|1||Van der Sar|
United were just too good. The Reds dominated right from the start and West Ham's futile resistance only lasted until the 33rd minute when Wayne Rooney opened his account for the season from the penalty spot. Goals of unquestionable class from Nani and Dimitar Berbatov followed after the break, sealing as convincing and comfortable a 3-0 win as you are ever likely to witness.
Avram Grant’s side arrived at Old Trafford bottom of the table and without a win in their first two games – defeats to Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers, which on both occasions saw them concede three goals. Their narrow 1-0 midweek win over Oxford offered some respite, but the second round of the League Cup is a far cry from Old Trafford, and the gulf in class was brutally apparent.
However, United too had a point to prove – which Sir Alex's men would do emphatically – after dropping two against Fulham last weekend. Sir Alex made three changes to the team that drew 2-2 at Craven Cottage. Rooney, who missed the Fulham trip with a stomach bug, replaced Javier Hernandez up front alongside Berbatov. Nani was drafted in for Antonio Valencia, while Ryan Giggs replaced Ji-sung Park.
The autumnal weather in Manchester – a seemingly random mix of wind, sun and rain – left a slick surface which, as well as encouraging a few late sliding tackles from West Ham’s feistier players, allowed United’s rapid passing to blossom.
Rooney registered the first effort on goal after 10 minutes, shuffling across the edge of the box to fire a low, skidding effort into Robert Green’s arms. United’s attacking play was full of intent with Rooney, Berbatov and Nani at the centre of it. The latter two men combined on 20 minutes for a move that should have yielded the first goal. Vidic’s long, diagonal ball forward picked out Berbatov in space. The Bulgarian – nonchalantly as is his way – flicked the ball back into the path of