Five talking points as Manchester United leapfrog West Ham with comfortable victory

Manchester United leapfrogged West Ham into sixth place with an impressive 3-0 victory over their European rivals at Old Trafford.

Rasmus Hojlund opened the scoring in the first half before a brace from fellow youngster Alejandro Garnacho after the break topped off an enjoyable afternoon for the Red Devils.

Here are all the talking points as a youthful United bolstered their Champions League ambitions.

Birthday treat

Birthday boy Hojlund celebrated turning 21 by netting his fourth goal in as many games and put United ahead at the break.

The Danish striker waited four months for his first Premier League goal but now looks to have found where the goal is at his new club after another neat finish.

Having drifted past a couple of West Ham defenders, the £72million man powerfully fired past Alphonse Areola.

He may have turned a year older today but his effort still means he is the youngest Red Devils player to ever net in four consecutive matches.

Scratching their heads

West Ham may have been left wondering how they went into the break 1-0 down after an encouraging showing at Old Trafford.

The Hammers had 12 shots in the first period, with Nayef Aguerd going closest with his head from a corner that forced a good reflex stop from Andre Onana.

Moyes was not impressed with his team’s laboured display against Bournemouth on Thursday so will have been encouraged by the improvement — but disappointed it came to nothing.

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Trusting youth

Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo shone once again
Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo shone once again

Man Utd’s young stars have dragged Erik ten Hag through some difficult moments this season and they were at the forefront of proceedings again.

Garnacho put United in control at an ideal time shortly after the break as his deflected effort found its way past substitute goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski, before sealing the victory with another late on.

Fellow teen Kobbie Mainoo also followed up his heroics at Molineux in mid-week with another assured display alongside Casemiro.

Plenty of changes are expected to be made this summer by new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe but it would be a surprise not to see that trio play a big part in their future.

Showing their mettle

Diogo Dalot impressed at the back for Manchester United
Diogo Dalot impressed at the back for Manchester United

Surrendering leads has been a common occurrence for the Red Devils this term, so Ten Hag will hope a clean sheet against their fellow European chasers is a turning point.

They allowed League Two Newport a way back into the game from 2-0 up as recently as last week but there were no such issues here.

A last-ditch tackle from Diogo Dalot to deny Jarrod Bowen on the hour mark was a standout moment that embodied the resilience shown on Sunday afternoon.

That said, Lisandro Martinez’s return to the fold has surely played a big part — so the Argentine’s second-half injury which saw him replaced by Rafael Varane will be a concern for the Dutch boss.

European boost

United leapfrogged West Ham with the ultimately comfortable victory for a result that could prove significant in the race for European football next season.

The gap behind Spurs in fifth is now just six points after their second win within the space of a couple of days in the Premier League.

And after the North Londoners surprisingly dropped points late on at Everton yesterday, United may feel they have the momentum right now ahead of a clash with fourth-placed Aston Villa next weekend.

On the other hand, Moyes’ men are without a win since beating Arsenal on December 28 and need to stop themselves losing touch with their Champions League rivals as they face the Gunners next.

Read more: All the latest Premier League news

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