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West Ham 3-5 Man Utd

Upton Park is not the easiest place to get three points. Add to that their win over us at Old Trafford, the determination of Di Canio to show his worth and their current home form, and all in all this was a potential stumbling block.

Yet if United are going to win the chamionship again this is the type of game thet need to win, their experience and desire must be spot on. Today United got the three points which is all that matters. The defence was not solid, passes went astray and it was a nervous afternoon, but a win is a win at this stage of the season.

As usual the Upton Park crowd were up for the match, and they took every opportunity to sing about Munich and generally be abusive. No surprises then that they booed Becks every time he got the ball, seeming to forget they cheered his goal that took England to the World Cup. No surprises either that Becks proceeded to play out of his skin eventually scoring two and assisiting another; as one commentator once said, “love him or hate him, you cannot keep a great player down.”

After going behind early on a quick equaliser was needed. Beckham’s first time chip over David James (once a scouser always a scouser) nestled perfectly in the net sending the red army mad. Yet soon sloppy defending meant we were 2-1 down, and again the nerves set in. Fortunately it was only another few minutes before Beckham’s cross found Nicky Butt who spectacularly use some acrobatics to get us back level. After this United found their rythym and the game was there for the taking.

The second half started brightly and United’s passing improved as the game went on. West Ham could not handle Keane, Scholes, Butt and Beckham in midfield and it was not against the run of play when Scholsey popped up in the box to put us in front. Soon after Ole got on the scoresheet and the floodgates could have opened. Chance after chance went begging before Defoe came on and suddenly the hammers were back in the game.

At 4-3 it all could have gone wrong. Memories of a dropped two points at Derby came back, as did memories of past encounters at Upton Park that cost us titles. Yet this time the home crowd, most of whom had gone home by this stage anyway, were not to have their way. Scholes was pulled down in the box, and Becks smashed home the penalty to wrap up the points.

A fantastic game full of great attacking play, three points, 5 away goals, and still top of the league. Bring on Boavista and the quarter final draw; somewhere sunny please!

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