsea in the final Champions League berth, but with a game in hand on the Blues.
How Man Utd reclaimed second place in the Premier League
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team started Sunday night’s clash with West Ham having slipped to third place in the table after Leicester’s resounding win over struggling Sheffield United earlier in the day, but boosted by the surprise return of Marcus Rashford in attack.
The England international was not expected to make United’s starting line-up after injuring his ankle in last weekend’s derby win over City, however, not only did he take his place up front, but the forward also wasted his team’s best opening of the first half.
Mason Greenwood did brilliantly to work himself some space on the right side of the box, before picking out Rashford at the far post, only for the frontman to glance his close-range header wide of gaping goal.
Greenwood himself also went close to opening the scoring eight minutes before the break after a slick United move involving Fernandes, who found the young forward in space just outside the box.
However, Lukasz Fabianski did brilliantly to tip Greenwood’s low shot, heading for the far corner, behind as the two sides went in goalless at the break.
Moyes – whose team were ultra-cautious in a first period in which they failed to have a shot – opted to move from three to four at the back in the second half to give the visitors an extra body in midfield, with little impact though as United took the lead in bizarre fashion.
Dawson, normally so strong in the air, rose to clear Fernandes’s inswinging corner from the left, only to inadvertently head the ball into his own goal to give the hosts a deserved lead.
And in truth, United should have added to their advantage in the final half an hour, only for Fabianski to keep out Fernandes’s well-struck drive from the edge of the area, before Greenwood could only strike the outside of the post having been put through on goal late on.
⛔️ Man Utd have kept 4 successive PL clean sheets for the first time for over 3 years, since Dec 2017 – Jan 2018 under Jose Mourinho pic.twitter.com/yqpv0EOpM2
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 14, 2021
Man of the Match – Luke Shaw
Is there a better left back in the Premier League at present? On Shaw’s showings this season, the answer must be a resounding ‘no’.
Shaw was at it again at Old Trafford on Super Sunday, turning in another accomplished display both in defence, as United kept a fourth successive clean sheet for the first time in over three years, and as an attacking presence.
In fact, it could even be argued that the rampaging full back was United’s most dangerous attacking player, creating two chances on the night, while completing 72 of his 79 passes.
And if Shaw, 25, continues in this vein of form, then surely an England recall is just around the corner…
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 14, 2021
What the managers said…
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “As expected, they are always going to make it hard for you. We could have been more comfortable towards the end as we had a few decent chances to finish it off – we like to make it hard for ourselves.
“We created massive opportunities but the final pass or shot wasn’t good enough. It could have been two or three easily – but then it could have ended up in our net at the end as they are a threat.
“We know West Ham are challenging to get in the top four so it was a big result and we kept a clean sheet again.”
West Ham boss David Moyes: “I’m disappointed we lost. Parts of the game we played OK and parts we didn’t. The way we set up maybe didn’t quite work. Our breaks were really poor tonight.”
“I’ve just been told it was an own goal by Dawson, I thought Scott McTominay scored it. It’s one thing we’ve been good at this season, set pieces, defending or attacking, but tonight it wasn’t our night.”
United’s impressive run continues – Opta stats
- Manchester United have only lost one of their last 23 Premier League games (W14 D8), this after suffering three defeats in their opening six games of the season.
- West Ham have lost 50% of their 12 Premier League games this season against sides starting the day above them in the league (W4 D2 L6), compared to just 7% of their other 15 matches (W10 D4 L1).
- Only Leicester (4) have benefitted from more own goals in the Premier League in 2020-21 than Manchester United (3, same as Liverpool), with Lewis Dunk and Jan Bednarek the other two players to do so against the Red Devils this season, alongside Craig Dawson.
- Including penalties, only Chelsea (17) have scored more Premier League goals this season from set-pieces than Manchester United (16), though 50% of those have come from the penalty spot.
- Only Harry Redknapp (15) has managed more away Premier League games at Old Trafford without winning than West Ham boss David Moyes (D4 L10), with this defeat his 14th such trip in the top-flight (11 with Everton, 1 with Sunderland, 2 with West Ham).
- Manchester United’s opener was only Craig Dawson’s second own goal in the Premier League, also turning into his own net in April 2016 for West Brom against Spurs.
- West Ham failed to attempt a single shot on target this evening despite managing seven attempts, the highest number of shots the Hammers have had in a Premier League game without any hitting the target since August 2013 vs Stoke City (9 shots).
United travel to AC Milan for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday night (8pm), having drawn the first leg 1-1, before taking on Leicester City at the King Power in an FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday (5pm).
Meanwhile, West Ham face Arsenal at the London Stadium on Sunday March 21 (3pm), with the game live on Sky Sports Premier League.