West Ham v Manchester United – as it happened

The substitute Robin van Persie scored a masterful injury-time equaliser after James Collins had scored twice for West Ham in a cracking cup tie

Full time: West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United

That's it. The Manchester United fans hail their new hero, who is playing obscenely well at the moment. You have to feel a bit for West Ham, who worked desperately hard, were tactically astute and played some decent stuff when the opportunity arose. Then again, United's capacity to come from behind this season is staggering, so both sides deserve credit. Well done everyone! Thanks for your emails; night.


90+4 min United earn another corner in the last minute of added time. It ricochets around the box before Kagawa plays it to Valencia, who trashes it over from a narrow angle on the right of the box.

90+3 min United almost stole victory there, with Kagawa's low cross from the right zipping right across the area.

GOAL! West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United (Van Persie 90)

The inevitable Robin van Persie keeps Manchester United in the cup with a truly majestic goal! Giggs picked up a loose ball inside his own half, had a quick look and wafted an almost insouciant 50-yard crossfield pass over the defence for Van Persie. He controlled the ball sensationally with his left foot, sped away from Tomkins and rattled a right-footed shot through Jaaskelainen from 10 yards. The decisiveness and certainty of that finish were stunning; the pass from Giggs was equally good. Hands up which Manchester United fans knew Robin van Persie was quite this good? Liar.


90 min Ryan Giggs misses a great chance! Rafael curved over a wonderful dipping cross from the left and Giggs, who arrived late and ran inside the right-back Demel, planted a header over the top from eight yards. He should have scored.

88 min That was so nearly 3-1 to West Ham. Jarvis, who has been excellent since coming on, swung a deep cross to Collison at the far post. He headed it back across goal and De Gea, who came out with his feet to a loose ball six yards from goal, kicked it off Carlton Cole and just wide of the post for a goal kick.

87 min "Thinking of that Rio anecdote re. his first day training at United," says Jaker Ahmed. "Roy Keane mows through him with words along the lines of 'It's easy to pass the ball sideways, you're at Manchester United now, pass the ball forwards.' Shinji Kagawa must thank his lucky stars Keane is no longer around."

GIve him time; it's been a stop-start season and he is clearly a class act. I do agree he needs to take more risks though.

86 min United are fumbling in the dark really. There's no sense that they are going to create a chance. Valencia beats Jarvis easily but then Bébés a cross for a goalkick on the far side.


84 min "Been out shopping for a birthday present for my ex-wife," says Phil Sawyer. "If you think it's difficult trying to remember the likes and dislikes of a loved one you see on a daily basis, imagine what it's like buying for someone who last lived with you five years ago. Anyway, I'm sure she'll be happy with her Warhammer 40,000 add-on set and cordless power drill."

83 min Matt Jarvis skins Vidic for pace on the left, comes back on himself and is then shoved over by Vidic, who hoofs the ball into the crowd in frustration and is booked. Vidic has looked frazzled at times tonight. The free-kick is dinked in Noble, headed on by Nolan, half cleared by Vidic and blitzed high over the bar by Collison at the edge of the box.


81 min United get two corners in the space of 10 seconds. The second, on the left, is played short by Giggs to Buttner, whose excellent cross is headed away by Cole. Buttner has put some good balls in today.

80 min On ITV, Clive Tyldesley reminds us that Sir Alex Ferguson has only once gone out in the third round of the FA Cup – against Leeds in 2010.

79 min "It's hardly necessary to point out that Ms Poulter has never met me in real life is it?" says Gary Naylor. "But if she ever wanted to, then..."

Hello Gary!

78 min West Ham bring on Matt Taylor for the excellent Joe Cole.


77 min United don't look like scoring. Kagawa has had four or five supreme touches but has otherwise been anonymous. Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to make his final substitution: Ryan Giggs for Chris Smalling, so Rafael will go to right-back.

74 min United are having all of the ball. West Ham, however, looks reasonably comfortable in the circumstances.

73 min Mark Noble replaces World Cup finalist Alou Diarra.

72 min Welbeck misses a decent chance. Buttner stood up a fine cross from the left touchline towards the far post. Welbeck got up very early, maybe too early, and headed over under pressure from six yards.

71 min An intrepid run from Dan Potts, who has had a fine game, takes him all the way into the area before he just overruns the ball.


70 min "Fergie said t'other day something along the lines of 'this is the best squad I've had in a long time'," says Duncan Smith. "That strikes me as way off. Van Persie aside, united are running away with the league as everyone else is just worse. Thoughts?"

It's a load of rubbish, obviously. It's his best squad since 2009.


68 min United have played a lot of eye-of-the-needle through passes today, but haven't quite got round the side of West Ham enough. They are going to make a double change: Robin van Persie and Antonio Valencia are on for Javier Hernandez and Paul Scholes.

67 min Joe Cole is back with some tissue shoved up his nose. Apparently Robin van Persie's imminent arrival has been delayed because of a call of nature.

66 min "I love Gary Naylor for so many of his contributions," says Lizz Poulter, "the latest fills me with immense joy and delight. I'm spending the afternoon/evening correcting French students' English exams and when I read about 'the time to eulogise Paul Scholes is in three yellow cards' time', I wanted to give him 53/53 immediately. (Don't ask why 53/53)."

