Wayne Rooney's early goal gave Manchester United victory in a muted match at Old Trafford
Manchester United are through to face Dimitar Berbatov in the fourth round. It was a subdued occasion and a modest match, won by Wayne Rooney's early goal, although an under-strength West Ham side can be pretty proud of their effort. Thanks for your emails; night!
90+1 min "Nice thing about Scholes is that he removes the issue of resting him for Ferguson," says David Wall. "He can safely pick him whenever he's available and just wait for the suspensions to give him a break."
90 min That Scholes tackle was the champagne moment of the match. There will be a minimum of three added minutes.
89 min Scholes is booked for a heartwarmingly inept sliding tackle on Taylor. The whole crowd oooooooohed as he made contact.
88 min Buttner fouls Taylor on the right wing, a moronic piece of defending. West Ham bring almost everyone forward for the free-kick. Taylor swings it deep and the backpedalling Carrick does well to head clear.
87 min "If you were wearing gloves and tights and could find a bar of chocolate and some cutlery, you could play that party game, beloved of a seventies childhood," says Jenny. "It would surely be more entertaining than watching the match."
86 min Hernandez has a goal rightly disallowed after a majestic pass from Giggs with the outside of the foot.
84 min West Ham have played with much more conviction in the second half. That may have been due to the half-time teamtalk, but I suppose they have also sensed the mood as the game has progressed. Lindegaard hasn't really had a save to make; nonetheless, an equaliser would not be at all surprising.
82 min "Ron Atkinson used to write for The Guardian?" sniffs Ryan Dunne. "Man alive, the past really is a foreign country!" His columns were brilliant as well.
81 min "That's the way I remember it - Vieira was the one Ferguson really wanted, and all summer Veron was a done deal, except if Vieira decided to leave Arsenal," says Paul McGrory. "Nicking Arsenal's captain meant much more in those days of course, at the height of the United/Arsenal rivalry – think Ferguson had decided on a decapitation strategy."
Yep. I might be wrong but I think Vieira was a lot closer to joining United than people remember. Then again, it was 12 years ago, and my memory is going. Imagine Keane and Vieira together though.
Rooney has never been a convincing penalty taker, and he has whooshed this one into Row Y. I think the pitch gave way a little, but it was still a poor penalty.
A gorgeous, winding run from Giggs, straight outta 2001, ends with a clipped cross that hits Spence on the hand. His arm was outstretched, although he wasn't far away form Giggs, maybe five yards. I reckon that's a bit harsh.
78 min Paul Scholes replaces Nani, with a view to keeping the ball, presumably. For West Ham, Elliot Lee – son of Rob Lee – comes for his West Ham debut in place of Ricardo Vaz Te.
77 min "'You can't do an MBM in gloves, can you?'" muses Phil Sawyer. "Now, come on, Rob, surely you can be a pioneer in this. Obviously, you'll have to endure a few jibes about whether that tiki-taka MBM scribe could do it on a wet Tuesday at Stoke. But years from now history will look back and say, 'Do you remember when Smyth first did the MBM in gloves? That was the first time we saw a level of continental sophistication introduced to the MBM. Before long, Burnton was backheeling metaphors with a lazy insouciance and Glendenning was trapping the keys under his foot, looking for space around him'."
What about an MBM in tights?
76 min Diarra tees up Taylor 25 yards from goal. He slices it miles wide.
75 min Kevin Nolan is booked for dissent, prompting a few zesty chants of "You Scouse ne'er-do-well" from the crowd.
73 min A great chance for Kevin Nolan. He was put clear on the right of box by Vaz Te, but instead of shooting he tried to come back inside Smalling, who stayed on his feet and cleared impressively.
72 min "Ferguson has often talked about not regretting missing out on transfer targets, as in his experience the blow of missing out on one player has often been softened by the excellence of nabbing another," says Jaker Ahmed. "However, I remember the Veron signing being somewhat out of the blue, with little build up, and being preceded by protracted news about negotiations to bring in Lilian Thuram. Far be it from me to undermine Ferguson's beliefs – his genuine optimism in dealing with matters at hand is one of his many great attributes – but if that whole palaver was true, I think missing out on Thuram and ending up with Veron can be seen as a genuine regret. For good reason many can't shake that Veron was a wrong fit. However, can you imagine Thuram - then in his Parma pomp - slotting in besides beast mode Jaap Stam, all patrolled by Roy Keane? The trousers boggle."
