However, much like the 1-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield earlier this month, it was arguable that the Hammers deserved at least a point from the meeting with Erik ten Hag’s side – if not all three – with David De Gea making a series of world-class saves late on to deny the Irons a share of the spoils.
And, despite Sunday’s result making it five losses from seven games away from home in the league this season, there were nevertheless a number of eye-catching performances on display for the visitors, with Declan Rice typically running the show from the middle of the park and Saïd Benrahma again looking lively on the left wing.
However, while both Rice and Benrahma were impressive, it was arguably the performance of Kurt Zouma that will have most pleased Moyes on Sunday afternoon, as the centre-back was very much at his imperious best at Old Trafford.
Indeed, over the course of his 90 minutes on the pitch, the £26m-rated Frenchman was near faultless in a defensive capacity, making five clearances and winning one aerial duel – keeping Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes largely quiet in the first half.
And, after the interval, the £125k-per-week centre-back also proved to be one of the Hammers’ most dangerous players going forwards, launching a number of counter-attacks through his three long balls and 43 completed passes, as well as taking two shots at the United goal – most notably being denied a late headed equaliser by a sensational De Gea save.
These efforts saw the 55-touch “machine” earn a very respectable SofaScore match rating of 6.9, while football.london’s Jonty Colman awarded the 28-year-old an eight in his own player ratings – the best of any West Ham player on the day – with the journalist going on to state of the 11-cap international’s performance:
“Hardly put a foot wrong before half-time, making countless interceptions and winning anything that came at him aerially. Keen to start counters as often as possible and gained plenty of yards when getting forward. Was a great attacking threat late on and forced David De Gea into an excellent diving save with a header with just over five minutes remaining. Very impressive throughout.”
As such, while it is true that the Hammers ultimately left Old Trafford empty-handed, Zouma’s performance in the heart of defence will have greatly encouraged Moyes, while it is also likely that the France international’s display will have boosted his chances of securing a late spot in Didier Deschamps’ World Cup squad this winter.
The defender has been capped 11 times by his country but hasn’t been seen in the French set up now for nearly a year, suggesting that he will need to produce a few more performances like this in order to earn a place in the squad.