65 min Joe Cole is bleeding from his coupon, nothing particularly serious.

63 min "Notice how Big Sam held onto his cup of tea as he celebrated that goal?" says Will Oliver. "Nice control from the big guy."

61 min West Ham bring on Matt Jarvis for the disappointing Ricardo Vaz Te.


GOAL! West Ham 2-1 Manchester United (Collins 59)

This is basically a repeat of James Collins's first goal in this game. A fast inswinging cross from Joe Cole on the left and an excellent header from Collins, flicked across De Gea and into the far corner from 15 yards. That's a really good goal. The JC twins, James Collins and Joe Cole, are having quite a day.


57 min De Gea makes a dramatic if slightly showy save to deny Carlton Cole, who was set up by another good cross from Joe Cole, this time on the right. Moments later, Kagawa's low shot is desperately blocked by Tomkins at the other end.


56 min Buttner, who has been nowhere near as inept as usual today, reminds us of his qualities by giving the ball away to Vaz Te.

54 min "Thanks to Ben Stanley for that sage advice," says James Mottram. "In the absence of a football here, I have already considered kicking the printer around the room... Any recommendations for good printers that don't clog up at the first sight of ink and don't cost the earth when it comes to replacing ink cartridges? Monochrome is fine; doesn't need to be a colour printer." This is the best MBM riff since some chap had an LSD comedown.

53 min "The right time to eulogise Paul Scholes is in three yellow cards' time when he will become the first player to accrue 100 in the Premier League," says Gary Naylor. "It's a tremendous achievement for an attacking midfielder in a team that dominates possession week-in, week-out."

I wonder how, in a parallel universe, Scholes's career would have panned out if he'd stayed in the No10 role he played until he was almost 22.


52 min Scholes is still getting far too much room, and while that's the case West Ham aren't going to see that much of the ball. They still look fairly threatening when they do get it, however, through a combination of sharp breaks and set pieces.

50 min "Mourinho got the best out of Cole," says Hugh Collins. "Unfortunately, his best just wasn't that great."

49 min "-21 C here in Utah!" says David Farrelly, before getting down to bra stacks. "Multiply through by (1 + D x + E x^2) and then collect terms in x and x^2 and finally use the quadratic equation formula x = [-b +/- Sqrt(b^2-4 a c)]/2a (the a's, b's here are the coefficients of terms in x^2 and x and c are the constant terms.)"

48 min A half chance for Tom Cleverley. Rafael's shjort-range cross was only half cleared to Cleverley on the edge of the box; again he danced around the ball so as to curve it with his right foot, but this time he crashed it over the bar.

United might have had a penalty a minute earlier when Rafael's long-range shot seemed to hit a combination of Collins's chest and arm. On balance I reckon that was a penalty, although I'd like to see it again.

47 min "How do you think Joe Cole's career might have turned out if he'd been under Fergie's wing and not Mourinho's?" says Niall Mullen. "At Chelsea he was fashioned into a kind of uber-Kuyt rather than the fantasista his early promise suggested he might become."

I don't know that much about this subject but is there not a decent argument that he played the best football of his career – or certainly the most efficient – under Mourinho? I also wonder whether he suffered because of the death of the 3-5-2 in English football the late 1990s.

46 min West Ham kick off from left to right. Didn't they kick off the first half? Maybe not. Joe Cole has a quarter chance within 20 seconds, lashing the ball over the bar from 20 yards.


Talking tactically

"I haven't seen Manchester United line up like this all season. There's definitely four at the back. Not really sure what's going on in midfield! Would you like to have a go at explaining the formation today?" writes Sir Alex Ferguso- sorry, writes James Hayward.

I think it's nominally a diamond, but Rafael seems to be playing wider than Cleverley, so really it's a kind of 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.


"Hmm, how about a New Year's Resolution riff, Rob?" says the ever enthusiastic Ryan Dunne, the puppy dog of the MBM. "They're still good until February! Actually, the lack of email action has got me worried that my fellow MBM-haunters have, in the spirit of said resolutions, decided to 'get a life', perhaps spending Saturday night talking to girls instead of bashing F5. Gary! Simon! Mac! Matt! Say it aint' so?"

Say that idea's wack, Mac.

"Struggling with maths homework," says John Carney. "Does anyone know how to rearrange the equation: y = A + (B + CX)/(1+DX+Ex^2)
to make it in terms of X ="

Ask this guy.

Half-time printer advice

"James Mottram should follow a simple three-step process to unblock the
nozzle," says Ben Stanley.

"(1) Throw the printer out of the nearest window.

(2) Buy a decent printer.

(3) Never buy anything by Epson ever again.



Half time: West Ham United 1-1 Manchester United

Another very good cross from Joe Cole is headed away desperately by the backpedalling Vidic, and that concludes a lively half. United had much more of the ball but West Ham arguably carried the greater threat. Tom Cleverley's opening goal was a peach; James Collins's equaliser was pretty good too. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

45+2 min "I was home at Christmas and met a friend who I hadn't seen in years," says Brian Kitt. "I said at the end of our catch-up that we should meet for a drink in the new year and he's got on to me twice already to ask if I'm around. When I said I was busy, he asked me why I would offer when I didn't mean it, misinterpreting my social nicety as some kind of solemn promise. Weird, eh?"

