to Michael Carrick, who looked perfectly at home at the heart of a makeshift defence, while Juan Mata pulled the strings with some sublime touches.
Sub-plot With a few personnel and positional changes made from the side that carved out last Wednesday's stirring win over Olympiacos, could this version of United knit together? Carrick teamed up with Phil Jones in a central defensive pairing tasked with dealing with Andy Carroll and they looked steady from the outset. David Moyes now looks to have a few options to mull over for City's visit this week. What a moment this would be to take that impressive away form – nine wins on the road in the league – and turn it into the consistency the manager has craved all season.
The opposition The Hammers had a strong, solid look about them, but it was not suited to chasing the game, something they had to do from the eighth minute onwards. Carroll was a threat but was comfortably shackled.
Move of the match Shinji Kagawa and Mata combined nicely just before half-time before the Spaniard pulled the ball back to Rooney, lurking outside the box. Having pulled the trigger to go for his hat-trick, he badly skewed the ball off towards the corner flag to end a move that deserved much better. Rooney smiled wryly, after all, he'd already bagged one spectacular goal.
In the stands "We're gonna win the league," sang the travelling United fans after Wayne Rooney made it 2-0, tongues firmly in cheeks. The Reds in the away end at Upton Park were treated to another commanding away display and, buoyed by Wednesday's win in Europe, they roared the Reds on to a vital domestic win.