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West Ham proved to be no match for Manchester United on the first Super Sunday of the season as the Red Devils breezed past Slaven Bilic’s side with a 4-0 victory.
The man of the moment Romelu Lukaku lived up to the billing, as he opened his account of the season with a fine brace- a goal apiece in each half.
Anthony Martial come from the bench to score what seemed to wrap up the victory with three minutes left on the clock, but Paul Pogba put the cherry on the cake with a scintillating strike in added time.
The emphatic win took Jose Mourinho’s charges to top on the log by goal difference; with vital lessons to learn from the encounter.
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The result against West Ham was a shot in the arm for United after a loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup Final.
The Hammers appeared lukewarm and inept, in stark contrast to United who played with intensity, flair and panache- a rarity at Old Trafford in the post Sir Alex Ferguson era.
United not only registered the biggest win on the opening day since 2006 (a 5-1 decimation of Fulham) but the Red Devils won against a side they could easily have drawn last season. The set up and formation also allowed Pogba to roam freely and cut from the left, a position in which he exceeded and excelled in.
Old Trafford- which has over the last four years been abdicated to a pale shadow of its former self- may very well be on fine course to restoration as a fortress.
The secret ingredient to Manchester United’s trailblazing performance on the opening weekend of the season surprisingly lay in the hands of two debutants; Lukaku and Nemanja Matic.
It was a master stroke by Mourinho when he brought on board two players he not only worked with, but are also adept in knowledge and experience of the English game. Lukaku reaped all the glory for scoring the goals but Matic was without question the unsung hero in the encounter.
Whether it was covering, tracking back or chasing the second ball- the Serbian did it all. More frightening however is the fact that the 29-year old has yet to regain full fitness having been maligned by Chelsea for most of pre-season.
Talks of emulating ‘the Invincibles’ of Arsenal (a bit farfetched) have been propagated by pundits aplenty, which goes to show United simply cannot be ignored this season.
With David De Gea settled, defensive concerns addressed, a midfield powerhouse and a plethora of attacking options, Manchester United are capable of mounting a serious title challenge not just in the Premier League, but in Europe as well.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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