Manchester United vs. West Ham Live Blog: Play-By-Play and Analysis

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Manchester United vs. West Ham Live Blog: Play-By-Play and Analysis
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Man United win fairly routinely (in hindsight) at home 3-0.

Scholes again displayed good fitness and form. Berbatov was refreshingly positive and eager as was a rested Rooney who didn't try to do too much. Nani had a nice second half, recovering from being extravagant and wasteful in the first term. Vidic enjoyed himself; if he has another season like 2008-09, the world is in trouble.

West Ham weren't mockeries but they were never in the match competitively. They're still pointless after three games but showed enough here to warrant hope as the new season unfolds. Avram Grant is more than capable of keeping that squad in the Premier League.

Very comfortable win for United without being too depressing for West Ham. I'm inspired to go out and play today. United's next game isn't until Sep 11, for some reason. That really sucks.

Mercifully I'm outta here. Live-blogging a match means I missed most of it, so I'm looking forward to watching it later and forming some sort of conceptual masterplan.

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91: They took it. They didn't score. They took another one and turned it over. There's the whistle.

90: West Ham are jogging into United's half. Barrera sends in a hopeful cross from the right and gets a corner without earning it. Boa Morte is replaced after a haggard shift, Stanislas slotting in up front.

87: West Ham swing in a corner kick. Noble gets in another cross but United clear and counter. Carrick, Owen, and now Giggs on the right side. He dribbles and turns over to Noble who somehow escapes from the corner. West Ham neatly play out of their half finally but United's midfield holds tight.

85: Carrick just made the strongest challenge of his United career on Barrera and it ranked behind six or seven of Vidic's tackles on the day's power-meter.

83: The commentators imply Rooney is still showing good workrate today. I'm busy typing and editing a play-by-play in a word processor format without any built-in functionality.

80: This is usually the part of a game when I'd tune out and think about the consequences. O'shea plays a vertical long-ball that goes out of bounds. West Ham pass it around five or six times and Parker lung-busts inside the box. He shoots off-balance from ten yards. It was pretty ugly but his dedication was and is heroic.

78: Giggs crosses in for Nani but Upson sends it away. Ten minutes left but West Ham are walking for the most part. Except for the sub Piquonne; he flips in to Carlton Cole but Vidic slide-tackles at the last second. Brilliant defense. "He comes from Serbia, he'll effing murder ya," we're reminded.

75: The match has really slowed down now. United attack casually but West Ham scatter it clear. The Hammers feign to attack but Vidic clears twice.

73: Chris Smalling also entered for his Old Trafford debut. Dyer departs for the Hammers after a positive shift, replaced by Piquonne, whose name I'll misspell.

72: Berba got carded for taking his shirt off there. Not sure if he had something written on his undershirt. Didn't look like much. He gets the goal he deserves and applause he has always deserved. Michael Owen replaces him and Carrick shockingly replaces Scholes.

Manchester United 3: West Ham United 0

68: Berbatov scores and I'm clapping. Fletcher played to O'shea. He feigned a shot and passed to Nani. From nowhere he dinks in a brilliant little cross. Berbatov volleys on the flying side-turn and scores from five yards, his third goal of the season.

66: The Welshman takes a sharp free-kick but shoots instead of crosses. Nice idea, worse execution. It goes over.

65: More Joy Division from the Old Trafford fans as they serenade Giggs. He's had a decent game without being great today. Early reports indicate a "7" player rating.

63: Berbatov is trying hard today. It must be frustrating being the player with the most class on any team you play. But his head is up and he's attacking 50-50 balls, looking very mobile and willing.

62: West Ham's Faubert departs for Mexican international Barrera.

61: Rooney plays a one-two with Berbatov but it's out for a throw. Rooney releases Evra down the line. He crosses for Berbatov who uses Scholes for support, teeing him up for a driven shot from 18 yards. It's right at Green. 

60: West Ham attack again but Faubert's final ball is lazy.

59: Rooney broke from half-way after a scramble but he's pulled down by Upson who gets the deserved yellow card for the professional foul.

58: Berbatov tees up Nani after turning with usual grace but Nani miscues his shot.

