Manchester United kicked off the 2017/18 Premier League season in style after two Old Trafford debut goals from Romelu Lukaku helped earn the Reds an impressive 4-0 win over West Ham United.
Lukaku, making his Premier League debut for the Reds alongside the impressive Nemanja Matic, latched onto a first-half Marcus Rashford pass to fire a bullet, via the post, past Joe Hart before beating Hart again early in the second half, this time with his head, following a Henrikh Mkhitaryan free-kick. Substitute Anthony Martial made it three late on before Paul Pogba added the icing on the cake with a fizzing effort which found the far corner.
Inside a raucous Old Trafford, the Reds started on the front foot as sustained pressure on the Hammers goal led to Hart saving from Juan Mata at his near post, before the Spaniard’s pull back after an inch-perfect Pogba pass, was cleared as Lukaku waited to tap home.
The goal the Reds craved and deserved came on 33 minutes as Matic won the ball high up the field. He fed Rashford who slipped a delightful ball through to Lukaku and the Belgian did the rest, firing in off the near post.
West Ham had a glorious chance to go into the break level after the ball fell to Edmilson Fernandes in the Reds’ box, but his effort was palmed away by David De Gea, meaning United led at the break.
The Reds had a chance to double their lead five minutes into the second half, as Pogba fed Rashford, but he sliced his effort wide of Hart’s far post from a tight angle.
United did double their lead moments later as a Mkhitaryan free-kick from the left found that man again, Lukaku, who headed neatly into the far corner. Mkhitaryan had a goal disallowed for offside, before Marko Arnautovic’s looping header at the other end rebounded off the crossbar.
It was becoming an attacking onslaught as Rashford clattered the post with a rasping effort before Daley Blind’s volley found the roof of the net. Substitute Martial added a deserved third late on, slotting past Hart having been played clean through by Mkhitaryan, before Pogba wrapped up a fine United display with a low drilled effort which is performance deserved.
United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Bailly, Jones, Blind; Matic, Pogba; Mata (Fellaini 75), Mkhitaryan (Lingard 88), Rashford (Martial 79); Lukaku.
Subs not used: S. Romero, Darmian, Smalling, Herrera.
Booked: Bailly, Valencia.
West Ham: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku (Cresswell 81), Noble (c) (Rice 60), Obiang, Fernandes (Sakho 60), Arnautovic, Ayew, Chicharito.
Subs not used: Adrian, Byram, Fonte, Collins.
Booked: Zabaleta, Ogbonna.
ROM AT THE DOUBLE
Lukaku will grab the headlines after two superbly taken Old Trafford debut goals. The big Belgian latched onto Rashford’s pass to fire a bullet past Hart and send the Old Trafford faithful into jubilation before heading neatly past Hart early in the second half. That was his 10th and 11th goals in just 10 games against the Hammers. The Reds fans will hope goalscoring records like that will continue in a United shirt.
JONES NULLIFIES RETURNING RED CHICHARITO
Right from the off, Jones was obviously tasked with man-marking the former Red, Chicharito, who scored 37 goals in 103 Premier League games for the Reds. But the former fans’ favourite was not given a sniff of the ball largely thanks to Jones who displayed his all-action style throughout, making some crucial sliding tackles, whilst complementing that with an assured, professional display in the heart of the Reds’ defence.
MATIC IMPRESSIVE ON DEBUT
The Serbian was excellent on his Old Trafford debut, constantly winning the ball in midfield and setting the Reds away on attacking flourishes. In fact, the rangy midfielder played a pivotal role in the Reds’ opener as he won the ball off Angelo Ogbonna before setting Rashford away, who went on to lay the ball off for Lukaku to score. Matic also showed the fans another side of his game as he cutely skipped past three West Ham players down the right side, before a cheeky ‘scoop pass’ brought a huge cheer from the Old Trafford faithful.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR UNITED?
Next up is a trip to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea on Saturday (12:30 BST kick off). Historically, United have a good record against the Welsh outfit, winning seven, drawing two and losing three of the previous 12 meetings in the six seasons the sides have faced each other following Swansea’s promotion. Reds boss Jose Mourinho will be reunited with his former understudy, Paul Clement, as United look to build on such an encouraging start to the new Premier League season.