Manchester United weren’t at their best but got the job done in their 1-0 win over West Ham on Sunday. Marcus Rashford popped up with the winner in the first half, heading home after a fine cross from Christian Eriksen. Express Sport takes a look at five things learned from the showdown.
United’s new talisman confirmed
There have been some big players for Manchester United so far this season.
Eriksen and Casemiro have been superb, with the duo’s partnership in midfield going from strength to strength.
Defenders Diogo Dalot and Lisandro Martinez have also been in fine form, while David De Gea has been back to his best.
But Rashford, make no mistake about it, is the talisman of Ten Hag’s side.
The England international has now bagged 100 across all competitions for the club, with his header flying past Lukasz Fabianski in the Hammers goal.
It means he’s now bagged seven for the campaign and, after much was said and written about him back in the summer, he’s responded in the best way possible.
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Maguire concerns remain
United had no real choice but to start Harry Maguire, with the England international picked from the off for the first time since the club’s 4-0 defeat to Brentford in August.
And while he didn’t do much wrong, there were still some alarm bells on display.
One was that Maguire was breached immediately, with West Ham playing through the 29-year-old and nearly going ahead in the early stages.
What was perhaps more worrying, however, was an exchange with David De Gea.
On a couple of occasions, Maguire seemed to ask for the ball – only for his team-mate to look in his direction before giving it to somebody else instead.
That suggests there’s some doubt when it comes to De Gea and Maguire’s relationship and trust. That said, the 29-year-old still managed to produce a fine block in the closing stages to see out the game.
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Eriksen a magician
Long have United waited for a midfield magician.
Not since the days where they had two, in the form of Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick, have the Red Devils had somebody capable of waving a magic wand in the middle of the park.
But Eriksen is something else these days, with the Denmark international arguably the signing of the summer so far – Erling Haaland aside.
His cross for Rashford’s header was described as ‘delicious’ by Gary Neville – and rightly so.
United missed out on signing Frenkie de Jong but Eriksen, on a free transfer, has certainly proven to be a bargain alternative.
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De Gea the sweeper
De Gea has always been a solid goalkeeper for United.
Yet, in the modern game, the Spain international sometimes looks a man out of time. Especially when it comes to racing off his line.
However, the 31-year-old has shown promising signs of evolving in recent weeks and another was on display against West Ham on Sunday.
With Said Benrahma looking to get through, De Gea was quick out of the blocks to boot the ball out of play in the first half.
It was just a minor moment in the contest but one that shows that, maybe just maybe, the former Atletico Madrid star can still keep the No 1 jersey for many years to come.
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Martinez a rock again
United’s summer signings have all fared well.
But it’s clear to see why Martinez is already a cult hero at the club, with the Argentina international putting in another strong showing.
Even as Maguire sometimes looked shaky, the man beside him oozed class and confidence as the Red Devils dug deep to take all three points.
Many raised their eyebrows when United forked out £47million to sign Martinez back in the summer.
But nobody is questioning that call now, with the former Ajax star improving by the week.
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