Manchester United 1-0 West Ham: Milestone Rashford goal decisive for Red Devils

Getty Images

Marcus Rashford's 100th Manchester United goal gave the Red Devils a hard-fought 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham on Sunday.

United handed Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire rare league starts, but Rashford snatched the headlines in bringing up his milestone with a fine 38th-minute header.

West Ham looked uninspired for long periods before finding David De Gea in strong form when they exerted some pressure late on, with the United goalkeeper making three crucial saves.

The victory lifts Erik ten Hag's team above Chelsea into fifth in the Premier League table, one point below fourth-placed Newcastle United with a game in hand.

Ronaldo sent a long-range effort into Lukasz Fabianski's arms as United dominated the early exchanges, before Rashford cut inside to send a deflected shot onto the roof of the net.

West Ham weathered that early storm and then escaped when Anthony Elanga badly miscued a volley from just six yards out after 36 minutes.

United led from their very next attack, however, with Rashford planting a brilliant header beyond Fabianski after meeting Christian Eriksen's hanging cross.

Ronaldo should have done better with a left-footed effort following Rashford's reverse pass as United continued to press after half-time, before David de Gea tipped Michail Antonio's fierce strike over the crossbar.

De Gea then made a brilliant reflex save from Kurt Zouma's header and denied Declan Rice from range after Maguire blocked from Jarrod Bowen, before which substitute Fred had nodded against the right-hand post at the other end – a near miss that did not prove costly.

What does it mean? Hosts boost top-four hopes

Having seen Chelsea suffer a humiliating defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, United approached their final home league game before the World Cup break looking to make a statement of their top-four credentials.

Although West Ham went close during a late spell of pressure, United managed to do just that. The Red Devils have now lost just one of their last 15 Premier League home games (W9 D5), having lost six of their previous 13 at Old Trafford before that run.

If United can continue to make their home a fortress, few would bet against them securing Champions League qualification.

Rashford becomes United centurion

Rashford's goal made him the 22nd player to score 100 goals for United in all competitions and the first to reach the milestone since the club's now-record goalscorer Wayne Rooney did so in 2009.

The England international's goal was just his seventh with his head in club football, but he looked every bit the experienced aerial presence as he powered home.

Moyes hoodoo continues

Old Trafford has never been a happy hunting ground for David Moyes, who lasted less than a year in the United dugout after replacing the legendary Alex Ferguson in 2013.

Moyes has had no success in punishing United for their decision to dispense with his services; the West Ham boss has never won away at the Red Devils in the Premier League, seeing his teams post four draws and 12 losses from their 16 visits, scoring just 10 goals.

What's next?

United travel to Real Sociedad for their final group stage game in the Europa League on Thursday, when West Ham go to FCSB in the Europa Conference League.