Kevin Nolan came close to equalising on 11 minutes when he flicked on Matt Taylor’s wide free-kick at the near post but not before he’d scythed down Tom Cleverley to earn the game’s first booking.
West Ham made a mockery of suggestions that Sam Allardyce’s teams only play long-ball football. The visitors preferred to play a patient passing game, working the ball out wide for either Taylor or Matt Jarvis to whip crosses in to Andy Carroll.
Carroll did volley over on 27 minutes after the ball fell to him following a route-one free-kick but the striker largely struggled to impose himself on the game.
Down the other end, Hernandez forced a smart save from Jaaskelainen down to his left when the Mexican made space for himself on the edge of the area and unleashed a wicked drive from 20 yards. Anderson then sliced high and wide, while Evra couldn’t find the final ball after good vision from van Persie to find the left-back in acres of space.
As the first half drew to a close, Anderson could reflect on another fine 45 minutes, while his fellow Brazilian, Rafael, was equally impressive. He didn’t put a foot wrong in defence, as he headed, tackled or intercepted everything that came his way.
A lethargic start to the second half presented half chances to both Mohamed Diame and Carroll before the Reds woke up and Cleverley sent a half volley whistling over the crossbar.
Van Persie hit a free-kick straight at Jaaskelainen after being upended 20 yards out by Joey O’Brien. Then Rooney drew a full-length save from the Finn when he curled an effort towards the far post and West