De Gea and Martial earn Man United an FA Cup replay against West Ham
After a first half in which they created little, Manchester United looked as if they would drift on to defeat against West Ham United due to a magnificent Dmitri Payet free kick. However, the tie will now go to a replay at Upton Park thanks to an 83rd-minute equaliser from the typically nerveless Anthony Martial.
United's struggles seemed entirely avoidable. Although Slaven Bilic organized West Ham well, they were given far too much time on the ball due to Louis van Gaal's strange decision to field Marouane Fellaini ahead of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The hosts as a whole looked ponderous and reluctant to get ahead of the ball, passing sideways when they should have gone forwards, and only showed the necessary urgency when they fell behind.
The pattern was a worryingly familiar one and United again have Martial -- and David De Gea, who produced a sublime late save -- to thank for saving the day. They live to fight in the last tournament they have a realistic chance of winning and Van Gaal avoids another barrage of negative press in the process.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK David De Gea, 8 -- Had a slightly sluggish first part of the match when he was slow to clear at the feet of Andy Carroll and also punched the ball back into the danger zone. He was also unable to stop Dmitri Payett's exceptional free-kick but conjured a superb save at the very end to keep his team in the tournament, beating away a skidding Michail Antonio shot that came through a crowd of players.
DF Guillermo Varela, 8 -- Very good again, he adds so much dynamism whenever he plays. Enterprising getting forward, and made an excellent saving clearance as the last defender against Payet.
DF Daley Blind, 6 -- A solid performance against Andy Carroll, which one of the most difficult assignments for a centre-back. Did not deliver set pieces with his customary accuracy, though his passing from deep was still good.
DF Chris Smalling, 7 -- A quietly accomplished outing, getting across to cover well whenever needed and stepping up the pitch to prompt attacks.
DF Marcos Rojo, 5 -- An often chaotic outing, in which he lacked composure at both ends of the pitch. A game where his enthusiasm was not matched by his execution.
MF Michael Carrick, 5 -- Though it fell to him to provide the tempo, the game too often passed him by. His passing lacked the necessary ambition and, when he hit a late drive narrowly wide, it was a rare sign of attacking aggression.
MF Marouane Fellaini, 3 -- A truly substandard performance, which saw him fail to execute the simplest passes. On one occasion a misplaced ball left his team open to a dangerous counter-attack. He lost possession frequently and slowed the attack down on far too many occasions.
MF Ander Herrera, 6 -- A frustrating performance. He was industrious throughout but ineffectual until the very end, when he created the equaliser. Very often Herrera was the first man pressing West Ham's centre backs and he also worked hard on both flanks.
MF Anthony Martial, 7 -- The saviour up front, just as De Gea had been in goal. Marooned on the wing for much of the match, Martial nevertheless managed to prompt some decent attacks and, when he was moved centrally late in the game, he responded with fine movement and a calm finish from close range.
MF Jesse Lingard, 6 -- Continued the trend of his recent games, wherein he worked hard without much impact. Did not have the sharpness to dismantle a well-organised defence.
FW Marcus Rashford, 7 -- Very impressive, which is why it was a mystery that he was withdrawn when he was. Executed a brilliant turn that took him through on goal, which was reminiscent of Edmundo's several years ago. Rashford again showed himself as a major talent.
MF Bastian Schweinsteiger, NR -- Instantly brought command and drive to the middle of the field, pushing the team forward and being aggressive in the challenge. A valuable presence from the bench.
MF Memphis Depay, NR -- Added energy and purpose to the attack but his decision making was a fraction slow, meaning he failed to get shots off before he was closed down and too often dribbled into trouble.
DF Matteo Darmian, NR -- Did not manage to make an impression in his short time on the pitch.
Musa Okwonga is a football author, poet, musician, broadcaster and social commentator. He is on Twitter @Okwonga.