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EPL Results: Van Gaal’s side fire blanks as Red Devils record goalless draw against West Ham

Photo Courtesy: Goal.com
Photo Courtesy: Goal.com

Manchester United failed to take advantage of Manchester City’s defeat at Stoke City and overtake them in the EPL table, as they ended up recording a goalless draw against West Ham at Old Trafford.

Although the Hammers definitely had better chances, hitting the post twice in the first half, the Red Devils played well after the break, nearly pinching the winner towards the end.

The first chance of the game arrived in the 10th minute, when Paddy McNair, following a patient build up from United, whipped an excellent cross into the box from the right. Marouane Fellaini managed to connect with a header, but his effort went just wide, after taking a slight deflection off Winston Reid.

A couple of minutes later, at the other end, a poor play from Daley Blind saw him surrender possession and get caught out of position. Mark Noble picked out Victor Moses with a brilliant ball and the on-loan midfielder found himself in a very good position. He fired an effort, but his shot was deflected for a corner by David De Gea.

In the 16 minute, a superb block from Reid prevented United from taking the lead. Lingard, after blitzing past two defenders, sent a brilliant cross towards Fellaini, who nodded the ball down for Anthony Martial. The striker, after controlling the ball with his chest, fired a powerful effort but Reid threw his body in the way to block the shot, which eventually rolled out for a corner.

Six minutes later, Manchester United nearly went behind to an own goal by Smalling. Cresswell swung a low cross into the box which De Gea wasn’t able to handle. The Spain goalkeeper spilled the cross and Smalling, who was trying to clear, directed the ball towards his own goal. Luckily for United, the ball back after hitting the post.

Moments later, United were again saved by the post. Reid managed to connect with  Zarate’s corner with a powerful header, but his effort, after beating De Gea, again came back off the post.

There were shouts for a penalty after Fellaini appeared to be tripped by Cresswell following a corner in the 41st minute, but nothing was given.

After the break, the Hammers got an excellent chance to go in front, but Zarate was unable to hit the target. Michail Antonio’s cross was completely missed by Blind, and this resulted in Andy Carroll laying a perfect ball for Zarate. The winger simply needed to tuck the ball into the corner of the net, but somehow he ended up firing his effort wide.

Five minutes later, Adrian made an absolutely spectacular save to deny Fellaini from putting his side ahead. Jesse Lingard, after collecting a pass from Martial from the left, returned the ball to the Frenchman, who teed up Fellaini with an excellent square ball. The Belgian managed to get a shot towards goal, but his effort was saved at point blank range by Adrian.

In the 67th minute United got another opportunity, after a series of incisive passes resulted in Martial getting the ball just outside the box. The Frenchman teed up Juan Mata, but the former Chelsea playmaker dragged his effort wide.

With seven minutes remaining on the clock, United nearly went ahead through Lingard, but the winger was unable to hit the target. Mata’s free-kick was headed away by a West Ham defender, but the ball found Lingard, whose effort was just wide of the target.

The Red Devils got a final chance to grab to winner in injury time, when Mata managed to flick Depay’s corner towards Smalling. The defender managed to let fly an effort, but a West Ham defender made a crucial block to keep the scores goalless.

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