57: Giggs projects being fit with another energetic run, but he again forces using his left foot to pass and turns it over.

56: Almost every West Ham player takes a touch in their best passage of play. Noble, Dyer, Faubert, Parker, and everyone else, until Dyer gets an open shot from 18 yards right and curls onto the outside of the post.

54: Come on you Hammers. Faubert shoots or crosses over the goal.

52: Rooney should have scored. Some really nice passing with Berbatov, Rooney, and Nani but Rooney's final touch through on goal was heavy.

50: Nani needed that goal but didn't deserve it. Rooney put him through with a deft touch. It's nice to see the Englishman rested. It's 2-0 United but it may as well be 5-0 the way West Ham are playing.

Manchester United 2: West Ham United 0

49: West Ham pass it around for awhile but United snuff it out. Scholes plays through to Rooney, who feeds in Nani. Nani dribbles too much, but finds space and shoots left-footed from 15 yards. Goal for United!

48: Giggs buzzes around West Ham's left corner but Mark Clattenburg awards some arbitrary foul and it's a free-kick for the Londoners.

47: Parker passes it around for a bit before trying a Scholes-like pinged cross, but O'shea pops it back to Vidic who heads it down to VDS.

46: It was Man United who kicked off the first half, a conclusion I've come to deductively as West Ham kick off to start the second.

Second half kick-off 10:35AM PST

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For West Ham, Parker and Dyer looked more with it than their colleagues. On the other side, I liked Berbatov's energy, Fletcher, and Vidic for their first half showings. Nani is especially wasteful today and poor.

Man United controlled the great majority of possession but only have the one goal to show for it, and it was a penalty. There was no reason for Spector to make that challenge on Giggs but you won't hear me complain too much. Man Utd lead 1-0 and I'm off to reformat this article and drink some coffee. See you back in 15.

46: Looks like Giggs who puts Nani clean through. Nani tries to chip the keeper but instead chips the goal. West Ham try to relieve the pressure but just give the ball back to the Mancs. That'll do it.

45: Two minutes of added time incoming.

44: Nani takes too long on the ball again and turns it over. West Ham try to counter through Dyer. He's very willing and almost fit but only just unable to release down that side. Red United have the ball again, passing with little aplomb as the half teeters out.

42: Goal kick for West Ham after struggling to get it out of their half. Parker to Spector to Cole to Faubert. United defend and counter. Berbatov, O'shea, Fletcher, Scholes, Berbatov, Giggs all take touches winding into West Ham's box. Berbatov gets a half-volley but he completely shanks it. Tough technique on that bouncing ball.

39: Darren Fletcher cracks a brilliant half-curled, half-driven shot from 23 yards out, but Green matched his technique and saved nicely.

38: van der Sar rushes a clearance under pressure from Cole but West Ham do nothing with the deep throw-in. Man United control and pass their way into West Ham's box but Nani's control lets him down after busting in from the right side.

36: West Ham break with both Scholes and Fletcher forward for United, so Rooney tracks back and muffles the flow. West Ham, though, retain possession and attempt to move forward with sideways and backwards passing.

34: Another corner for the Red Devils. Another corner. United fans sing Joy Division. Giggs swings in the corner. Green saves and Dyer breaks. Stuffed out by a back-tracking Giggs. Man United possess.

33: United want more. Nani breaks down the right, earns a corner while I'm typing.

Manchester United 1: West Ham United 0

32.55: Rooney takes a very long run-up and slots the penalty lower-right side. Good composure. His celebration is refreshingly slightly muted. Man United lead West Ham United 1-0.

31: Scholes pings cross-field to Giggs foot. Former United young-boy Jonny Spector gets beat by Giggs and fouls him from behind, inside the box. Penalty to Man United.

29: Red United control the ball in West Ham's half, passing around the outside. Giggs cuts inside from the left, never using his right foot, and turns the ball over.

28: Cole hobbles off as replays confirm a sick-ass tackle from Vidic inside the box. Cole looks set to return after some magic spray.

26: The surprisingly sprightly Kieron Dyer fires from range, keeping van der Sar on his toes. West Ham attack again, and Vidic tackles awesomely on Carlton Cole who worryingly stays down and looks in some agony.

