There wasn’t really much Simon Deli could do to prevent doubling Chelsea’s lead in the Europa League quarterfinals.
London Stadium has never been a home to West Ham United. The soulless colossus has hosted more defeats for the Londoners than wins since their move there in 2016.
Saturday saw an in-form Hammers take on a Manchester United team still embroiled in drama, as poor form and the rather childish spat between Paul Pogba and manager Jose Mourinho continued to play out in the public domain.
Any hopes that the trip to London might be a circuit breaker for the men from Manchester proved unfounded, as the Red Devils continued their run of uninspiring play with a defence that at times bordered on insipid.
Even putting aside the early nine point lead that Manchester United have conceded to Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as their slip to tenth position on the table, there are some problems at Old Trafford that run far deeper than poor form and the three league losses which they have suffered.
Mourinho dislikes Pogba and it would be fair to suggest that the French star has little time for his manager, however the real issue is that Mourinho appears blinded by personal feelings and his own reputation. The lens through which he is seeing Pogba’s performances is undoubtedly blurred.
No doubt, one of the heroes of France’s World Cup win isn’t playing the house down at present, yet it is hard to name any Red Devils player doing that right now.
In a team down on confidence, imagination and harmony, Romelu Lukaku’s presence and form up front has potentially been the only positive that could be taken from their disastrous start to the season.
Recent history suggested Manchester United would enjoy a considerable advantage in possession against West Ham and prove too potent in attack. In reality, things played out quite differently.
West Ham started brightly and Felipe Anderson scored his first goal for the claret and blue after five minutes.
An unlucky own goal just before the break had the visitors looking down the barrel of what for them, would be an embarrassing defeat.
A glimmer of hope was born after Marcus Rashford turned in a beautiful strike that squeezed inside the near post of Lukasz Fabianski, yet the Hammers re-established a two goal lead soon after, as Marko Arnautovic scored his fourth of the season.
Mourinho cited injustice in West Ham’s first goal, called for a penalty in what actually looked quite a soft incident involving Rashford in the box and claimed that he had ‘no complaints’ with his player’s application.
All rather strangely off the mark considering the listless and whimsy effort that Manchester United threw up. The eccentric and enigmatic Portugese’s time at the helm has run its course and prolonging the agony is doing nothing for the team or fans.
Watching the ship sinking and the captain saluting in total denial on the bridge, is just a little bit uncomfortable and awkward to watch.
Elsewhere results fell in a fairly predictable manner, with Tottenham putting two past Huddersfield and Manchester City, Everton and Wolves claiming victories at home.
Leicester won away to Newcastle and Arsenal continued its excellent run, moving to fifth with a 2-0 win against Watford.
In the top of the table clash between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, an 89th minute equaliser from Daniel Sturridge ensured the points were shared after Eden Hazard had scored for the home side in the first half.
It was a tight contest that, in the end, had a rather ominous outcome. With a point each both clubs are now joined at the top by Manchester City; a position the sky blues look unlikely to relinquish unless the eager chasers can find something special over the course of a long season.
Interest in next weekend’s fixtures is focussed around Manchester City’s trip to Anfield on Sunday night London time, whilst Manchester United have an opportunity to get back on track, with or without Mourinho, when they face Newcastle at Old Trafford.