WEST HAM 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED

Man Utd superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores second goal against West Ham

PREMIER LEAGUE: WEST HAM UNITED 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United win 1st match in 2017 to go within a point of 4th place on EPL Table

Jose Mourniho's Manchester United side got off to a winning start in the New Year as the Red Devils defeated 10 man West Ham 2-0 away at London Stadium to go within one point of fourth place with second half goals from sub Juan Mata assisted by teenager Marcus Rashford, and superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Monday evening. Ibra has already scored more goals in all competitions than Manchester United's top goal scorer last season (Martial, 17). Amazing Man Utd goalie David de Gea gets credit for another clean sheet in his 250th appearance for the club. In Round 20 to date, Chelsea remain in first with 49 points; Liverpool are in second with 44 points, Manchester City are in third with 42 points, Arsenal are in fourth with 41 points, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are tied in fifth with 39 points apiece. Everton is in seventh with 30 points, West Brom is in eighth with 29 points, AFC Bournemouth is in ninth with 25 points, Southampton is in tenth with 24 points.

Match Report

Juan Mata 63

Zlatan Ibrahimovic 78

Squads

Man United manager Jose Mourinho made five changes to his side from their last match with Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Carrick and Lingard coming in for Smalling, Fellaini, Martial, Bailly and Blind.West Ham manager Bilic brought in Obiang, Lanzini and Feghouli for Noble, Ayew and Carroll.

West Ham United

Randolph, Obiang, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Nordtveit, Antonio, Feghouli, Payet, Lanzini. Subs: Carroll, Adrian, Noble, Ayew, Fletcher, Fernandes, Quina.

Manchester United

De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Ander Herrera, Carrick, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic, Lingard. Subs: Mata, Martial, Smalling, Young, Rashford, Romero, Fellaini.

Referee: Mike Dean

Manchester United is enjoying a run of six Premier League victories with their 2-0 defeat of the Hammers. Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in East London to take Man United to within a point of fourth place. The controversial sending off of West Ham’s Sofiane Feghouli at 15 minutes after what looked like a hard but fair challenge resulted in a straight red card given by referee Mike Dean in front of a crowd of 57,000.

United manager José Mourinho admitted that the turning point of the match was the controversial call by referee Dean to send off Feghouli after a hefty challenge with Phil Jones that saw both men fight for a loose ball. Half-time arrived accompanied by a chorus of boos directed at Dean. Feghouli will now miss the Hammers' FA Cup third-round home tie against Manchester City on Friday. West Ham supporters showed their anger at the ref by chanting 'Mike Dean - it's all about you'. Dean has shown 14 red cards in the EPL since the start of last season - at least six more than any other referee.

The match was scoreless at half‑time when Mourinho brought on Juan Mata, and then Marcus Rashford who combined to score the opening goal of the match. Mata has been involved in 40 Premier League goals (25 goals, 15 assists) since his Man United debut. Only Wayne Rooney with 46 Premier League goals (29 goals, 17 assists) has a better record in that time.

United are steadily improving match by match hot on the heels of the other top four contenders and gaining momentum with every win including their victory against West Ham only 48 hours after their previous win against Middlesbrough.

After the game, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was still angry with Dean but proud of his men.

"I was pleased with the performance, we fought hard and gave everything. I told my players that if we did this we will be all right in the table. Ten men against a team like this is very hard - but we had chances. I am disappointed with the result and frustrated by how we lost it, but I am proud of my players."

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is enjoying his longest winning run in all competitions (seven) since January 2014 when in charge of Chelsea.

"It was hard for us to think well with one more man - and it was very hard for them physically. I was happy with my choices in Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford, they gave us what we needed. Rashford is very professional and very mature. He is a Manchester United player with Manchester United DNA. I don't feel sorry for West Ham - I didn't watch the decisions. I think if you talk about decisions, we are the champions of bad decisions."

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Man Utd superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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Juan Mata scores opening goal against West Ham for Man United

Juan Mata celebrates scoring opening goal against West Ham for Manchester United

Man Utd No. 1 goalkeeper David de Gea gets credit for another clean sheet

Jose Mourniho's Man United side defeated West Ham 2-0

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist

 

Luis Suarez 2013 2

Luis Suarez, FC Liverpool

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist - Men

Gareth Bale, Michael Carrick, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Luis Suárez and Robin van Persie

PFA Young Player of the Year Award Shortlist

Gareth Bale, Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere

PFA Women's Player of the Year Award Shortlist

Gemma Davison, Toni Duggan, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs, Jodie Taylor

 Suarez has been honored by the PFA to selection on the Player of the Year Award shortlist through acknowledgement by his peers

There are some eyebrows raised by the selection of Suarez - not due to his goal scoring skills, but because of his conduct on the pitch in the past.

Suárez has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. However, previously his reputation was damaged by an eight-match ban he received for racially abusing Patrice Evra at Anfield last season. And his handball denied Ghana an appearance in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals. In the past Suarez has been accused of diving.

If Suárez wins the award on April 28, it may put the PFA in an uncomfortable position given his background.

Suárez's rivals for the award are Gareth Bale, who has also been nominated in the Young Player category, Robin van Persie, who won it last season before leaving Arsenal for Manchester United, Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), and Juan Mata (Chelsea).

Surprisingly there are no defenders or goalkeepers on the list;  no nominations from holders Manchester City; and star Swansea forward Michu is missing from the list. Welbeck, Wilshere and Carrick are the only English players out of the 12 men nominated. For the first time, there will be a Women's Player of the Year prize too, with Scotland's Kim Little among those nominated.

PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, yesterday defended the inclusion of Luis Suárez on the six-man shortlist. The footballers are shortlisted on the basis of votes cast by their fellow professionals.

Taylor thinks the Uruguayan's match performances, including 29 goals for Liverpool this campaign, make him worthy of inclusion.

"Sometimes controversy travels with players," said Taylor. "Sometimes it is in their very nature. Sometimes it is that very intensity that causes a problem also makes sure they win.

"Luis Suárez is helping to restore Liverpool. It is a credit to them that he seems comfortable there and no one could deny he is one of the finest players in the world."

"It is very difficult at times," said Taylor. "Players are expected to be top role models and set the finest example. That goes with the trade these days.

"I don't underestimate the need for them to do all they can to be seen as a good example. But they are also human beings. It is not always possible to put old heads on relatively young shoulders.

"This is a footballing award and Suárez's footballing ability shines through. It would be naive to think controversy won't continue to travel with him. But I think his football has maintained his place."

Suárez's manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, thinks Suarez deserves the award.

"It is great for Luis and a mark of the team. I'm sure he will be the first to recognize the great support he has from the players around him. He has been absolutely outstanding this season. You can only judge these things on football and I am sure he is one of the favorites to win it."

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