Rafael Wayne Rooney Manchester United
Wayne Rooney celebrates with Rafael after scoring the first goal for Manchester UnitedReuters

Manchester United showed their offensive firepower one more time, but also their defensive vulnerability, with their spirt and fight eventually seeing them pick up a 2-1 victory over West Ham United in the English Premier League game at Old Trafford.

United got off the blocks in a flash with Wayne Rooney scoring a peach of a goal in just the fifth minute of the game.

Rafael was the creator for the goal, marauding down the right flank before picking out Rooney, who did brilliantly to wrap his foot around the ball and guide it into the far corner.

Manchester United's day got better on 22 minutes, when Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao combined yet again for a goal.

Van Persie's former Arsenal teammate Alex Song saw the ball stolen away from him in midfield by Ander Herrera, with Falcao then finding Van Persie on the right edge of the box. The Dutchman took a couple of touches to steady himself before lashing a right-footed shot into the far corner past goalkeeper Adrian's right hand.

Those two goals put Manchester United in cruise control, but with the defensive problems they have shown this season, it was never going to be a safe scoreline, and almost on expected lines, West Ham found a goal back seven minutes from halftime.

A real melee inside the box off a corner allowed Diafra Sakho to head home from close range and make it 2-1. West Ham had a couple of really good chances to level the game before halftime, but Manchester United held on.

The bulk of the second half became all about West Ham pressure and United defence once Rooney was given his marching orders for an awful kick out at Stewart Downing. The Manchester United captain was trying to stop West Ham from going on a counter-attack, but instead of clipping Downing's legs, Rooney decided to kick the player on his thigh, leaving referee Mason with no choice but to show a straight red card.

West Ham had plenty of opportunities to make it 2-2, with Kevin Nolan even putting the ball into the back of the net, only for the assistant referee's flag for an offside to quell the celebrations.

Eventually, Manchester United did just enough to hang on and pick up some much-required three points, to ease the pressure on the players and Louis Van Gaal.

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