Talking Points

Hammers And Red Devils Unable To Break Deadlock And Four Other Main Talking Points From Premier League Draw

David Moyes’ West Ham United played out a drab goalless Premier League draw with Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at the London Stadium on Thursday evening, with neither side able to break the deadlock over the course of 90 relatively even minutes, here are Five Main Talking Points from the stalemate.

Irons And Red Devils Spurn Fair Share Of Chances To Draw

While chances were fairly limited in Stratford yesterday evening, there can be little doubting the fact that both teams still had opportunities throughout and had they taken them, things could have been very different indeed, in terms of the scoreline.

The best of them were created by the Red Devils, who managed to register six shots on target to the Irons’ two, one of their most notable came in the opening stages when youngster Scott McTominay picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area and curled just wide.

However, when Mourinho’s men did manage to hit the target, they were kept out by a showstopping performance from home goalkeeper Adrian San-Miguel, which we will touch on later, most of the saves he had to make were from range as the visitors rarely ventured into the opposing penalty area.

The East Londoners’ best moments in front of goal, unsurprisingly, involved Hammer of the Year and Austria forward Marko Arnautovic, who found himself in a promising position in and around the box, time and time again.

However, mostly, he was let down by teammates and received very little support or service, forcing David De Gea into saving just once, a low seventh minute shot that the Spaniard comfortably held on to, despite the disappointment of not making the most of things in the final third, both sides seemed fairly satisfied with a draw.

Adrian Makes It Back-To-Back Clean Sheets With Stunning Showing

Spanish goalkeeper Adrian headed into the affair brimming with confidence, having kept a clean sheet in his permanent return to the starting Xl last weekend, in the safety-secured victory over Leicester City.

On that occasion, his comrade and England shot-stopper Joe Hart was out with illness and he returned to the substitutes’ bench this time, unable to displace Adrian in the team and it’s not hard to see why as the former Real Betis star was many’s pick for Man of the Match.

All of his saves of note arrived in the first half and there were four of them, to be more precise, the shot-stopper denying the likes of Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez and Luke Shaw for the visitors, having very little work to do after half-time.

Adrian first denied Lingard on 22 minutes, stretching to prevent his accurate shot from nestling in his left-hand top corner and then stood in his way once more, in first-half injury time when the Three Lions man unleashed a swerving shot, he got to it despite initially thinking the ball was going the other way to push it out of danger.

But, the double-save that got the Claret & Blue Army on their feet came around the 25-minute mark with the ‘keeper saving from Sanchez from close-range and Shaw following it up with a racy strike, his foot pushed the ball off post and out to rapturous applause, losing and gaining back his place in the team at various stages this season, the Spanish star really is the king of the comeback.

End-Of-Game Brawl Brings Feisty Conclusion To Timid London Stadium Clash

As the goalless draw petered out at the London Stadium and the Hammers and the Red Devils began to slow their tempos, tempers became frayed and tensions boiled over, culminating in a group scuffle between the two sets of players.

The brawl was sparked when home captain Mark Noble, who was excellent for the Irons for the second game in succession, was fouled one too many times for his liking in the centre of the field as he looked to set his team away on the counter-attack.

Frenchman Paul Pogba was the guilty part and on the receiving end of an enraged Noble’s angry reaction, the Englishman grabbing and twisting his face with his hands in an attempt to harm the club-record signing while the referee’s back was turned.

Before long, teammates of the two players started to intervene, including names such as Shaw and substitute Andy Carroll, who appeared to be having as much of an altercation in the midst of the ruck of bodies, the situation would take over a minute to fully calm down in the 87th.

When it finally did, referee Jon Moss issued a yellow card to both Pogba and Noble with the latter of those names fortunate to escape a red card, as was Aaron Cresswell in the first period for a dangerous challenge on McTominay, the Hammers were extremely lucky in that regard and could have ended the game with nine men.

Hammers Keep Top Half Hopes Alive While United Secure Second Place Finish

Let’s take a look at what this result meant for both ends of the Premier League table and these two teams’ outlooks heading into the final matchday of the season, on Sunday afternoon.

A point was enough to move the safe East Londoners to within just one of the 40-point mark and Brighton, the last team to defeat Mam United, directly above them, as they are now unbeaten in two matches, avoiding defeat to the Red Devils for the first time in over two years.

The result also means that their final day hopes of finishing in the top half and making their campaign look like a successful one on paper, are still very much alive are achievable when welcoming their manager Moyes’ former club Everton to East London in two days’ time.

Meanwhile, United managed to secure second spot behind their city rivals Manchester City, improving on their position last season by a full four places and have the opportunity to collect over 80 points in the process, their highest points tally since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

They can do this when they play host to Watford at Old Trafford at the same time as the Hammers’ final match and while they will want to end the term on a high, they will have next weekend’s FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium at the back of their minds.

What Did The Managers Have To Say?

Let’s take a look at what the two managers Moyes and Mourinho, had to say about the even contest in their respective post-match press conferences at London Stadium, which West Ham Matters had the privilege of attending.

David Moyes:

“I thought the players showed a great attitude because sometimes when you get safe, maybe you can sometimes slip away from it, but I thought the players were at it all night.

“They put in a good performance and got us a good pound and I thought a thoroughly deserved point, as well.

“I was looking at the team in my position and I thought if I got another point, then it might move me up the league, if I got three, it certainly would.

“So, if we could get three, great, if we couldn’t, then we were going to have to try and take a point, but I’m more pleased that we didn’t concede a goal because it’s probably the thing that we haven’t done as well this season.”

Jose Mourinho:

“Any team that goes to this kind of match where you need something to get some objective, you fight for that.

“The best way to fight for the point was to try to win the match and be safe, which is what we tried.

“But, when the game goes to minute 70/75, you don’t win, you don’t lose, you do the job, you get the pint, you finish second.

“And, you can face the game on Sunday with a different perspective, so I think the game was quite good, we kept control of the game and later when David goes to Carroll and Marko, we adapt well to that.”

So, now that everything there was to talk about from one of the more productive nights in Stratford for the Irons has been well and truly covered, will there be yet more positive points to draw on come Sunday evening? After Sam Allardyce’s Toffees have paid London Stadium a visit on the final day of the Premier League season? Join us once again then to find out.

If you want to read more about David Moyes’ West Ham United’s Premier League draw with Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United on Thursday night at London Stadium, you can, check out the archives of our Matchday Live Blog, which we brought live to you from the Press Box of the former Olympic Stadium, our Match Report and our Hammers Player Ratings, simply click on the links.