W'Ham 0-0 Man Utd: Jose's men end second spot race in London

EPL By: Ambrose Udeme | 10/05/2018

Manchester United secured second place in the 2017/18 Premier League season with a 0-0 draw against West Ham United at the Olympic stadium on Thursday.

Manchester United ended the opening period with five shots on target - their joint-most in the first half of a Premier League match this season (also v Watford in November) but could not find their way past Adrian who made three excellent saves to keep the score at 0-0 at half-time.

United had better chances after the break but Adrian on the night replicated performances shown by his opposite number David de Gea over the course of the season to earn his side a valuable point against the team from Manchester.

SETTING THE SCENE

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho opted to field three central defenders for this fixture as he made eight changes to the starting XI on duty at Brighton & Hove Albion, with plenty of forward-thinking options on the bench, including Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Phil Jones returned from injury to play alongside Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling, while Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia were recalled to operate out wide.

Scott McTominay got the nod to patrol the midfield with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera, while Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez provided the attacking thrust.

The Hammers managed by Man United boss David Moyes named ex-United favourite Patrice Evra among the substitutes while parading an unchanged side.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Scott McTominay sparked the Reds' best spell of the first half, after Ander Herrera robbed Manuel Lanzini in a dangerous position when he flashed a drive just wide. Good work by Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez led to Jesse Lingard forcing a flying save out of Adrian, and the home keeper was beginning to earn his pay.

Valencia capitalised on some slack defending to tee up Alexis and, when Adrian kept the Chilean's effort out, Shaw followed up to drill the rebound against a post. Replays showed Adrian got a slight touch to frustrate the defender who, like McTominay, is still to get off the mark for the Reds.

Shaw was clearly fancying his luck, looping another attempt into Adrian's arms after De Gea allowed a long-ranger by Cresswell to skip wide at the other end. Arnautovic continued to look a threat and drifted past Smalling to find Joao Mario at the near post but the ball bounced off target to United's relief.

In first-half stoppage time, Lingard unleashed a swerving drive that was pushed away by the busy Adrian, who was proving far more effective than in the recent match here against Manchester City. After the break, Alexis reached a Pogba backheel and accelerated past Adrian but his ball towards an unguarded net was headed away by Angelo Ogbonna.

Adrian made another save when Lingard's effort from distance was too close to him and, after Jones made an important clearance when Arnautovic was being a nuisance again, Pogba had a few attempts. The Frenchman headed wide after neat wing-play by Valencia, thrashed an audacious 40-yarder off target and was unlucky with a bending drive, following tenacious play by Alexis.

As the game drew to a close, West Ham mustered sporadic breaks but Arnautovic sliced a volleyed attempt and Jones made an important header to stop the ball reaching substitute Andy Carroll. Completely out of keeping with the general mood, there was an untidy melee towards the end which resulted in Pogba and Noble being booked. The West Ham skipper was extremely fortunate not to be dismissed for raising his hands before Carroll also became involved in the fracas.
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