Changes were made to the starting XI for the trip to Upton Park with Sir Alex opting for energy in the middle of the park with Kagawa, Rafael and Cleverley all playing in a narrow midfield anchored by Scholes.
A bright start to the game saw United retain possession for long spells and create openings through slick passing and movement.
Danny Welbeck in particular was playing as though he had a point to prove.
Having not started as often as he would have hoped since the signing of Van Persie; Welbeck wanted the ball at every possible opportunity and showed great flair, strength and speed throughout the first half.
In contrast, United were not at the races in the second half. Those who made an impact in the first 45 minutes were kept quiet – and the only real chances which were made came very late on.
Van Persie once again proved the difference; one chance, one goal – but credit must go to Ryan Giggs for that pass. I doubt you will see a better assist anywhere across Europe this season.
Despite conceding two headed goals I feel the United back line, and Vidic in particular played very well.
As expected, it was long ball after long ball which needed to be dealt with – and both of the West Ham goals were simply unstoppable from the point of view of De Gea, due to the quality of both cross from Cole and finish from Collins.
Buttner got a rare start and looked far better than he did in his Capital One cup display at Chelsea. Given time I think he will really challenge Evra for a place in the side.
My man of the match is going to the scorer of our opening goal, Tom Cleverley.
In the quest to find a replacement for Paul Scholes I think too many United fans are overlooking how good Cleverley actually is. We all knew his one and two touch football is as good as anybody – but this season he has influenced the tempo of the game a lot more, and added goals to his CV.
Cleverley was energetic, eager and stood his ground against a packed West Ham midfield. The best part is, this lad will only improve over the next few years.
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