- Pogba converts two penalties
- Anderson scores for WHUFC
- United fifth with 64 points
Paul Pogba converted a pair of penalties as Manchester United doubled up West Ham United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Felipe Anderson scored West Ham’s goal, as the Irons remain 11th.
United is now fifth, two points back of Chelsea and three behind Spurs.
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The Irons had an early goal pulled back for an infraction, and Manchester United soon helped move a wide-open game forward.
Juan Mata won a penalty atop the 18 when his attempted first touch of an Anthony Martial lay-off was clattered into by Robert Snodgrass. Pogba didn’t need a tip-toe run-up here, blasting a shot past Lukasz Fabianski.
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But wait. West Ham went level in the 49th minute through Anderson, who was on the business end of an awful distribution move from David De Gea.
The keeper collected a low drive from Pablo Zabaleta a few minutes later.
Marcus Rashford subbed into the game and was lively but lacking the finishing touch, forcing into nodding over the goal by a leaping Zabaleta challenge.
Moments after David De Gea made a stunning one-handed stop, Ryan Fredericks chopped down Martial in the box. Pogba laid into his effoert for 2-1.
Manchester United used all three of its substitutes in the first 42 minutes of Sunday’s battle with Liverpool at Old Trafford.
The first to leave the match was Ander Herrera, replaced by Ander Herrera in the 21st minute.
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Four minutes later, Jesse Lingard entered the match for an injured Juan Mata.
Not fully fit himself, Lingard was felled in the 42nd. That brought Alexis Sanchez into the match.
We can neither confirm nor deny that the fourth referee has asked Jurgen Klopp to make all of Liverpool’s subs at halftime so he can sit in the stands with the fans.
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is among the crowd of Paul Pogba fans following Monday’s FA Cup takedown of Chelsea.
Mata lavished praise on the “complete” midfielder after United rode two first half goals to a 2-0 win.
[ POGBA: Solskjaer trusts us ]
Pogba assisted Ander Herrera‘s opener with a pinpoint cross before planting a diving header in the back of the net despite Kepa Arrizabalaga‘s touch on the shot.
From The London Evening Standard:
“Even in the second half, 80, 85 minutes he was still defending, going forwards. He’s very, very complete,” Mata said. “He’s got physique, he’s got quality, he’s got a pass, he can go box to box. He’s one of the best. Today he showed why.”
Pogba has 14 goals and 10 assists in 32 matches for United this season, though the lion’s share have come since the removal of Jose Mourinho as coach.
Mata will know a thing or two about rebounding post-Mourinho, and probably cannot help but be proud of Pogba.
Is Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho making a point without star midfielder Paul Pogba?
United won 4-1 over Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday, building a 3-0 first half lead through Juan Mata, Ashley Young, and Romelu Lukaku goals.
[ RECAP: Man Utd 4-1 Fulham ]
Mourinho’s quotes on team attitude for a second-straight match will be read with a critical eye given Pogba’s status as an unused sub, a few days after being used off the bench.
“The players have shown they can be a better team than they are. When there is solidarity in the team, everyone giving their maximum, you attract more positive things.”
Mata, who scored his 50th Premier League goal, was glowing after the Red Devils’ performance.
“It was the start that we needed. We know that we have to start better because it is not right to always be chasing the game. We need these performances more often. The fans today enjoyed it: That is the Manchester United that we want to see.”
United is off to Valencia at midweek but has already qualified for the Champions League knockout rounds and seems likely to focus its attention on Sunday’s visit to Liverpool.
- Man Utd 10W-1D in last 11 vs. Palace
- Palace’s last win at Old Trafford came in 2011 League Cup
- Man Utd leads all-time 36W-10D-7L
Will Manchester United’s young players respond to the latest hail of public criticism from boss Jose Mourinho when the Red Devils host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, online via NBCSports.com)?
The United manager used part of his prematch press conference to question the character of and rip into the “spoilt” nature of young players like Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford.
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United lost its last match before the break, a two-goal defeat in the Manchester Derby no less, and will be itching to get back in the win column after slipping seven points back of the Top Four.
Palace has earned just one point from the last 18 available, though plenty of that is aided by a fixture list which sees United at the end of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs.
What they’re saying
Manchester United’s Juan Mata on Palace: “When they play away also because they defend quite compact and they go for the counter-attack, so we need to be ready for that and we need to know what we’re going to face. We need to try to score, try to win and try to enjoy it. Obviously, we’re always respecting the opponent, and Crystal Palace deserves that respect.”
Crystal Palace’s Roy Hodgson on Wilfried Zaha: “I think that his attitude to each and every game, be it a home game here at Selhurst Park against a team lower in the league or whether it’s a top match against the Manchester Uniteds, Cities and Liverpools is that he goes out each time to give a performance, to go and do what he knows he’s good at doing. We try to profit from that as best we can by getting the ball to him and hoping he can weave that magic which he’s capable of and win us the matches. I believe in his abilities.”
Who knows what Mourinho is doing with his comments, but United is facing a wounded Palace? The Eagles would be forgiven for looking ahead to Burnley and Brighton, but might Zaha have enough magic to get them a result at Old Trafford? We’ll hand a 3-1 to United.