West Ham show strength in depth following Carabao Cup victory over Manchester United – Football.London

One thing missing for Bowen

Once again Bowen was used through the middle for West Ham confirming him as David Moyes’ preferred number two should Michail Antonio be unavailable or rested.

The stand-in striker showed great pace to get in behind the opposition’s backline and is a non-stop runner but he is still not yet a clinical finisher.

In the opening minutes of the match, Bowen had an excellent opportunity on his left foot but as he did on Sunday against the same opposition it was a weak effort.

On the weekend his chance was easily blocked, yesterday it was shanked wide. Bowen has proven in the past he is a capable goalscorer but his finishing is a clear weakness and something he needs to work on if he wishes to become a lethal goalscorer.

Everything else about Bowen’s game last night was fantastic, Moyes was well aware of his potential as a striker but he has now proven to the wider world that he is more than capable of playing the role.

The lack of a striker arriving in the summer was the one blip on West Ham’s summer transfer window. If Bowen can work on his finishing he may well fill that void and prove Moyes right all along.

Czech debutant

Alex Kral made his first appearance in a West Ham shirt and looked comfortable in the heart of midfield. One thing newcomers to English football often struggle to initially adapt to is the pace of the game but not so for Kral.

There were moments when he was chasing the ball but so were all the Hammers players with Manchester United seeing the bulk of possession, particularly after Manuel Lanzini’s goal.

Kral arrived at the London Stadium with a reputation for being a defensive midfielder and stand-in centre-back but last night he was far more a box-to-box player.



Alex Kral made his West Ham debut vs Manchester United in the Carabao Cup (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Alex Kral made his West Ham debut vs Manchester United in the Carabao Cup (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

The Czech midfielder broke into the Manchester United box on a number of occasions and had an early shot on goal deflected wide by Eric Bailly. His willingness to get forward is a positive for the Hammers and took nothing away from his defensive duties with Kral showing a good engine to get up and down the pitch for the full 90 minutes

Against a side boasting attackers of the quality of Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial Kral held his own and provides Moyes a further option in midfield.

West Ham’s priorities

After making ten changes to his starting team and handing all media duties over to assistant coach Stuart Pearce it is probably a safe assumption that the Carabao Cup is not top of Moyes’ priorities.

This is not a criticism of the manager in the slightest. With Europa League competition added to their fixture list, the Hammers are in the middle of a stretch of seven matches in 23 days. Progress last night will see West Ham play a further seven matches in 22 days between the October and November international breaks, squad rotation is a necessity in order to get through the sheer volume of matches.

And some competitions and matches will need to be prioritised. The fourth round draw was not kind to the Hammers with a clash against Manchester City, who are going for their fifth straight Carabao Cup trophy, but winning at Old Trafford with a much changed squad will be a huge confidence boost for players who have been on the Hammers fringe so far this season.

The players used last night will all have big roles to play this campaign and a win against Manchester United is a great way to make their case for further minutes going forward.

Long awaited debut

Alphonse Areola was made to wait for his West Ham debut but it will surely not be long until he makes his second Hammers appearance.

Moyes understandably stuck with Lukasz Fabianski in the opening matches of the Premier League but it was somewhat of a surprise Areola was not given a run-out in Europe.

Instead, the manager kept faith with Fabianski and Areola had to wait until last night for his first Hammers display. The goalkeeper took his chance with both hands, making a number of crucial interventions to deny Manchester United a way back into the game.

The stand out saves came from a powerful Juan Mata effort in the first half, a superb one-on-one block from Mason Greenwood and a giant leap in front of Anthony Martial.

Areola did not sign for the Hammers just to sit on the bench and after this performance, the Frenchman has shown he is here to compete for the No.1 spot. Fabianski is expected to keep his place in the league team for now but Areola could well be in goal next week for the home Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna.

Depth in defence

The centre-back pairing of Craig Dawson and Issa Diop was simply superb against Manchester United. The pair played a number of times together last season but with Angelo Ogbonna returning to fitness and Kurt Zouma’s arrival they were dropped to the bench for the league match against the Red Devils on Sunday.

Ogbonna and Zouma are expected to return for the clash with Leeds United on Saturday but Dawson and Diop have piled the pressure on Moyes.

How to get our daily West Ham United newsletter



Why should you sign up?

In each football.london West Ham bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.

We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening.

How do you sign up?

It’s easy and only takes seconds.

Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the West Ham section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.

And that’s it, you’re all set.

If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.

For more details, click here.

Pressure that the manager will relish. Should any of his four centre-backs be struck down with injury or simply require a rest Moyes can be confident he has quality in reserve.

Sky Sports handed Dawson the man of the match award last night but it could easily have gone to Diop such was the impressive nature of his display.

Success in football leads to more fixtures and Dawson and Diop have done their cases no harm in starting matches going forward.

Rate article
NB Sports Live