Apr 17, 2013, 5:21 PM EST
Twice West Ham United took the lead. Twice the eventual Premier League champions pulled it back, Manchester United eventually using a 77th minute goal from Robin van Persie to draw the Hammers, 2-2 at Upton Park.
As with most Red Devil performances, today’s left it uncertain whether the result was deserved, fortunate, or predictable. Despite 11 places and 42 points separating the sides before today’s game, the gap on the pitch was more related to circumstance than performance. Manchester United did dominate possession (66 percent) and changes (six shots on goal to two), but their biggest advantages came while they chased the match. Always unlikely to dictate play under normal circumstances, the Hammers were even more inclined to sacrifice ambition for conservation when they went in front. Twice.
If it wasn’t for Shinji Kagawa, West Ham would have spent even more time in front. Instead, the Japanese international, Man United’s best player on the day, was the key part in each equalizer.
In the first half, 15 minutes after Ricardo Vaz Te put the hosts in front, Kagawa dribbled through the right side of the Hammer defense before playing a ball from the byline through the six. Antonio Valencia was left with what was surely one of the easiest goals of his career.
Twenty-two minutes after West Ham’s second — a brilliant left-footed strike from Mohamed Diame – a deft turn in the top of the Hammers’ area allowed Kagawa to put a shot off Jussi Jaaskelainen’s right post. The rebound went back across goal to Van Persie who, despite being in an offside position, was allowed to guide home the game’s final, controversial goal. (More on RVP and the offside goal later.)
Curiously, Kagawa was off a minute later, Alex Ferguson sacrificing him to bring on Javier Hernández. Without the man who’d created both his team’s goals, Ferguson was practically conceded a draw, even if his substitution wasn’t a defensive one.
Kagawa’s performance may have cost West Ham two points, but against an opponent who’d only dropped points six times in 32 games, Sam Allardyce should see Wednesday’s result as a point won. Up to 11th place with 39 points, whatever razor-thin fears Hammers fans had of being drawn into a relegation scram can be crumpled up and tossed. As we suspected from day one this season, West Ham’s staying up.
Dec 20, 2013, 6:05 PM EST
Euro 2016 will definitely feature 24 teams – up from 16 – and now we know how they’ll get there.
Dec 20, 2013, 5:13 PM EST
19-year-old M’Baye Niang is a wanted man, just not at the San Siro.
Dec 20, 2013, 4:25 PM EST
With names tossed around left and right, the Swansea manager has taken himself out of the running for Tottenham’s next manager.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:48 PM EST
It nearly came to pass that Fernando Torres attempted a professional career as a shot-stopper, not a goal-scorer.
Dec 20, 2013, 2:26 PM EST
Landon leads the way as U.S. Soccer Federation honors greatest XI of all-time:
Dec 20, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Can City keep the pressure up on those above them by beating struggling Fulham?
Dec 20, 2013, 12:24 PM EST
With a new deal inked and his future secured, now Suarez wants to bring UCL success back to Anfield:
Dec 20, 2013, 11:22 AM EST
All the details on where to watch every single PL game live this weekend:
Dec 20, 2013, 10:50 AM EST
New deal extends apparel deal which began in ’95… Will the USA now get creative with jersey design?
Dec 20, 2013, 10:00 AM EST
In the latest PST Extra, JPW and Prindi chat about Sherwood’s potential, a massive London derby and Guzan vs. Cameron:
Dec 20, 2013, 8:56 AM EST
Star striker signs lengthy new deal to hand Liverpool huge boost:
Dec 20, 2013, 8:32 AM EST
Get ready, “Fulhamerica” is about to be back on the map as Dempsey finalizes loan switch:
Dec 20, 2013, 8:10 AM EST
Cardiff boss expected to be fired, as owner Vincent Tan shocks English soccer with appalling behavior:
Dec 20, 2013, 7:25 AM EST
Top teams across Europe scrambling to get AVB on board:
Dec 19, 2013, 11:05 PM EST
They couldn’t wait until January. Swansea’s goalkeeper had to go under the knife as soon as possible.
Dec 19, 2013, 10:01 PM EST
Simple, cheap, and already in wide use. Giving the okay to vanishing spray was an obvious choice.
Dec 19, 2013, 8:54 PM EST
SI.com tabs the NBC studio host as this year’s best newcomer.
Dec 19, 2013, 7:33 PM EST
Six serious injuries but no casualties resulted tonight’s near-miss in Bekal.
Dec 19, 2013, 6:39 PM EST
U.S. Soccer’s 56-member panel as selected the program’s Best XI to celebrate the federation’s centennial.
Dec 19, 2013, 4:49 PM EST
Bluebird ownership is pushing the Scottish boss out the door, with a Monday email leaving Mackay’s departure practically inevitable.
- U.S. Soccer names All-Time Best XI, do you agree? 6
- Luis Suarez signs new long-term deal at Liverpool 3
- Clint Dempsey undergoes medical at Fulham ahead of loan move from Seattle Sounders 3
- Hamm, Wambach, Morgan lead U.S. Soccer’s all-time women’s best XI (but no Solo, Milbrett) 11
- Manchester derby in cards for League Cup final 1
- Brendan Rodgers cool on re-signing Luis Suarez to a new deal 2
- Report: Clint Dempsey will join Fulham on Jan. 1 for two-month loan (12)
- Is Google a player in the game of sports media rights? (12)
- Hamm, Wambach, Morgan lead U.S. Soccer’s all-time women’s best XI (but no Solo, Milbrett) (11)
- Spurs in hunt for new boss after sacking Andre Villas-Boas (10)
- Mexico’s Monterrey dumped out of FIFA Club World Cup (7)
- Nightmare for Socceroos in Real Group of Death
- Hodgson's Manaus Plan is Flawed
- Wilmer Cabrera on WC Draw: ''It's an Even Group''
- Germany Building Training Facility in Brazil
- Spain Thinking of US Camp Before World Cup
- Don't count out Chile in WC Group B
- Kicking it Off with a Final
- VIDEO: Visa World Cup Promo
- Aurelien Collin: I Think France is Very Very Happy
- Klinsmann Shouldn't Have Been Re-signed Before WC