Manchester United maintained their unbeaten start to the new Premier League season as Jesse Lingard’s last-minute wonder strike sealed a 2-1 victory over West Ham United.
The home side had taken the lead on the half-hour mark after Said Benrahma’s long-range effort took a huge deflection off Raphael Varane, leaving United goalkeeper David de Gea rooted to the spot.
West Ham’s lead only lasted five minutes, though. Summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo secured his fourth goal in three appearances since returning to the club, poking home from close range after Lukasz Fabianski had spilled his initial attempt.
The Polish shot-stopper made several impressive saves to deny the 20-time English champions throughout the contest, and both sides had penalty appeals turned down before Lingard’s 89th-minute goal sparked a frenzied ending to proceedings.
After the 28-year-old revived his career at the London Stadium last season, he came back to haunt his former team by cutting in from the left-hand side and bending a magnificent strike into the far corner.
But the Hammers were handed a perfect opportunity to rescue a point deep into injury time after Luke Shaw was adjudged to have handballed in the box.
It led to David Moyes making the bold decision to bring club captain Mark Noble off the bench to take the resulting penalty, however, De Gea dived the right way to push away the tame spot-kick, sealing all three points for the Red Devils.
Despite the visitors’ attacking talents stealing the headlines, it was arguably their defensive showing which really helped them keep pace with the leading pack.
As per SofaScore, Varane achieved a match rating of 7.4 out of 10, the joint-highest tally amongst his teammates, and when taking a closer look at his underlying numbers, it’s easy to understand why.
The World Cup-winning centre-back won all four of his duels over the weekend, had a whopping 104 touches and achieved a passing accuracy of 94%, highlighting his importance to United’s success.
Varane also successfully completed all four of his attempted long balls, made two tackles and four clearances as he continued to stand firm against the West Ham attack.
He’s made a very encouraging start to life on English shores since making the switch from Real Madrid and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping he can put in many more star performances in the weeks and months to come.