West Ham 2-2 Manchester United: Van Persie rescues a point for champions-elect

Manchester United twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against West Ham at Upton Park.

Ricardo Vaz Te headed the Hammers into an early lead but Antonio Valencia levelled the scores from close range midway through the first half.

Mohamed Diame regained the lead for the hosts in spectacular fashion only for Robin van Persie to snatch a point with his second in as many games 15 minutes from the end. 

The first chance of the match fell to Carroll early on, who after initially hesitating worked some space to sweep an effort at goal with his left foot. David de Gea was unsighted by Kevin Nolan, who tried to re-direct the shot, but fortunately for United the ball clipped the outside of the post on it’s way out for a goal kick.

The Hammers continued on the front foot for the next quarter of an hour and were soon rewarded for their persistence. Matt Jarvis showed a good turn of pace to leave Rio Ferdinand on the left flank before floating a cross in towards the back post which Vaz Te was on hand to head back across the goal and into the net.

The visitors had a spell in possession following the goal but didn’t manage to manufacture a clear chance for themselves. They came close when Patrice Evra raced to the byline but the Frenchman’s cut back was foiled by some fine tracking back by Mohamed Diame.

Moments later though, Shinji Kagawa found himself in the same position and he made no mistake in squaring for Valencia who simply rolled the ball into an empty net from close range to level the scores.

Much of the Hammers’ threat in the first half came on the break and they were presented with a glorious chance to regain the lead when Nemanja Vidic lost his footing, but a breakdown in communication between Vaz Te and Carroll let Sir Alex’s men off the hook.

Sir Alex’s men made a bright start to the second period and really should have been ahead inside the first minute of it. Rooney picked out Van Persie with at the backpost but rather than going for goal the Dutchman elected to head square for Phil Jones who snatched at his volley, sending it over the bar.

The Red Devils were made to pay for that miss 10 minutes later when the impressive Diame lifted the roof off Upton Park with a deliciously powerful left-footed curling effort which sailed past De Gea. United stood off the Senegal international as he drifted in from the right and he didn’t pass up the invitation to shoot.

A combination of Gary O’Neil and Jussi Jaaskelainen kept the Hammers’ lead intact by clearing Rooney’s effort from a United corner off the line just after the hour mark.

The Hammers’ shot-stopper was to thank again minutes later when he tipped Van Persie‘s close range header over the bar.

But just under 15 minutes from the end the Dutchman was in the right place at the right time to tap home after Kagawa’s shot from inside the area bounced off both posts. 

The introduction of Chicharito minutes from the end spelt trouble for the Hammers but they defended stoically to escape with a point. 

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