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Manchester United horribly dented any hopes of qualifying for the Champions League on Tuesday night when they suffered an agonizing 3-2 defeat away to West Ham United. Louis van Gaal’s charges registered a slow start to the game despite the volatile nature of the match, so much that it didn’t come as a surprise when Diafra Sakho put the hosts ahead just ten minutes into the match.
Anthony Martial gave United a lifeline when he found the equalizer six minutes after the interval, and was at it again when he blasted the Red Devils in front with a near post finish with 18 minutes left on the clock. However as fate would have it, the last ever game at Boleyn Ground was never going to end in the visitors favor.
Having detected United’s vulnerability on set plays, the Hammers made the most of their free-kicks which in turn paid dividends with two successive headers by Michail Antonio and Winston Reid. With that, a befitting tribute was paid to what has been West Ham’s home for 112 years, all at the expense of Manchester United.
Here are two conclusions from United’s loss to West Ham.
West Ham fans were despicable
Manchester United may have made a habit of not beating the London traffic (after they also arrived late against Tottenham at the start of April), but that doesn’t in any way, shape or form suffice how they were received at Boleyn Ground. Upon arrival at the match day ground, the Manchester United coach ferrying the players and coaching staff was ravenously attacked by a section of West Ham fans.
A window on the United coach was left smashed following the unsavory incident, thereby delaying the match by a staggering 45 minutes; but that’s not the half of it. David De Gea was taunted and pelted with bottles all match long, not to mention the deluded West Ham supporter who invaded the pitch to confront the United number one during the match.
Although the incidences were heavily condemned by both The Football Association and West Ham Football Club, whether affirmative action will be taken against the offenders remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the sure fact is that the actions have painted a very grim picture of English football.
Champions League as good as gone
Had Manchester United won against West Ham last night, they would move to fourth in the League standings with a point ahead of Manchester City, but they didn’t. Instead, Louis van Gaal’s side are two points adrift Of City with only a match to the close of the 2015/16 Premier League season.
The gaffer couldn’t hide his disappointment and displeasure after the match, but who wouldn’t after that kind of performance?
On a match that needed firing on all cylinders on the attack and fine attention to detail at the back, the performance was in stark contrast of the expectation as United only managed a single shot on target during the first half while they also conceded two quick fire set-piece goals in the second half.
Given their failure to make the most of their chances, it’s hard seeing Manchester United making a last dash into the Champions League this late into the season.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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