Van Persie goal earns United 1-0 win over West Ham

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie's first-minute strike earned Manchester United a nervy 1-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday, keeping the team top of the Premier League by a point ahead of arch-rival Manchester City.

The Netherlands striker grabbed his ninth league goal when his shot deflected off James Collins and over the head of goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen after just 32 seconds, making it the quickest goal in the league this campaign.

With United lacking any real fluency, Carlton Cole came close to snatching a draw for the mid-table visitors but his close-range attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.

United's fourth straight home win kept City at arm's length after the champions' 2-0 victory at Wigan on Wednesday, and saw Van Persie get back in the goals after three scoreless games. He now has 12 goals in 18 matches in all competitions this season after his move from Arsenal in August.

"Robin van Persie is a quality player and we have largely kept him quiet,'' West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said. "But he will score 20 goals for Manchester United, maybe 30, (this campaign).''

His effort had more than a hint of good fortune in it, flicking a pass from Michael Carrick over marker Winston Reid before seeing his attempted lob loop off Collins into the net.

United failed to kick on, though, and was kept largely quiet by a compact West Ham side.

"We got a great start,'' United manager Alex Ferguson said. "You hope to go on from a start like that and some of our football was very good, but we never quite finished them off.''

With Wayne Rooney struggling to make an impact as an attacking midfielder, West Ham tried to respond through shots by Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll that both flew off target.

United ended up hanging on for a scrappy victory, with the team yet to click this season.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.