West Ham get it wrong to leave Moyes wondering ‘what if’

After Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham had all dropped points earlier in the weekend, this felt like a big opportunity for the Hammers in their pursuit of a top-four finish.

But they barely laid a glove on Manchester United on a disappointing night at Old Trafford.

David Moyes has got plenty right this season but there was a nagging feeling that his safety-first policy was the wrong approach.

With no Jesse Lingard, Moyes opted for Mark Noble ahead of Said Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini as he set West Ham up defensively.

Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio were left isolated and it meant the visitors lacked any real threat.

They only abandoned that policy once they went behind in the second half when Craig Dawson headed into his own net.

Moyes then sent on Lanzini and Benrahma, who were sharp on the ball and posed far more of a threat to United. Even then, West Ham failed to muster a single shot on target.

The plan to remain tight against a United side with the quality of Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes is perhaps understandable, but the threat West Ham had late on meant it was hard to escape the feeling that they should have played on the front foot from the off.

The final 20 minutes last night, and the recent performances against Tottenham and Manchester City, proved the Hammers have what it takes to match the top teams.

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“We knew it was a big opportunity for us,” said Moyes. “I am disappointed we did not take something from the game. We did a bit better in the last 20 minutes and had periods in the first half where we did OK but there was nothing as good as what we have done over recent weeks and months.”

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