United were linked with a load of players that summer, including LIzarazu and Kieron Dyer for £20m I think. Was Veron not the fallback option for Vieira? The other interesting thing about Veron is how well he was perceived to have started. For the first two months everyone was raving about him. See this Ron Atkinson column for an example.
71 min Valencia Bebes a simple cross high and wide.
67 min This is a reflection of how the second half has gone: Michael Carrick has come on to replace Anderson and restore some order in front of the back four.
66 min Rafael wins a loose ball 30 yards from goal and pokes it square towards Hernandez. Diarra, facing his own goal, gets a toe to the ball, and that gives Jaaskelainen the chance to narrow the angle and smother Hernandez's shot.
65 min Sam Allardyce fancies this. He has brought on two of their big guns, Kevin Nolan and Jack Collison, for Carlton Cole and Mohamed Diame.
64 min Vaz Te's backheel finds Taylor in the box, 15 yards out, and he scrunches an angled right-footed shot not far over the bar. United's lack of defensive experience is becoming increasingly apparent.
63 min Quite cold in here you know. You can't do an MBM in gloves, can you?
61 min A big chance for West Ham. A long pass from Spence found its way through to Taylor on the right of the box, in an absurd amount of space. He had Carlton Cole waiting for a cut back 10 yards from goal but tried to pass it towards Vaz Te at the far post. Rafael was in the way and booted it clear two yards from his own goal. West Ham have been much the better side since half time.
59 min Valencia runs at a defender for the first time since September, beating Reid neatly and dumping over a cross that is headed clear by Tomkins.
56 min A woefully overhit pass from Spence says in play after hitting the corner flag. Vaz Te was first onto it, and Giggs came back to concede a corner. It's swung beyond the far post by Taylor and headed by Tomkins into the face of Rooney. West Ham appealed for a penalty but it was straight off the coupon. It went out of play for another corner, which was curled in wickedly by O'Neil. It cleared everyone at the near post and bounced on the six-yard line, leading to a bit of a scramble before the ball was cleared. United don't look secure defensively on set pieces.
54 min "I have to take exception to your earlier assertion that Anderson is 'still far too fat' to be a force for United," says Simon Horwell. "This seems to be one of those great myths that survives in football. Anderson is far FROM fat. In fact recent photos of him with his shirt off show he has a six-pack."
Oh yeah, you're right. I got him mixed up with Mick Quinn.
52 min A loose ball comes to Taylor on the edge of the box. He dummies Giggs nicely and hits a shot that is blocked by the covering Anderson.
50 min In terms of intensity, this is only a rung up from an international friendly. West Ham win a corner on the right-hand side that is headed up in the air and punched clear a little desperately by Lindegaard. That could have gone anywhere.
48 min West Ham appeal for handball against Rafael in the United penalty area. United break, and 10 seconds later Hernandez sidefoots a one-on-one over the bar after a pathetic mistake from Diarra. That's a very bad miss for a finisher of his class. As for the handball, it deflected from Rafael's thigh onto his arm, so it would have been a very harsh penalty.
47 min Rooney, put through on the right side of the box, is given offside. That was as tight as the goal, and this time I reckon he was onside. Had play continued United would have scored, because Rooney squared the ball for Hernandez to tap into an empty net.
46 min West Ham kick off the second half; they are playing from left to right.
"I could be wrong here, but in my memory Veron was Fergie's first real 'super-signing,' by which I mean the first already-genuinely-established, world-class, big money superstar who had already performed at European and international level elsewhere," says Brad McMillan. "I seem to recall it was around the time of Veron's signing that Fergie decided he wanted to eschew the 1999 style of play, in favour of a more technical, continental style, having been roundly tonked by Real Madrid in the 99/00 season. It was the Queiroz era, too. In that context, I always viewed Veron as more of a statement signing. You know, 'we're here, we won the European Cup, but we've matured and we can play just like the other European Big Boys and win it again.' It never seemed to matter that it didn't work out, it was just one of Fergie's vanity projects. And it led to Man Utd's longest lean spell, in terms of dominance of English football, since 1992."
