Manchester United v West Ham: Five things we learned

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Manchester United picked up their second Premier League win on Saturday afternoon, with the Red Devils clinging on to gain all three points.

Wayne Rooney's neat strike gave United the lead and team-mate Robin Van Persie struck not long after. However, West Ham pulled a goal back through new recruit Diafra Sakho and after a red card for captain Wayne Rooney, United were definitely clinging on for the final 30 minutes.

It was disappointment for West Ham in the end, with the Hammers thinking they'd grabbed a point from Kevin Nolans late strike, only to have it denied for offside when replays show it was perhaps too close to call

Both Louis Van Gaal and Sam Allardyce will definitely have things to focus on this week, here's what we learnt from the game.

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1)  West Ham have a neat new strike-force - Big Sam has bought well

After scoring just 40 goals in total last season it was clear something had to be done about West Ham's lacking strikers. With Carroll constantly out injured, Vaz Te barely playing, and Cole scoring every so often the Hammers clearly were in dire need. 

It was a good summer for West Ham, bringing in three new strikers in Sakho, Valencia and Zarate each offering quality. That's definitely been proved so far this season, and with ten goals in the league we're already seeing an improvement in the number of goals. Five of those goals were from West Ham's strike force, and they're definitely proving worthwhile when you consider the transfer fees paid for them.

On Saturday we saw just how good Enner Valencia and Diafro Sakho can be for the Hammers, with both having opportunities and Sakho actually grabbing a goal. Although West Ham surely won't be struggling come the end of the season, Valencia and Sakho will surely be pivotal to where they are placed come May.

2) United miss Ferdinand and Vidic - What has happened to the defence?

It came as a surprise to many when United confirmed that both Vidic and Ferdinand would be departing, and perhaps Louis Van Gaal made the wrong decision shaking up the squad a little more than it could handle. The departures, along with the fact that United only signed Marcos Rojo as a replacement centre-back, have definitely left them short at the back and it's questionable whether any of them are worthy of a United shirt.

After conceding only 43 goals in total last season, already their new look defence has been breached numerous times even at its strongest. The new look back four looks shaky to say the least, and not signing someone like Hummels may be quite regrettable for Louis Van Gaal.

Injuries appear to be another problem for United in the centre-back position, with Rojo the only fit centre-back on Saturday it definitely showed their vulnerability. After Louis Van Gaal's new extreme training measures had already scrutinised, this only brings to the forefront that perhaps they're too much for the players to handle.

3) Money can't buy United victories

After spending just under £150 million you'd think that wins would be easy for Manchester United, however it's quite the opposite.

United struggled both last week and on Saturday, and their new expensive recruits realistically failed to prove themselves against West Ham. It's clear that spending money doesn't always mean you'll win matches, quite the opposite in fact. United's new signings in the past couple of weeks have seemed unacquainted. Now I understand that the new recruits haven't been there long, but you'd definitely expect better.

A club can spend all they want, but it doesn't mean that it'll buy them titles. United realistically have spent too much, and in a way it has an effect on them with their money tags perhaps weighing slightly heavy. They would've been better to emulate a club like Chelsea, who have spent less, but still have key new players who've pushed them to the top of the table. 

4) An attacking Hammers is definitely better than a defensive one

After Big Sam was told to get his Hammers attacking it seems he's done just that, and West Ham now look a force to be reckoned with. When you take into account their defensive, nervous tactics back last season they've definitely come on leaps and bounds.

The attacking signings have really brought a new look Hammers, and they no longer are seeing out simple 1-0 wins. They now have a potent attacking force, and some eloquent new defensive midfielders to give them a little more respite. When before the Hammers would sit back and take the pressure, nowadays they'll attack and go for the points just as they did against United on Saturday and against Liverpool last week.

They're now challenging the big-boys, something which they haven't really done before. There's a new flair in their line-up, and with the new fresh tactics nobody questions whether Sam Allardyce is the man to take them forward any longer. 

5) Should Rooney be captain? His rush of blood shows his vulnerabilities

Although Rooney has proved through his time as captain thus far that he does have some good leadership qualities, the question is going to be posed by fans if he does reckless things like he did on Saturday. His rush of blood only brings fans to question whether he is worthy of captaincy for club and country after he recklessly kicked out at West Ham's Stewart Downing.

A captain should lead by example, and with United having 19-year-old Paddy McNair playing he really should've been marshalling United to the win. Instead, the Red Devils faced a strong West Ham side with 10-men for a good 30 minutes with no leader. Rooney deserved the red card, and perhaps the pressure may be getting to him that he has to make a statement.

It's a shame for Rooney that his game had to end so early, and in the first half he had an extremely good game with his goal top quality. However, he was lucky that his rush of blood didn't cost United dearly.

Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Premier League

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