West Ham United plunged Manchester United deeper into crisis on Saturday in the Premier League, as they earned a comfortable 3-1 win over the Red Devils at London Stadium.
The visitors got off to the worst possible start, with Felipe Anderson finishing expertly after Pablo Zabaleta’s cross in the fifth minute. The Hammers doubled their advantage before the break, when Andriy Yarmolenko’s shot deflected off Victor Lindelof and in.
After the interval, United manager Jose Mourinho withdrew Paul Pogba from the game in search of a response, and his side immediately got one back through Marcus Rashford’s stunning flick.
However, hope of a comeback was short-lived, as Marko Arnautovic found acres of space in the United defence and had time to finish past David De Gea.
United’s Defence Will Damage Top-4 Hopes
West Ham United’s Austrian midfielder Marko Arnautovic (R) scores their third goal past Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea (L) during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United.
After a chaotic buildup to the game, Mourinho would have been desperate to see his side show cohesion in the early stages. Instead, they were all at sea. Given Mourinho had set up his team with a five-man defence, it was the last thing this under-pressure team needed.
While there was some misfortune about the second goal, it was indicative of the lack of aggression and anticipation they have played with for much of the campaign.
It’s not the first time this season Mourinho has made intriguing decisions in his defensive setup, with Ander Herrera also shoehorned into a back three in the 3-0 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
Should he remain in charge for the months to come, it would be a surprise if we saw this formation again.
No Way Back For Mourinho After Further Setback
Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium.
Mourinho made big calls on Saturday in leaving out Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia, not to mention changing the shape. But he watched his side collapse in front of him again.
The spotlight will fall squarely on the United manager after another disappointing defeat, equalling the team’s worst-ever start to a Premier League campaign.
While it’s noble to back a manager, it would take something extraordinary for Mourinho to turn things around at United. The team is already out of one competition and realistically out of the title picture before we enter October.
A big decision would be needed from the club’s hierarchy to sack the manager so early into the 2018-19 season. However, the Red Devils look in need of a major change.
Haven’t got a clue who should replace Mourinho during a season. Weird to say but Zidane very much an unknown. What is clear to me is that it’s gone too far for Mourinho to salvage this. Really see no point in keeping faith from here.