Yeah he was Fergie's first galactico, although Queiroz didn't arrive till 2002. It's also a tedious myth that United were roundly tonked by Madrid, mind, as some hottie argued in this concise 9000-word piece. I don't think Veron was entirely a statement signing; United had hit a wall in Europe and were roundly tonked by Bayern in 2000-01. They needed something, but it wasn't Veron. And of course signing him killed a golden goose that was churning out a league title every season. Still, Fergie got there in the end, as he always does.
"I'm sure I speak for many West Ham fans when I say how delighted I am to see Dan Potts featuring in the side," says Lee Rodwell. "Daddy Steve was very much one of the underappreciated talents of his generation and, I've no doubt, would have been an England international had he been six inches taller. That he played 505 games for West Ham, the majority as a centre-back in the top flight, despite being only 5'7" says it all about his other attributes as a defender. Plus, if you're going to play over 400 games as a professional and only ever score one goal, this is as spectacular as they come."
That little tribute brings to mind Sir Alex Ferguson's quote about Gary Neville in 1996: "If he was an inch taller he'd be the best centre half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in – I'd check the milkman." Imagine the faux outrage if he said that now.
The half-time whistle prompts some polite applause. Like at the theatre. See you in 10 minutes for more sexless football.
44 min Nani plays a short pass in from the left towards Anderson in the box. He leers quizzically at the ball as it runs on to Hernandez, who then plays it back towards Anderson, and his sidefoot from 10 yards is blocked.
43 min A few of Manchester United's returning players have looked rusty, as you'd expect. That, in addition to West Ham's weakened side and relative lack of ambition as well as the usual Old Trafford atmosphere, has made for a pretty low-key half of football.
42 min When a United corner isn't fully cleared, Rooney comes infield from the left and crunches a good right-footed shot towards the bottom-left corner. Jaaskelainen plunges to his right to palm it away. That was a good save because it was sneaking in the corner and it also bounced just in front of him.
41 min Bring on Zaha.
40 min If you offered both sides this result now, they'd probably take it.
38 min This is a decent spell for West Ham. A cross from Spence falls to Taylor on the edge of the box; he was considering a first-time shot but Diame got in the way, and by the time they sorted it out there were United defenders all around them.
Now this was an FA Cup tie between Manchester United and West Ham United.
36 min Anyone mind if I watch the Swansea game?
35 min The United fans are chanting "There's only one Carlos Tevez".
33 min Buttner's mishit low cross from the left hit the outside of the near post. Jaaskelainen had it covered and pulled his hands out the way.
32 min "Even though its been briefly mentioned a few places, I feel like Chicharito's touch, passing, and all around link up play has improved so much since his first year," says Colin Sebastian. "He's been excellent this year other than the Norwich game." He looks extremely sharp. Having a summer rest for the first time in ages must have been a big help.
31 min A cross form the left by Rooney is dropped by Jaaskelainen and booted away by Spence just before Hernandez can stab it into the net from six yards.
29 min Vaz Te faces Valencia on the left of the box, does a couple of stepovers and then hits a shot that deflects off Valencia and straight into the hands of Lindegaard at the near post.
28 min Another corner for United, this time on the right wing. A cute short corner involving Giggs, Nani and Valencia ends with Nani's brilliant volley across goal being cleared off the line by the stretching Potts. That was great defending, as much to instinctively sense the danger and to move towards his own goal as to clear the ball on the stretch. Moments later, Smalling plants a header straight at Jaaskelainen from eight yards. He might have done better.
27 min "West Ham are right not to care," says David Heffernan. "It is all about Premier League survival not the magic of the cup. They played well against United in the first game and then rolled over to Sunderland in the league. Not the right way around. Add to that our terrible away form and Big Sam's record against Fergie and it doesn't look promising."
26 min The atmosphere is pretty muted. It all has the whiff of a formality.
