Premier League: Manchester United 1 West Ham 0
By Football News
Manchester United remain top of the Premier League after a 1-0 win over West Ham courtesy of an early Robin van Persie goal.
Having gone behind nine times already this season, Manchester United this time started the game strongly and took the lead with just 33 seconds on the clock, the fastest Premier League goal so far this season.
A measured pass from Michael Carrick found Van Persie just inside the West Ham box. The Dutchman's exquisite turn and touch took him past Winston Reid, and his second was a finish which deflected off James Collins and looped over a stranded Jussi Jaaseklainen to hand United the lead.
The early goal shocked West Ham, who saw Kevin Nolan booked minutes later for a cynical foul on Tom Cleverley, but they slowly came back into the game, with their high balls into the box causing the hosts problems at the back.
Indeed with just 10 minutes on the clock, a left-wing free kick found Nolan in space at the near post. The former Newcastle man flicked a header goalwards, that looked to have Anders Lindegaard beaten, but only flew into the side-netting.
Midway through the first half and Andy Carroll came close to an equaliser. A weak clearing header from Jonny Evans fell kindly for the striker but his turn and volley from close range flew over the United bar.
In contrast, the hosts were finding chances hard to come by although Anderson and Javier Hernandez both forced Jaaskelainen to save well on the half hour mark with low, curling efforts.
The second half saw West Ham start strongly yet it was Manchester United who enjoyed the most chances after the break.
A Cleverley volley after a touch from Van Persie forced Jaaskelainen to tip the ball over the bar before the goalkeeper was called into action again, this time saving comfortably from a Van Persie free kick.
And the Finn was called into action again on the hour mark after Anderson picked out an unmarked Rooney lurking on the edge of the box. The England man attempted to curl a shot into the far corner but again the West Ham keeper was equal to it, tipping his effort around the post.
Yet perhaps the best chance of the game fell to the visitors with just eight minutes to go. Another long ball into the box from Collins was brought down by substitute Carlton Cole who fired goalwards on the turn but could not beat Lindegaard who saved crucially for the hosts.
That would be the final chance of the game as United held on to preserve their one-point lead at the top of the Premier League.