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Mason Greenwood fires Manchester United into 3rd position after draw with West Ham United

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Manchester United moved into the Champions League places after Mason Greenwood fired in United’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw with West Ham, setting up a European showdown with Leicester on the final day of the season.

United came from behind to secure a point at Old Trafford after a bizarre incident gave West Ham the lead at the end of the first half.

Paul Pogba, in a bid to protect himself from a shot to the face, gave away a penalty after raising his arms at a driven Declan Rice shot heading his way. His initial reaction looked like the ball had hit him in the face but a VAR review saw that it was a clear handball, with Michail Antonio netting his sixth goal in three games from the penalty spot.

https://youtu.be/7X1iUUXLPfI

West Ham’s lead, however, did not last very long.

Mason Greenwood equalised for United to level thiings up with a low drive shortly after the break, thus, becoming the youngest player to reach 50th appearances for Manchester United – the milestone since Ryan Giggs in 1992.

The point takes Manchester United into third above Chelsea – who lost 5-3 to Liverpool later on Wednesday – and Leicester, with Sunday’s final-day showdown at the King Power Stadium set to be a straight shootout for a Champions League spot. For West Ham, they remain in 16th on 38 points and are safe from relegation.

Related: Liverpool finally lifts Premier League trophy after 8 goal thriller with Chelsea

After United’s 19-match unbeaten run was halted last week after being beaten by Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final, they could not return back to winning ways as they only managed a draw with the Hammers.

But Solskjaer knows the importance of qualifying for the Champions League.

After 22 years of never finishing below third under Sir Alex Ferguson, they have managed only two top-four finishes in the years since his retirement. And Champions League qualification will increase their chances of signing England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund for a start.

And, in a year when their finances have been badly affected like all their rivals because of the coronavirus pandemic, it would mean they avoid giving Adidas a £22.5m rebate on their 10-year shirt deal.

It is also good to see young players getting a chance in the first team and doing so well at it.

Solskjaer said during United’s pre-season tour of Australia he rated Greenwood as the best finisher at the club but it was not until December that he gave the Yorkshireman his first Premier League start of the season.

Twenty-two games on, it is hard to imagine the line-up for an important game being picked without him.

His latest clinical effort, the equaliser against West Ham, was his 10th in the league this term. Michael Owen’s astonishing effort in 1997-98, when he scored 18, is the only time a teenager has done better since the Premier League was formed in 1992.

Stats and facts from the match

  • Manchester United have won 10 of their 19 home league games this season (D7 L2); only in 2016-17 (eight) and 2013-14 (nine) have they earned fewer home victories in a Premier League campaign.
  • West Ham have collected eight points in their last five Premier League games against United (W2 D2 L1), more than they managed in their previous 18 league encounters (seven points – W1 D4 L13) between May 2008 and August 2017.
  • Solskjaer’s side are unbeaten in 13 Premier League games (W8 D5), which is now the Norwegian’s best run in the competition with the Red Devils and his best league run in his managerial career with a single club.
  • West Ham have dropped 26 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other team in the competition in 2019-20.
  • Man Utd’s Greenwood has become the first player to score 10 Premier League goals in a season as a teenager since Romelu Lukaku in 2012-13 (14), and the first English player to do so since Wayne Rooney in 2004-05 (11).
  • No teenager has ever scored more goals in a single season in all competitions for United than Greenwood (17 – level with George Best in 1965-66, Brian Kidd in 1967-68 and Rooney in 2004-05).
  • West Ham’s Antonio has scored eight goals in the Premier League since the restart, the joint-most of any player alongside Raheem Sterling. He now has 10 Premier League goals this season – his best tally in a single campaign in the competition.
  • Mark Noble has created 14 goalscoring chances in West Ham’s last two away league outings (8 v Norwich, 6 v Man Utd), one more than his previous 18 away league appearances combined beforehand.

 

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