25 min "In the second half of his first season at United Anderson looked a seriously good prospect but since then a combination of injuries and pastries have stopped him from realising that potential," says David Wall. "I've always had the sense that it's partly because of his hopes for Anderson that Ferguson has been reluctant to fork out for the driving midfielder that everyone says United lack. Do you think he might finally be starting to justify that faith (he was pretty good earlier in the season before injury as well), or is this just another example of Ferguson's stubborn refusal to admit he might have got a committed decision wrong?"
He's still far too fat, and far too erratic, but you do see regular signs of a not insignificant talent. His main strength is the oomph and progressiveness he brings to the midfield. I doubt he'll ever make it though. As for Ferguson, United's resources are such that he can't really afford to let any central midfielders go, however old/fat/unfit they may be.
23 min Hernandez is rightly given offside after a good ball from Giggs. A good job for Diarra, who ineptly hoved him over in the box.
22 min "Is that Veron-like in a complimentary sense Rob?" says Ryan Dunne. "It is a shame that it never worked out for him at Man U. Much as people bash rotation, couldn't Fergie have used to that to retain the 4-4-2 which had been so successful? Surely giving them every other week off is one way to manage stereotypical lazy/genius footballers? Or maybe Fergie could have played 3-5-2 or something in those years with a Giggs/Scholes/Keane/Veron/Beckham midfield or something."
Nah, it would never have worked. He was the wrong type of player for that team. Hugh McIlvanney nailed it, as usual, in the Sunday Times in March 2002:
"This writer doesn't harbour any doubts about [his] brilliance ... which would be an admission of blindness or stupidity.
"The uncertainty in my mind concerns the issue of how effective [his] gifts can be integrated into the playing methods that have made United so thrillingly successful in the past decade.
"They have generally sought to overwhelm opponents with the high-tempo precision and cumulative rhythm of their attacking, whereas he is so wedded to a less persistently urgent style – frequently drifting rather languidly in search of a single killer pass – that sometimes there is the impression that the others have to brake and look around to see what he is doing."
20 min West Ham haven't played badly thus far, but there isn't much intent going forward. They look, in truth, like a team who have come here for a non-humiliating defeat. Is that even a word?
19 min Diame's long-range shot is deflected wide for a corner. Nothing happens.
18 min "It's the magnificently incongruous bubblegum that makes that Roy Keane photo," says Mark O'Neil. "Like seeing Lee Van Cleef tucking into a Dib Dab."
17 min Andy Townsend, on ITV, reckons Hernandez was onside. It was extremely tight. Unlike this.
16 min It could be a long night for West Ham. There's the famous Guardian insight!
15 min "So Robert, after Rooney’s weeks off, are we expecting him to come back at 19 stone or more, with the touch of a rampaging rhino, and be blowing out of his shorts by 30 minutes?" says Adam Hirst. "Happens every time he’s off injured or suspended these days."
He hasn't really touched the ball apart from the goal. It's true though, it's hard to remember the last time there was a such celebrated player who went through such extreme streaks of form as Rooney.
13 min A tame shot from Nani on the left of the box goes straight at Jaaskelainen.
That was an excellent goal. Anderson, just inside his own half, shredded the West Ham defence with a stunning through ball to Hernandez in the inside-left channel. He took it beautifully in his stride, fronted up the keeper and then eased the ball square for Rooney to slide into an open net. The pass from Anderson was so good, hit really quickly with the inside of the left foot. Veron-like, in fact. That said, I think Hernandez's left foot was fractionally offside when the ball was played. It was very tight.
Wayne Rooney scores on his return, although he owes a debt to Anderson and Javier Hernandez.
8 min A poor clearance from Lindegaard leads to a West Ham attack that ends with a tame 20-yard shot from Vaz Te.
7 min The game is still warming up. It's cold out there, don't you know.
6 min Giggs has started promisingly, wafting passes lazily here and there. Buttner drills a good effort not too far over the bar from 25 yards.
4 min Alex Buttner runs the right wing-back Jordan Spence, who concedes a corner. It's headed away by Spence.
3 min West Ham are actually playing a 3-5-2, with Diarra at the back and Vaz Te up alongside Cole.
