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 Ham somehow managed to avoid conceding from the resulting corner when both Hernandez and Jonny Evans went close during a frantic goalmouth scramble.
Anderson stung Jaaskelainen’s palms with a scorching effort from 25 yards on 72 minutes but United were otherwise wasteful in the final third. Crosses were overhit and passes misplaced time and time again, as the Old Trafford crowd grew growingly restless.
When Lindegaard produced a point-blank save to deny Carlton Cole an equaliser it rammed home the reality that West Ham were just one moment away from snatching a draw.