Wayne Rooney turned out to be United’s savior, as both he and Chicharito helped the Red Devils to complete an incredible comeback against West Ham to seal an important win after being led 2-0 at half time by the Hammers, with Rooney netting a hat-trick, while Chicharito added another to give United some breathing space near the end of the game, and claim a 2-4 win away from home.
United started rather well as both Vidic and Smalling threatened from corners early on, but were caught napping on the Hammers counter attack which followed, as Carlton Cole got clear from a long cross, and Evra, in an attempt to get back to defend, handled the ball, leading to a penalty. Noble stepped up and perfectly sent Kuszczak the wrong way to open the score on the 10th minute. United tried to respond, with a helpless Sir Alex watching from the stands, but failed to find breaches in the West Ham defense. Instead, they fell behind to another goal, as West Ham countered again, and this time Vidic tripped Cole, although it looked on the edge of the box, the ref pointed to the penalty spot. Noble again stepped up and despite Kuszczak’s effort, smashed it in the top corner. Things were looking pretty bad for United, as Rooney was a shadow of himself being left the lone striker, while the defense looked like exploding at any moment. Half-time 2-0.
The second half saw Chicharito coming on for Evra, and soon after he was followed by Berbatov replacing for Park as United looked to get back in the game. We had to wait until the 65th minute to see United’s revival, as Carrick won a free kick 20 yards from goal, and Rooney stepped up to send the ball curling past the wall and the keeper to bring the deficit down to 1 goal. West Ham took a big blow from it, as United looked more menacing. Rooney eventually found his way to goal again on the 73rd minute, as he picked Valencia’s pass from outside the box, went in a few meters, and unleashed an unstoppable shot across goal for the equalizer. It was Fabio’s turn soon afterwards to give the West Ham defense a run, as he skillfully took the ball into the box, only to see his cross hit Upson’s arm, resulting in a penalty, but for United this time. Rooney was gifted a chance to complete his hat-trick, and did not disappoint as he calmly wrong footed Green to give United a first-time lead. Still about 12 minutes left though and United had to secure the match to avoid any surprises. But the inevitable Chicharito was present thou to finish the job on the 84th minute, as Giggs sent a strong cross across the box, and two West Ham defenders missed the ball, only for Chicharito to slot it home and seal the win.
United held on finally for a 4-2 win, but must have been really scared when they were 2 goals down at half time, as West Ham were defending really well indeed, and their counters were deadly, but the introduction of Chicarito and Berbatov changed the course of the game, and Rooney also found his regular spot of being a “free electron” as he was at one point on the wing, next defending, then in midfield behind the 2 strikers. I think Sir Alex needs to review his team formation and tactics, and play Chicharito and Berbatov upfront, with Rooney just behind the two, and Valencia and Nani as wingers with the midfield either patrolled by Carrick or Fletcher, turning it more like a 4-3-1-2 formation. Opinions most welcome on this topic. Next stop will now be against Chelsea for the CL clash in midweek, and Ferdinand could make his return for that game, but United will need to be more focused, as they have already lost one battle there in the league, and could do same in the coming days.