Manchester United vs. West Ham: 6 Things We Learned

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Manchester United vs. West Ham: 6 Things We Learned
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Wayne Thanks the Lord

A lacklustre Manchester United failed to warm their fans as they overcame a tame West Ham on one of the coldest nights this year.

Maybe very few of us can imagine what it is like to start a match at minus-two degrees, let alone play 90 minutes or more. That is the only plausible explanation for a United team that, with a few exceptions, never got into second gear.

As United managed to sneak a win, we can say this was just like a training match. If West Ham had made something of the several attacks they had, we might instead have been branding United as disgracefully unprofessional.

For all the bluster in Sir Alex's interviews,the programme notes and the players' comments for the last 10 days that United are desperate to win the FA Cup, there was precious little evidence on the night.

Ryan Giggs tried in vain to drive United forward, supported by a few of his colleagues who may have been motivated by not wanting to spend any more than 90 minutes in the sub-zero conditions.

In fact at one point one might have concluded that they were trying to keep Jaaskelainen so inactive that he froze and was unable to save a surprise attack. Not to be. He remained confident and alert all night, as United shovelled one cross after another into his grateful arms.

There were few bright spots except the fleeting hope after the ninth-minute goal that West Ham might get a stuffing. There were plenty of talking points, however, and if Sir Alex wasn't hoarse from shouting at half-time, he probably was by 10 o'clock.

Ryan Giggs probably summed it up with his conclusion that there have been times when United would gratefully take a 1-0 win. This was the second time against West Ham at Old Trafford this season and both followed a similar pattern.

This time though being able to hold onto the single goal was less down to Sam Allardyce's defensive organisation and more to United's inept final balls and finishing.

Not a night for the connoisseur, but 10 changes; players rested for the Spurs match; job done and into the fourth round.

As a footnote, this was the first FA Cup match at Old Trafford for 677 days.

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