Romelu Lukaku inflicted his usual punishment on his favourite opponents as United posted their biggest Premier League win since Jose Mourinho took over.
Lukaku added to his strike in the Supercup defeat to Real Madrid by scoring twice on his League debut for United – and it might have been a hat-trick but for a great block by Pablo Zabaleta.
The Hammers must be sick of the sight of the big Belgian – yesterday’s brace made it 11 goals in his last 11 appearances against them.
Late goals by Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba put a fairer reflection on United’s dominance as they stole newly-promoted Huddersfield’s glory by topping the table on the first weekend.
It is very early days yet – remember United won their first three games last season and finished sixth – but it looks as if Mourinho’s remodelled team are going to take some shifting.
Manchester United fans go mad for Romelu Lukaku after goal against West Ham
Sun, August 13, 2017
Romelu Lukaku has sent Manchester United fans crazy after scoring on his Premier League debut for the club against West Ham United
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Mourinho, who has won the title with all of his clubs in the second season, was dressed for business in a dark suit and white shirt and his team certainly played as if they meant business.
There was so much to encourage him and the fans that United will improve drastically on last season’s lowly finishing position finish and miserly goals return of 54 – 30 or more less than the top three clubs, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City.
Losing last season’s top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a big blow but Lukaku is an upgrade because he is so much quicker and more mobile than the Swedish veteran, works harder and can get in behind defences as shown by his first goal.
Nemanja Matic underlined just why Mourinho wanted him with an authoritative debut in midfield to raise further question marks over the wisdom of Chelsea’s decision to let him go.
Matic’s presence in the midfield anchor role will give Paul Pogba more licence to get forward, a point underlined by the France international’s late strike.
Romelu Lukaku scored a double on his first Premier League game for Manchester United
Pogba scored nine last season when he hit the woodwork as many times. Don’t be surprised if he doubles that tally this season now with the reassurance of having Matic behind him.
And after 10 frustrating home draws last season that effectively scuppered any title bid, Mourinho was delighted his players turned their territorial dominance into a goals.
West Ham have spent heavily this summer and Slaven Bilic fielded four new signings but it would be harsh to judge them on this game because few teams would have lived with United in this mood.
They had their backs against the wall from the kick-off but somehow managed to hold out for 33 minutes before Matic and Lukaku showed exactly why they have been bought.
Matic, who reads the game so well, intercepted Pedro Obiang’s pass in midfield, the ball fell to Marcus Rashford who slipped a pass through and Lukaku showed his pace and strength to race through to finish with a left-foot shot that went in off the inside of a post.
Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic both impressed on their Premier League debuts
For the second goal, Lukaku demonstrated his power in the air from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s inswinging free-kick seven minutes into the second half.
But Hammers boss Slaven Bilic will be asking why his marker Arthur Masuaka effectively gave him a free run to guide a powerful downward header into the corner of the net.
Having scored with his left foot and his head, Lukaku was denied the perfect hat-trick when his right-foot shot was blocked by Zabaleta, who had been run dizzy by Rashford.
Rashford hit the post, Mkhitaryan had a shot saved by Joe Hart, Daley Blind volleyed onto the top of the net and at that point Hammers would have been happy to get back to London with only a 2-0 defeat.
But United kept their foot hard down on the pedal. Martial came on for Rashford to score a neatly taken goal from Mkhitaryan’s through pass before he set up Pogba to stride through and cap a fine performance by beating Joe Hart from the edged of the penalty area.
The hapless Hammers threatened only twice, David De Gea saving from Edmilson Fernandes’s shot in first-half added time and then early in the second period when Marko Arnautovic clipped the bar with a header.
The result shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. No team has won more opening-day fixtures than United – they are level on 16 with Chelsea while no team has lot more than Hammers – this was their 11th. But United’s performance carried the greater significance for the season ahead.