Pogba stunner survives unlikely VAR check as Man Utd flatten West Ham
Manchester United recovered from a goal down and a poor first-half showing to beat West Ham 3-1 at the London Stadium on Saturday.
United’s passing was astray throughout the first 45 minutes and Tomas Soucek gave the Hammers their reward for dominating after 38 minutes.
But the introductions of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford flipped the game on its head, with Mason Greenwood and Rashford scoring after Paul Pogba’s long-range strike survived an unlikely VAR check.
West Ham thought they had taken the lead through Jarrod Bowen. However, the 2,000 returning Hammers fans were left disappointed. The winger finished coolly past Dean Henderson but he was offside.
It took United 21 minutes to show real intent. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s run led to Anthony Martial’s blocked shot.
But West Ham kept coming and Pablo Fornals missed two chances. After hitting the side netting, his poked effort hit the post and rebounded into Henderson’s gloves.
However, the fans got their reward after 38 minutes. From a corner, Declan Rice nodded the ball onto allow Soucek to poke into the empty net. The midfielder benefitted after Paul Pogba and Alex Telles both switched off.
United’s sloppy passing was the biggest cause of their first-half slump and it allowed West Ham two further fantastic opportunities. But Sebastian Haller lost his footing inside the box before Wan-Bissaka recovered to tackle Bowen.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that he would try to avoid bringing on Bruno Fernandes if at all possible. However, he had no choice, with the midfielder and Marcus Rashford replacing Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani at half time.
The pair failed to have an immediate impact, though, as West Ham dominated the opening exchanges. Bowen was lively again and his effort on the slide hit the side netting.
Man Utd turn it around
However, United’s recent trend of recovering from a goal down followed them to east London. Pogba levelled the scores with a stunning long-range curler, but it took a VAR check to be confirmed.
Despite the usual handball, foul or offside rulings, though, the assistants were concerned over whether Henderson’s pass in the build-up had gone out of play.
Three minutes later, Greenwood completed the comeback with a trademark left-footed strike inside the area.
The game then became a wholly different prospect for David Moyes‘ side, as United pushed on. Rashford soon hit the post after soon being played through.
But the England international then got on the scoresheet, with substitute Juan Mata’s stunning pass sending him through to chip Lukasz Fabinski.
United saw the result out – with Henderson making an important save from an Aaron Cresswell free kick – to provide a confidence boost ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with RB Leipzig.