EPL: Manchester United seal second in stalemate against West Ham

Sir Alex Ferguson

AFP Sir Alex Ferguson latest Man Utd confident in full recovery

Mark Noble left fans unimpressed after a fiery clash with Paul Pogba during West Ham's 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Thursday night.

It was a pleasant evening in the capital but there was no shaking the end-of-season feeling surrounding the game, with the Hammers safe from the drop. Both were cautioned by Jon Moss but Noble really should have seen red.

West Ham's Marko Arnautovic hit an early strike straight at David De Gea before the Austria global could only head over from six yards after Chris Smalling made a mess of clearing Aaron Cresswell's cross.

A shot from Scott McTominay followed quickly after but the young Englishman blasted wide on 20 minutes. He made a decision to ring the changes and Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw all started the game.

United were developing cohesion and, following Adrian's parry of an Alexis Sanchez strike, Shaw thumped the rebound against the base of the post via a vital touch off the goalkeeper's boot.

"We had to get the players in order a little bit after we came in, and we have done that". Arnautovic continued to look a threat and drifted past Smalling to find Joao Mario at the near post but the ball bounced off target to United's relief.

Jesse Lingard followed suit a minute later, running on the edge of goal to test Adrian, who pulled off a fine save for a corner in the end.

"After 37 games, the players are all getting ready for a break".

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But Mourinho admitted he had been happy to settle for a draw as the game wore on, a result that means United will record their highest league finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

With defences on top, Adrian made a string of saves to protect West Ham's clean sheet and justify his selection in goal ahead of England global Joe Hart, who returned from illness but was only named on the bench.

Subs: Hart, Evra, Fernandez, Obiang, Cullen, Hugill. Martial has endured a hard period since Mourinho's reliance on Alexis Sanchez on the left wing and the Frenchman now needs to find a way of winning back the Portuguese's confidence.

Subs: Romero, Blind, Mata, Martial.

Having been blown away by rivals Manchester City, who are 19 points ahead of the chasing pack, United moved four clear of third-placed Tottenham with one game remaining to seal the merest of consolations. It isn't the position anybody wanted to finish in but it marks a great deal of progress from last term.

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On Sunday, Manchester United play the final match of their season at Old Trafford against Watford, while West Ham host Everton at home. Second in the league and a cup final on the way - that can be considered progress.

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