25: Fletcher barnstorms into West Ham's half. He passes to Berba whose first inclination is to do the same, back to Fletcher. Attack fizzles.

24: United turn over. West Ham reply in-kind. Nani balloons a shot into the Stretford End from inside the box. United are beginning to outclass West Ham, yet, parity remains.

23: West Ham had a chance but I was too busy reading an e-mail. United attack, Vidic playing long to Berbatov who lays it off side-boot to Nani. Nani cracks from range and Green saves onto his bar. United control again.

West Ham control Green's punt forward and pass the ball around comfortably for the first time in ten or so minutes.

20: Nani uses strength to salvage his short-corner kick and gets in a cross from open-play at the byline. Goes straight to Green, though.

Still nil-nil here, though the Red United are starting to control and threaten more than their London opponents.

19: Noble goes in studs-up on Rooney. Mark Clattenburg doesn't book him, which is a good decision. Rooney doesn't complain overly. The play must go on. Rooney dummies for Berbatov who is fouled. Free-kick to United is played short. United win a corner on their right side through Nani.

17: Bodies are flying everywhere as the sides exchange possession. West Ham get in a cross but it eludes Carlton Cole. United build again through the lumbering O'shea. Now West Ham try to control the ball but end up just punting it forward through Green.

15: Rooney, Nani, and Giggs sit behind the free-kick. I wish Berbatov would be allowed to take some close range free-kicks. I think his technique is best and he lacks overpower. Looks like Nani will take it, unfortunately. His shot goes over. Too close for Nani.

14: Rooney drops deep for United this time and plays it wide to Nani. He steps on the ball and over-elaborates. United ultimately turn-over. As West Ham does immediately from Green's punt. United have it again. Berbatov plays through Nani and United have a free-kick in a dangerous spot, about 24 yards out, slightly left.

13: Berbatov flicks onto Rooney inside the box but Rooney mishits. West Ham have a deep free-kick from their own half but turn it over immediately. United begin building through Evans, passing horizontally, moving slowly forward.

12: Scotty Parker always has his head up. He makes about ten passes on one West Ham attack, the last one being the vital miscue, as the last one always is.

10: Berbatov drops deep as Rooney stays forward. Good tidings. Rooney fires from 22 yards on target. Green doesn't bobble it comically and let it trickle in, though. Still nil-nil.

08: Corner came to nothing as they often do. Berbatov ultimately gets a shot on goal from the right-side but he's ruled offside.

07: Scotty Parker is getting stuck-in as usual. Berbatov and Rooney interplay nicely going forward. Evra wins a corner for the reds.

06: Noble plays to former Real Madrid man Faubert who feeds Cole but Vidic nicked it away. Man United have been sloppy at times. Pretty even stuff.

05: West Ham turnover in the middle of the field and Scholes chips in Berbatov behind West Ham's defense. Berba tries to cross to Rooney but it's blocked out of play.

03: Giggs does to same thing with the same result. West Ham counter all the way into United's box but Kieron Dyer loses control and Man United rebuild.

02: Evra breaks down the left after some slow build-up and pops in a cross which Robert Green manages to hold on to.

01: Scholesy drives his first cross-field pass of the day to Nani's feet. Fletcher tries to play the ball into Berbatov but West Ham cut it out and start to counter, but fizzle.

00: Didn't even see who kicked-off as I was switching tabs and confusing myself. So far, so good.

Kick-off 9:31AM PST

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Good morning United fans on both sides. The Hammers visit Old Trafford in the late kick-off today starting at 09:30 PST, 12:30 EST, or 17:30 local time. There will be absolutely no spoilers of other matches in this thread. Starting line-ups should be up presently.

And here they are:

Man United: van der Sar, O'Shea, Vidic, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov. Subs:Kuszczak, Owen, Smalling, Hernandez, Carrick, Rafael Da Silva, Valencia.

West Ham: Green, Spector, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga, Faubert, Noble, Parker, Boa Morte, Dyer, Cole. Subs: Stech, Barrera, Kovac, McCarthy, da Costa, Stanislas, Piquionne.

Prediction: Man Utd win 3-1 after scoring late.

 

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