Manchester United were unfortunate to be beaten by West Ham on Friday evening. Neil Wood’s side created chances but couldn’t finish them and conceded to an own goal and a penalty before Hannibal Mejbri was sent off in the last five minutes.

It was a decent performance from United, whose line-up was unchanged from last week’s 4-2 win against Spurs except for the reintroduction of right-back Ethan Laird.

The Englishman has been out for two months with a hamstring injury and came into the starting line-up for Lukasz Bejger.

Starting XI: Woolston; Laird, Fish, Mengi, Fernandez; Galbraith, Hannibal, Puigmal; Pellistri, Elanga, Shoretire

Facundo Pellistri

The Uruguayan was on the bench for United’s Champions League game against Istanbul Basaksehir. He didn’t get on for his debut but it’ll come soon. Pellistri started life slowly in the U23s but is now looking confident.

LEIGH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: Facundo Pellistri of Manchester United U23s in action during the Premier League 2 match between Manchester United U23s and Tottenham Hotspur U23s at Leigh Sports Village on November 22, 2020 in Leigh, England.
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

He took players on regularly and would have won a penalty in the second half were it not for a poor refereeing decision.

Pellistri wasn’t confident enough in his first U23s appearances. He is now. Last week’s assist will have given him that necessary boost. It has to be remembered that he’s a young man settling into life in a new city where a different language is spoken.

 

Arnau Puigmal

One of the highest scorers in Premier League 2, Puigmal came close to netting twice away at West Ham. Once again he showed his versatility by shifting from central midfield to right-back and then back again.

Some great footwork on the edge of the box gave him a shooting chance in the first time. His effort whistled over the crossbar but he did brilliantly to carve it out in the first place. Later on he came into the box from the right flank and took his time to turn a player before shooting wide of the right post.

Puigmal has had a very good start to the season. Alongside Ethan Galbraith, he’s been the best player in the squad.

Anthony Elanga

The Swedish winger had two good chances in the first quarter-of-an-hour. On the occasion he was deemed offside, Elanga’s curling effort was saved brilliantly by the goalkeeper Trott.

Minutes later when he stayed behind the last defender, Elanga’s shot couldn’t curve enough and moved past the far post. His cut-ins from the left flank onto his right foot are brilliant to watch.

Elanga can still improve his finishing and needs to. When he does, those cut-ins will be unstoppable. The pace and anticipation is already there.

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