West Ham had the game’s first chance early on but Enner Valencia fired straight at David de Gea when through on goal, albeit from a tough angle. At the other end of the pitch, Darren Randolph saved Fellaini’s deflected effort. Jesse Lingard was then played in by Rashford but his low shot was too close to Randolph and saved.
United looked the better of the two sides and they got themselves in front through Rashford, who showed supreme technique to curl the ball into the top corner after receiving it from Anthony Martial. Fellaini then doubled United’s advantage when he turned in Martial’s deflected shot. A late goal from James Tomkins led to a nervy finish, particularly after Cheikhou Kouyate had a goal ruled out for offside, but United managed to close out the win.
The oft-maligned Belgian was selected by Louis van Gaal to add some physicality to his side at Upton Park and he did his reputation the world of good with a goal and a solid display.
Fellaini’s tacking gave United a good platform to build on in the middle of the park and he was unlucky not to score in the first half when his strike was saved well by Randolph. He made no mistake in the second as he was in the right place at the right time to force the ball in with his knee. A top performance from him.
Is Fosu-Mensah the real deal? There is something very old-school in how physical he is in the challenge and it is refreshing to see as United haven’t been aggressive enough this season.
The young Dutchman was trusted with the responsibility of handling West Ham’s Dimitri Payet and Fosu-Mensah kept the in-form forward in check with some excellent tackling. There were times when a lapse in concentration meant he lost his man but gaining experience should eradicate the problem. In any case, Fosu-Mensah is establishing himself as a key part of this United defence.
Wayne Rooney is breathing down Rashford’s neck having recently returned from injury and the 18-year-old responded with an assured performance against West Ham capped by a superbly taken goal.
Rashford, picking up a loose ball from Martial, took three touches before curling the ball into the top corner, seemingly from nothing. The youngster has now scored six times in 11 games since his debut while no other United player has more than three. The fairytale lives on for Rashford and long may it continue.
Van Gaal relieves the pressure…for now
Van Gaal, who was under huge pressure heading into the match, has always seemed to get a result when he has needed it most and he pulled it off again on Wednesday night.
United are going to Wembley and they will hold very high hopes of winning the Cup outright. It would be remarkable to see United end up with silverware given their torrid form but there is a long way to go yet.