Manchester United’s u21s travelled to London yesterday evening to face West Ham at Upton Park, coming away with a point after an uninspiring 90 minutes ended in a 0-0 draw.
United got off to a decent start with Adnan Januzaj having the first attempt on 3 minutes, but his volley from 20 yards was blocked by Potts. Moments later Fred Veseli saw an effort from 25 yards fly well wide of target.
Experienced on-loan striker Wellington Paulista had West Ham’s first real chance, when he tried to surprise Ben Amos with a half-volley from 35 yards out. A decent effort but he couldn’t get enough height on the strike that flew straight at Amos.
The opening 15 minutes of the game was generally poor with a lot of misplaced passes and neither side managing anything that looked like a big chance.
Two decent chances for West Ham
Out of nothing West Ham suddenly forged a great chance when Lletget was left completely alone 7-8 yards out, to the left of Amos’ goal – but rather than trying to find Paulista in front of goal, the midfielder shot into the sidenetting.
Then Paulista perhaps should have given West Ham the lead when he ran clear following a superb pass from Lletget, but the striker rolled the ball wide of the far post when he should have at least hit the target.
Finally a chance for United
It took almost 35 minutes for United to create something that resembled a chance, but then 2 came in the space of a minute. Veseli got the ball in a good position and set up Jesse Lingard who’s left foot effort from 20 yards rolled just wide of the post. Just a minute later Januzaj should have scored. Jeff Schlupp used his pace to rob Ruddock on the left hand side. He could have tried for goal himself but found Januzaj 14-15 yards out – the young Belgian had time to get the ball onto his left foot but leaning back blasted the ball over.
The next 10 minutes until half-time was every bit as boring as the majority of the previous 35 was – and when the referee blew his whistle, United hadn’t forced a single save from goakleeper Larkin. West Ham was marginally better – but no team deserved the lead after 45 minutes.
United had a lot of possession at the start of the second half, but most of the time the tempo of the passing was too poor. Januzaj had the first chance of the second half when his well struck shot from 25 yards was blocked by Ruddock with a superb diving tackle.
United finally had a shot on target on 55 minutes when a corner from Januzaj was flicked on at the near post, the flicked robbed the ball of any pace meaning McGinty couldn’t generate any power on his header from 10 yards out, leaving Larkin with an easy save to make.
United denied a penalty
United screamed for a penalty on 59 minutes. Schlupp robbed Ruddock out on the left again, and ran towards goal. With Ruddock in pursuit Schlupp went down, but the referee waved play on. There was contact but even after watching the replay it was hard to determine if it was a penalty.
Larkin was again tested when McGinty crossed to the far post and Lingard struck a sweet volley – but Larkin got down quickly and blocked the effort from 10 yards out.
With 71 minutes played United made their first substitution, introducing Tom Lawrence for Januzaj, who had a decent game without being too influential – but in fairness, no attacking player was in this game.
Schlupp was presented with a chance on 74 minutes when he tried to find Lingard in the box, the ball was sent straight back out to Schlupp by Potts, but he fired his shot high and wide. Very much the story of this game.
Lletget almost gave West Ham the lead seconds later. Turgott found Moncur on the right and his low cross almost reached Lletget at the near post, but Amos did really well to get to the ball first.
The last 10 minutes of the game saw nothing of interest happening and the match ended with a goalless draw.
Summary: United looked very solid defensively. Amos made no mistakes, McGinty and Vermijl were perhaps our best attacking weapons in the second half and the central partnership of Fornasier/Thorpe also did really well.
Offensively United were really poor and players like Cole and Lingard didn’t create much whilst the partnership of Ekangamene and Veseli provided little support going forward.
West Ham – Manchester United 0-0
Manchester United: (4-2-3-1): Ben Amos – Sean McGinty, Tom Thorpe, Michele Fornasier, Marnick Vermijl – Charni Ekangamene, Frederic Veseli- Adnan Januzaj (Lawrence 71), Jesse Lingard, Larnell Cole – Jeffery Schlupp
Bench: Johnny Sutherland, Tyler Blackett, Tom Lawrence, Reece James and Gyliano van Velzen
West Ham: (4-2-3-1): Jake Larkins, Jordan Spence, Amos Nasha (Kieran Bywater 78), Dan Potts, Frazer Shaw – Pelly Ruddock, George Moncur, Blair Turgott, Sebastian Lletget, Elliott Lee – Wellington Paulista (Paul McCallum 78)