In my 30 something years of watching United, for the first time tonight, I watched the match from an executive box at the top of the 2nd tier of the United road/North/Sir Alex Ferguson stand. In the company of good, time served and now affluent reds who are old friends of mine, it was a real eye opening experience of how the other half live. A three course meal and as much beer, wine or cider to drink as was wanted, it was a pleasant but surreal contrast to the usual experience at Old Trafford. The view was birds eye, the simultaneous height and clarity of our position enhanced the observation significantly. Just in case anything was missed, we got instant action replays on the TV screen directly above our heads or the ability to switch over to SKY Sports News or even watch the Wigan v City match in tandem with the United match unfolding below us if we so wished (we didn’t). From here, it was more obvious watching Javier Henandez constantly flirting with being offside as well as Rafael’s thrilling but frightening playing style.
Within 33 seconds United were 1-0 up with a goal from Robin Van Persie, this goal is at the time of writing, the fastest goal to be scored in the Premier League this season. This goal both calmed any anxiety and also broke United’s very sloppy habit of conceding the first goal in consecutive matches. It was five games up to tonight. Tonights game was a match that United should’ve won with a more comfortable margin. West Ham played throughout the match like an away side in a European knockout tournament, content to keep the score down to 1-0. That said, Kevin Nolan had three good attempts on Uniteds goal, particularly in a heartstopping injury time when Chris Smalling cleared. United were also helped by West Ham fielding a centre forward that Liverpool paid £35,000,000 who couldn’t hit a cows arse with as banjo.
United really like to make hard work of games that should be easily won. Just under a month ago, United beat a good, occasionally brilliant Arsenal side 2-1. The score looked a lot closer than what the game actually was. That day, any other result than a United win would’ve been a travesty. Tonight was the same, for the first 80 minutes, West Ham played without any ambition, purpose or guile. Suddenly in the last ten minutes they’ve realised that they’re not getting annihilated and began bringing the game to United. If United would’ve drawn the game tonight, it would’ve been the most annoying and frustrating result since that dickhead linesman gave a penalty against Rio Ferdinand in the Newcastle match just over a year ago. That day, the linesman was to blame for United not winning the game, tonight if the same result had happened, United would only have themselves to blame. United have to tighten up and see off oponents as mediocre as West Ham with more assurance.
Many thanks to Chris and Bernadette Jamieson for the invite and their kind hosptality tonight in the executive box