Manchester United 1 West Ham 0
Marcus Rashford's powerful first-half header - his 100th goal for Manchester United - earned the Reds a vital 1-0 win against West Ham United at Old Trafford.
The forward arrived at the back post to hammer home Christian Eriksen's delightful cross and give Erik ten Hag's side a deserved lead going in at the break.
West Ham responded well in the second period, and had chances through Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Declan Rice, but United's defence - and a some remarkable saves from David De Gea - ensured the Reds took all three points from the match and moved up to fifth in the Premier League table.
The win also caps off an impressive October for Ten Hag's side, both domestically and in Europe, with Thursday's important Europa League trip to Real Sociedad beckoning.
FIRST HALF – RASHFORD HITS CENTURY
The opening stages of the fixture saw both sides have half-chances, with Said Benrahma’s effort blocked by Lisandro Martinez before Rashford miskicked Diogo Dalot’s low cross wide of the goal.
Just minutes later, Eriksen unleashed Anthony Elanga with a pinpoint long pass, but the winger dragged his effort wide, under pressure from Kurt Zouma.
Rashford – entering this fixture on 99 United goals – again went close, first seeing an effort deflected over the crossbar by Thilo Kehrer, before Lukasz Fabianski got down well to thwart our no.10’s header.
Despite the Reds controlling the majority of possession in the early exchanges, West Ham grew in confidence as the first half progressed, with Benrahma, in particular, looking threatening on the break.
Bowen, who was a fitness doubt before this one, had the visitors’ first big chance of the match, when being found inside the box by Thilo Kehrer after the right-back skipped past two United defenders, but De Gea reacted well to repel the attacker’s effort. The linesman flagged for offside against Bowen, but this was an early warning sign for the Reds.
Ten Hag’s side responded to West Ham’s increased confidence, and a series of crosses from Luke Shaw caused problems for their defence, culminating in a chance for Elanga at the back post which the winger snatched at.
Just when the match was crying out for a piece of quality, and with half-time approaching, Eriksen and Rashford combined to provide it. The former crossed superbly from the right for the latter, and Marcus made no mistake to power home his header, hitting the illustrious landmark of 100 goals for United.
SECOND HALF - SEEING OUT THE WIN
The visitors looked to get level immediately after the restart, with Gianluca Scamacca firing powerfully goalwards, only for Martinez to valiantly throw himself in front of the striker’s effort.
Rashford appeared buoyed by his goal after the break, with the winger cutting inside and fizzing a wicked effort which screamed narrowly wide of the West Ham goal.
On the hour mark, United looked to respond to further pressure from the Hammers through Ronaldo, but the striker headed over from a cross before slicing a left-footed effort wide.
Following the second-half introduction of Antonio, the visitors looked to deliver dangerous crosses into the box to make use of the forward’s presence. However, on a number of occasions, Diogo Dalot was in the right place at the right time to head clear and ease the pressure on United’s defence.
As the game entered the closing stages, Martinez came to the rescue at the back post, getting in front to deny Craig Dawson when Rice’s dangerous free-kick looked certain to find the West Ham defender in a goalscoring position.
The visitors’ pressure continued, and De Gea produced a sublime save to turn Kurt Zouma’s header round the post, just moments after diverting Antonio’s fierce strike over the bar.
Despite West Ham’s probing, it was United who came closest to the next goal, when substitutes Scott McTominay and Fred combined, with the Brazilian’s header rebounding agonisingly back off the post.
The Hammers threw everything at United in the dying moments, with Bowen’s effort cleared by Dalot inside the box, before De Gea produced yet another stunning moment to spring to his left and save Rice’s fierce drive, preserving the points for the Reds.
United: De Gea; Dalot, Maguire (c), Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Eriksen (Fred 79); Elanga (McTominay 60), Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Bishop, Dubravka, Malacia, van de Beek, Garnacho, Pellistri, Sancho.
Goal: Rashford 38.
West Ham: Fabianski (Areola 46); Kehrer, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell; Rice (c), Soucek; Bowen, Downes (Fornals 77), Benrahma; Scamacca (Antonio 57)
Subs not used: Johnson, Coufal, Lanzini, Ogbana, Coventry, Emerson.
Booked: Scamacca, Soucek, Kehrer.