Paul Pogba abandoned his penalty antics where he normally dances his way to the ball as he nets twice to boost Manchester United’s’ Champions League hopes.
Pogba, who usually stutters his steps on the way to the ball, decisively converted both his spot-kicks past Lukasz Fabianski without any delay or hesitation to move United to within two points of fourth-place Chelsea who play at Liverpool on Sunday.
But West Ham was aggrieved that an early strike by Felipe Anderson was incorrectly ruled out for offside and Pogba’s first penalty was harshly awarded for a foul by Robert Snodgrass on Juan Mata.
Their feelings of injustice were only intensified after Anderson had equalized in the second half with substitute Michail Antonio hitting the crossbar and then denied by a world save by David De Gea with the score at 1-1.
With an unseasonal chill in the Old Trafford air, Pogba and Romelu Lukaku opted to wear gloves for the Saturday evening kick off.
Victor Lindelof and Marcus Rashford were among the substitute who will likely play against Barcelona on Tuesday night while West Ham included United target Declan Rice but no Marco Arnautovic.
United hadn’t lost at Old Trafford in the league since August and need their home form to count to in a bid for the top four. West Ham looked ideal opponents on paper – without an away win in 2019 and have lost their last three without scoring.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
MANCHESTER UNITED: (4-2-3-1) De Gea 6; Dalot 6, Jones 5.5, Smalling 6.5, Rojo 6 (Pereira 75 6); Fred 6, Pogba 6.5; Lingard 6, Mata 5.5 (Rashford 55 7), Martial 6; Lukaku 6.5 (Greenwood 75 6)
SUBS NOT USED: Romero (GK); Lindelof, Darmian, McTominay
GOALS: Pogba (19 PEN, 80 PEN)
BOOKINGS: Mata (34)
COACH: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 6
WEST HAM: (4-2-3-1) Fabianski 7; Zabaleta 6.5 (Fredericks 76 5.5), Ogbonna 6, Balbuena 6, Masuaku 6; Rice 6, Noble 6.5; Snodgrass 6.5, Lanzini 7 (Diangana 62 6), Anderson 7.5; Hernandez 6.5 (Antonio 73 7)
SUBS NOT USED: Adrian (GK); Obiang, Diop, Holland
GOALS: Anderson (49)
BOOKINGS: Fredericks (79)
COACH: Manuel Pellegrini 6.5
REFEREE: Graham Scott 5.5
MAN OF THE MATCH: Felipe Anderson
VENUE: Old Trafford