Manchester United retained top spot in the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday with a well deserved, if not slightly frustrating, 1-0 win over West Ham at Old Trafford.
Robin van Persie opened the scoring with just 33 seconds on the clock, chipping a heavily deflected shot off James Collins and over the helpless Jussi Jaaskelainen, simultaneously netting the fastest goal of any top-flight team or player this season.
From then on, the Reds dominated possession and territory at the Theatre of Dreams but ultimately struggled to break down a typically well-disciplined Hammers defence that is currently flourishing under the tutelage and management of the battle-hardened Sam Allardyce.
In the end, the match provided three invaluable points for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men with the busy December schedule rapidly approaching, while providing several talking points to discuss. Here, I assess five lessons that can be learned from this midweek encounter...