Ten-man Manchester United rescued a point against West Ham United this evening after Daley Blind left it late to cancel out Cheikhou Kouyate’s second half strike.
Sloppy, disjointed and desperately out of ideas, United’s performance was far below the required level and they deserved nothing from the match. Blind’s goal came as a huge relief for Louis van Gaal, who lost Luke Shaw moments from the final whistle after he received a second yellow card.
The home side made their intentions clear from the first whistle and harried United when they got on the ball. Alex Song cynically brought down Adnan Januzaj early on but referee Mark Clattenburg refused to give the midfielder a yellow card.
Some sloppiness from the Hammers led to a half-chance for Robin van Persie, but the ball was nicked away from him before he could get it under control. At the other end, Enner Valencia looked to poke home following a West Ham corner but David de Gea was there to tip it over the bar.
It was a stop-start opening ten minutes from both teams, with neither side really enjoying a decent spell of possession. When West Ham did get the ball they looked for Song, who was at the hub of everything for his side.
The Red Devils eventually got on the ball more but it was West Ham who had the better chances and James Tomkins missed a great chance to put the hosts in front when he headed straight at De Gea following Aaron Cresswell’s free kick. West Ham had clearly worked on their set-pieces prior to the game and United did not help themselves with some haphazard defending.
Going forward, there was a lack movement up front and limited creativity in midfield. Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie failed to stretch the West Ham defence and looked increasingly isolated up top. A midfield quartet of Di Maria, Adnan Januzaj, Daley Blind and Wayne Rooney were too slow and offered little penetration.
United’s situation went from bad to worse just five minutes after the restart after Kouyate put West Ham in front. The goal came from another set piece and it was a good finish from the make-shift centre-back, who swivelled past Phil Jones and volleyed home from inside the box.
The goal sprung United into action and West Ham were forced to weather a five or ten minute storm from the visitors as they looked for an equaliser. Van Persie found himself in space on the edge of the six yard box, but his shot was blocked well by Tomkins.
United had responded well to going a goal down but West Ham looked dangerous on the counter and Carl Jenkinson’s cross-come-shot drifted just wide of the far post after deceiving De Gea. Falcao had a great chance to get back in the match, but he could only fire wide after going through one-on-one with West Ham keeper Adrian.
It had looked like United would go home with nothing but Blind scored late on to spare their blushes. Shaw was sent off moments after the goal to compound things for United but they will take the point.