Match Report

End of season clashes with very little to play for are usually a chance for fringe players to stand up and be counted for, a chance to impress the manager and fans under the spotlight.

So when Jose Mourinho made eight changes to Manchester United squad from their 1-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion the previous week, the Portuguese boss gave the impression to the likes of Luke Shaw and Phil Jones that this was your chance to shine.

In truth, both Shaw and Jones had eventful moments but with the game finishing 0-0 the question of potency came into play.

The left-back hit the post midway through the first half after picking up a loose ball in the West Ham United box, with it agonisingly ricocheting off Adrian’s outstretched right leg onto the upright.

Jones’ highlight, as picked up by a collection of United players on social media afterwards, was tripping over green tarpaulin laid down on the side of the pitch to cover a section of the athletics track at the London Stadium.

It was safe to say that a lot of the best action took place off the pitch. It was that kind of match really.

Both United and West Ham had been assured of a top-four finish and safety respectively and in regards to those goals so in that sense, it was job done.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise that the opening few minutes didn’t really catch alight. Marko Arnautović, the new Hammer of the Year, took aim from 25 yards out but David De Gea took the powerful effort in his grasp.

Straight away United nearly responded when Scott McTominay snatched the ball off Manuel Lanzini on the edge of the 25-yard box, but the shot whistled wide of the post. If it was on target there was no doubt that the net would’ve been bulging.

United found space in small pockets in behind the West Ham midfield and launched another wave of attack soon after. This time Jesse Lingard, who had been swapping the number ten position with Alexis Sanchez during the match, cannoned his effort into the stern gloves of Adrian, diving to his left to push the ball behind for a corner.

The home side’s only real attempts had come from speculative efforts from long distance, and with United troubled in their pursuit to break the Hammers’ defence down it became a game where only a real moment of brilliance would decide it.

Efforts from Paul Pogba, Chris Smalling and Aaron Creswell went abegging and the score really beyond any doubt.

The only flash of tension late on came from an altercation behind Mark Noble and Pogba which resulted in a booking for both, but in reality, the West Ham skipper was lucky to stay on the pitch.

United would’ve breathed a sigh of relief with the FA Cup Final coming up that no players crucial to potential success under the arc of Wembley found themselves suspended or injured.

For West Ham, they would’ve been thinking to next season. It was that kind of game really.