David Hautzig's Match Report
Manchester United 2, West Ham 1. The Better Team Lost.
Why couldn’t this have happened against Cardiff? Or Everton? Or any number of days West Ham simply decided not to play football? The “this” I am referring to is the knob and lock on the main door in and and out of my house basically blew up half an hour before kickoff. The knob would turn, but whatever the part that goes in and out of the door frame did not move. The mechanism split in half. So off to the hardware store I went. Removing the old knob and lock was the hard part. It took most of the first half because I had to basically remove it bit by bit in order to get a screwdriver in there to pry it open and take it all out. The installation of the new one was a matter of minutes. Yeah, I put the outside knob on upside down but it still works. No way I was going to take it off and start again. Job done in my opinion.
The point of all of this is that my report today will be short, and virtually empty of details. Just some observations, made mostly from my knees, hands covered in grease and a few metal shards, and reading glasses on to see what I was doing.
The first forty-five minutes broke down into two major talking points. First, Anderson was onside and the goal should have counted. Second, the first penalty was quite soft. It also made me think of something I heard my friend and now fellow WHTID writer Nigel Kahn say a few weeks ago on Moore Than Just A Podcast. Whatever happened to the indirect free kick awarded for fouls in the box that weren’t necessarily actual goal scoring opportunities? The foul occurred on the edge of the area, and I for one don’t think it denied even a good shot let alone a likely goal.
West Ham clearly saw the left side as a place to attack, and for the majority of the match the visitors were on the front foot and the home side was on their heels. Anderson’s equalizer came from such a missive. One of the NBC announcers said they don’t see us every week, yet they were sure we had not played this well all the time because if we had we would be top four. That’s how good we looked to people that don’t give a damn about us. We pressed them all over the pitch, Rice looked like he would be ready for Barcelona by Thursday, and we won double digit corners.
When Antonio came on for Chicharito, I was surprised. Hernandez looked annoyed. Yet a thundering shot off the crossbar and a ridiculous save by daGea to deny Antonio of not one but two goals were ample evidence for Pellegrini to defend the move.
The second penalty was undeniable. Stone cold. It just hurt because we looked far more likely to win than they did when it happened.
I feel like a parent who knows what their kids are capable of when they apply themselves, and the frustration caused by the simple lack of consistent effort. How many of you were as satisfied after the 0-4 loss at home to Manchester City than the 4-3 win over Huddersfield? Possibly more so? Gentlemen, if you are unable to extricate this inconsistency out of the DNA of our club, then I doubt I will ever see it happen in my lifetime. In the meantime, I fly over Thursday for a week that will include the huuuuuge carpet laying celebration against Leicester City. I’m 0-4 at the running track. My stadium ban, as imposed by block 214, has been lifted for next Saturday.
Just make me happy I showed up.