West Ham 1-3 Man United
- Goals: Tomas Souček (£4.9m) | Paul Pogba (£7.7m), Mason Greenwood (£7.1m), Marcus Rashford (£9.5m)
- Assists: Declan Rice (£4.8m) | Bruno Fernandes (£10.9m), Alex Telles (£5.5m), Juan Mata (£5.9m)
- Bonus points: Pogba x3, Fernandes x2, Souček x1
SMASH AND GRAB
Bruno Fernandes (£10.9m) left his burgeoning ownership wondering what might have been as he transformed Manchester United in a 3-1 win at West Ham.
In a match which the phrase “game of two halves” was invented for, the Portuguese international was comfortably the man of the match despite only featuring for 45 minutes.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer rested Fernandes and Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) in Gameweek 11, citing recent bruises and knocks.
“With Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, they’ve been kicked between here and there lately. Bruno’s foot’s been sore since the Southampton game. Hopefully, I don’t have to use him tonight.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, speaking pre-match
The Manchester United boss was hoping he could get through the London Stadium encounter without drawing on them but his hand was forced when West Ham played his team off the park in the opening period.
“We struggled to keep up with the counter-attack and set plays. We gave the ball away too often.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer introduced Fernandes and Rashford in the place of Donny van Beek (£6.7m) and Edinson Cavani (£8.1m), the two players slotting into their preferred positions of number 10 and left-wing respectively – and they turned Manchester United into a completely different team.
Crucial to that transformation Fernandes playing a whopping eight key passes. That’s right, EIGHT in just 45 minutes – the most of any player in a Premier League game this season and enough to help him also achieve two bonus points.
If those around him had shown better finishing in the second half, or if Solskjaer had started the player, he could have realistically come away from the London Stadium with three or four assists and might have matched Gameweek 11 captaincy rival Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m).
The surprise benching may have ended Fernandes’ run of four consecutive away-day double-digit hauls but he remains an exceptional asset on the road and is, of course, still yet to blank outside of Old Trafford in 2020/21.
That said, Fantasy managers may want to keep an eye on his fixtures, considering Manchester United are at home in four of the next six. Fernandes may have averaged 11.4 points per away game this season but he has scored just 4.8 points per game at Old Trafford.
It is clear that the demanding schedule is starting to take its toll on Manchester United’s squad before the Christmas rush is even at its height.
We recently highlighted the hectic nature of their December fixtures, this month containing nine matches and no fewer than six two-day turnarounds.
So the fact that Cavani and Anthony Martial (£8.7m) both picked up knocks against West Ham is far from ideal for Solskjaer.
“Edinson had to come off with an injury. Hopefully, it’s not too bad. Anthony had to come off as well.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“We lost (Anthony) Martial and Edinson (Cavani). Hopefully not too bad, but they couldn’t carry on. It’s going to be a season where we have to do without players. I’m just glad that we’ve got the subs that we have. We’ll do some scans and hopefully, they’ll be available soon.”
Meanwhile, David de Gea (£5.4m) sat this one out as the injury sustained at Southampton in Gameweek 10 continues to plague the goalkeeper.
He was able to face PSG midweek but, Solskjaer was not willing to take any risks, handing a much-anticipated first Premier League start to Dean Henderson (£5.3m), who did an excellent job of keeping Manchester United only 1-0 down in the woeful first half.
“The injury against Southampton is something we don’t want to take a risk with. Obviously, he played against PSG, so hopefully, we can have him ready for Leipzig as well.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
HAMMERS COMING DOWN
West Ham’s defensive credentials continue to fall as they conceded for the fifth time in seven matches.
In many ways, the first half proved to be somewhat misleading concerning their recent problems in defence, the Hammers allowed complete control of the game by Manchester United’s woeful passing and approach play.
However, the game turned on its head once the Red Devils got going and West Ham were second-best from that point.
It continues a downward trend at the back for David Moyes’ men who were certainly fortunate not to concede more often in recent wins over Fulham and Aston Villa.
That was borne out in recent underlying statistics too. For example, they came into Gameweek 11 with a worse score for expected goals conceded (xGC) over the previous four matches than the Cottagers and, accordingly, let in more goals than the Cottagers on Saturday.
Crucially, popular Fantasy asset Patrick Bamford (£6.1m) and his Leeds colleagues face West Ham in Gameweek 12 before Chelsea’s in-form attackers host the Hammers in Gameweek 14.
West Ham United XI (3-4-2-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena; Masuaku, Souček, Rice, Coufal (Johnson 85′); Fornals (Benrahma 75′), Bowen (Lanzini 76′); Haller.
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): D Henderson; Telles, Maguire, Lindelöf, Wan-Bissaka; Pogba, McTominay; Martial (Mata 62′), van de Beek (B Fernandes 46′), Greenwood; Cavani (Rashford 46′).
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