Sports

Lukaku double sends Man United to the top

Lukaku double sends Man United to the top

Substitute Anthony Martial made it 3-0 in the 87th minute with a side-foot finish after being played in, again by Mkhitaryan.

- This was Mourinho's biggest Premier League win as Man Utd manager, and biggest home win in the Premier League since his Chelsea side beat Arsenal 6-0 in March 2014.

"United have put a marker down and for me they are the title favourites, and there is no reason for me to change my mind".

Mourinho played it all down, however, saying: "Last season we were also top of the league in the first match and we finished sixth so this means nothing".

Another close-season recruit, Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic, brought from Chelsea, made an excellent debut in the defensive midfield role, breaking up any threats from West Ham and then prompting United's attacks with intelligence.

Romelu Lukaku describes what it means to play in front of the Old Trafford supporters after netting a brace against West Ham.

Mkhitaryan clipped a well-weighted free-kick into the box and Lukaku was gifted the space to power a header past Hart.

Moments later Paul Pogba fired in the fourth after he was slipped in by Martial to complete the rout to the delight of the home support.

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind each blazed over with ambitious efforts and, as the Hammers battled to halt the Red tide, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble and André Ayew each dug deep to stem the flow with juddering midfield tackles. Eric Bailly could start as well, meaning one of Victor Lindelöf or Chris Smalling will head back to the bench.

In the 1-1 draw in November, United had eight shots on target but only scored once, while six on target this time produced four goals.

When Rashford was replaced by Martial on 79 minutes Lukaku wandered over to him to pat his cheek. As United camped in West Ham's half, the formation turned into a 4-1-4-1 with Matic anchoring the midfield and the full-backs pushing well up the pitch as well.

By then, Mourinho will hope to have his final signing in the bag. The 24-year-old is the No9 Mourinho bought, for £75m, to provide a similar weight of goals to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who managed 28 in all competitions last season.

It was the first of three away games to start the season due to its London Stadium hosting the world athletics championship. In just seven of their 19 league outings here last season they scored two or more. "New players in new clubs, new strikers, everyone expects goals from them".

At St James' Park, Shelvey was sent off early in the second half for deliberately treading on Tottenham star Dele Alli, who was on the ground only yards from referee Andre Marriner.

- Jose Mourinho has now won nine league games against West Ham, more than he has against any other opponent he's faced in his managerial career.


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