2 min "I am using this match as a convenient excuse to avoid getting a flu shot, which my dear mother has been pushing me to get for the better part of a week," says Dan Schulwolf. "Seeing as my father and sister have both had the flu in the past two weeks, getting inoculated seems fairly irrelevant at this point. However, after seeing the team sheet with Giggs in a centre-midfield role, perhaps the shot would be the less painful option?"
It's okay, he's got Anderson to do with his running. For the first eight minutes, until he starts signalling to the bench.
1 min Manchester United kick off from left to right. They are in red; West Ham are wearing an away kit that my colleague Gregg Bakowski tells me is the colour of an umbilical cord. United win a corner after 30 seconds. Nothing happens.
"Before we start," begins Mike Gibbons, "can we have a moment of silence for Pep Guardiola's ambition, after today making the foolhardy decision to join one of the most prestigious clubs in the world with four European Cups to their name rather than take a skip full of cash to oversee one of the short term, shortsighted projects in England that are sure to implode within the next decade. Oh Pep, it didn't have to be this way..."
Roy Keane is in the ITV studio. So what's new? Well, he's grown a full beard, a gloriously feral black-and-white beard. Roy, I love you.
Want something great-looking and edible for a special occasion? Sadly I'm not edible – HONK! – so have a look here instead. My favourite's the 80s Boom Box, since you asked.
"I literally can't decide which game to watch," says JR in Illinois. "I've got a choice between this one or Barcelona v Malaga starting 20 minutes later. What should I do?"
Watch Miss Marple on a dodgy internet feed instead.
"Hawrite Rob!" chirps Ryan Dunne. "I hope this MBM lives up to last night's fabulous Tom Lutz Spectacular, which, speaking as a dispassionate observer, should definitely be in there when you do the Joy of Six: MBMs! It even had girls in it! Unfortunately, as with all ITV FA Cup games, this game isn't televised for us north of the border, which makes one want Sir Alex to give Alex Salmond a bit of the touchline-hairdryer treatment. Tonight we're getting Miss Marple instead, who's not even Scottish!"
Lutz and girls together? The internet is truly a wondrous thing. BANTER.
Wayne Rooney and Nani return for Manchester United, who make 10 changes, with Rafael the odd man in. West Ham make six changes. It's the magic of the FA Cup!
Manchester United (possible 4-2-3-1): Lindegaard; Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Buttner; Anderson, Giggs; Valencia, Rooney, Nani; Hernandez.
Substitutes: Amos, Ferdinand, Carrick, Welbeck, van Persie, Scholes, Kagawa.
West Ham United (possible 4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Spence, Tomkins, Reid, Potts; Diarra, O'Neill, Diame; Vaz Te, C Cole, Taylor.
Substitutes: Spiegel, Demel, Jarvis, Collison, Nolan, Lletget, Lee.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
The last time Manchester United played an FA Cup game that wasn't televised was 8 January 2005, an XI that included Gerard Pique drew 0-0 at home to Exeter.
Both of these sides played their last FA Cup replay against Middlesbrough – West Ham in 2009 and Manchester United in 2007, when James Morrison bonded with Cristiano Ronaldo over a shared love of football.
Big Sam loves bothering the big boys. Few things outside the bedroom give him more pleasure. His teams had a significant role in the title races of 2003, 2007 and 2010, and there was a spell in the mid-2000s when it almost felt like Bolton were beating Arsenal every fortnight. Yet although he ultimately denied Manchester United the title in 2010, his record against his managerial BFF Sir Alex Ferguson is pretty hopeless: two wins in 18, with 12 defeats and 44 goals conceded – and both of those wins were over a decade ago. In the last 15 games, nothing. Nada. Sweet FA. The square root of bugger all.
He should have beaten Ferguson at Upton Park 10 days ago; then came an injury-time equaliser from Robin van Persie that was paradoxically both predictable and stunning in its brilliance. It will be difficult for West Ham to win tonight, particularly as Allardyce has promised to "tinkle" with his team. Then again, Sir Alex Ferguson is the original tinkerman (or rather Tinkerbell, as he was known in the early 90s), and with a big game at Spurs on Sunday he is likely to change one or two or 11 of his players. A shock is not entirely beyond the realms. The winners host Dimitar Berbatov in the fourth round.
Kick off is at 8.05pm