This is the problem with social contact generally. You don't get this with loneliness. Good old loneliness.

45 min Collins stretches to make a fine interception from Welbeck's through ball, which was making its way through to Hernandez.

44 min Another optimistic, blooterlicious shot from Vaz Te flies over the bar.

"I have something to ask," says James Mottram. "Anyone know how to unblock a nozzle head from an Epson Stylus SX515W inkjet printer? Only had it two years ... and the black ink is refusing to print..."

Can't you just turn it off and on?


42 min "Come now," says Ryan Dunne. "Surely 'Evil Genius' suggests a Moriarty or Batman villain, doing misdeeds undetected. Scholes, racking up the yellows, does the crime and does the time. He's nothing if not honest."

41 min A ludicrous shot from Vaz Te goes high and wide.

40 min Anyone got anything to talk about? Tube etiquette? Jaffa Cakes? Fonts?


39 min "At what point," says Alex Hanton, "are people going to stop describing Paul Scholes' tackles as clumsy and start admitting he's an evil genius?" When he retires?

38 min Jack Collison is booked for a tackle on Rafael.

36 min A wonderful United counter-attack ends with a decent save from Jaaskelainen. A West Ham corner was cleared towards the halfway line and Kagawa, who rolled his man superbly and played a perfectly weighted short pass for Welbeck, who had enough momentum to hare beyond the last man down the inside-left channel. He could and maybe should have tried to find Hernandez on the other side of the box but decided to go alone, coming back infield to slap a 10-yard shot that was pushed away by Jaaskelainen. It was too close to the keeper to really trouble him.


34 min Hernandez belabours an optimistic shot miles over the bar from 30 yards.


32 min Nolan falls over in the box after a slightly clumsy challenge from Vidic. It wasn't a penalty, however, and Martin Atkinson kept his whistle wherever he keeps it when it's not in his mouth.

30 min West Ham have started to harass United in a way they didn't before the equaliser, and this is easily their best spell of the match. A dangerous cross from Joe Cole on the right is headed away very well by Evans.

GOAL! West Ham 1-1 Manchester United (Collins 27)

James Collins equalises with his first goal for West Ham*, and it was made by Joe Cole. A corner wasn't properly cleared, so the defenders stayed up in the United area. Joe Cole, from a narrow, deepish position on the left, curved over an excellent inswing cross that was headed decisively past De Gea by the leaping Collins.

* Okay, the first goal of his second spell.


25 min Paul Scholes is booked for the usual hack at somebody or other.

GOAL! West Ham 0-1 Manchester United (Cleverley 23)

A high-class finish from Tom Cleverley gives United the lead. United moved the ball neatly down the right to Hernandez, who squared a crisp low cross into the area. I think he was aiming for Welbeck in the centre, but it went beyond him to Cleverley, in loads of space on the left side of the box. He had time for a first touch or three, but chose to run round the ball and curve it first time back whence it came with the inside of his right foot. That was an accomplished, swaggering finish – Beckhamesque, in fact, in front of the man himself.


22 min When a West ham corner is only half cleared, Carlton Cole's flick round the corner almost reaches Nolan six yards from goal. He was offside anyway.

19 min Now Potts clears off the line for West Ham! Buttner's excellent outswinging corner from the left was met beautifully on the run by Vidic, eight yards from goal, and his flicked header was kicked off the line by Potts at the far post.

18 min West Ham are giving Scholes too much time, and as such he is controlling the game at the moment. That's a surprise as I thought Nolan might be in his face a bit more.

16 min Danny Welbeck has a goal rightly disallowed. Kagawa played a gorgeous through pass to Hernandez, who was offside before he squared it for Welbeck to tap in from a few yards.

15 min "Re: that famous Di Canio/Barthez pic," says Ryan Dunne. "Am I misremembering, or was it not round about this time that Fergie tried, and failed, to sign Paulo? If so, how high would you rate that on the pantheon of Great Signings that Nearly Were? Personally, my favourite is the Brazilian Ronaldo to Glorious Glasgow Rangers near-miss! Ronaldo would have got a lot of goals up here in Scotland."

Almost as many as Marco Negri. Di Canio almost signed for United a year after that goal, when they eventually bought Diego Forlan. One of my favourites, for its vague absurdity, is Mick Harford to United in the spring of 1992.

13 min West Ham have woken up now, and a decent 25-yard strike from Collison flies over the bar.

12 min Paul Scholes clears off the line! The corner from the left was curved deep by Collison, and Diarra's downward header from eight yards was headed off the line by Scholes as it bounced up.


11 min West Ham's first decent attack. Demel gets round the back before overhitting his cross, and then the young left-back Potts wins a corner.

9 min The first half chance falls to United. It started with a drilled 40-yard pass from Scholes – Scholesporn, basically – to the overlapping Smalling on the right side of the box. He sidefooted a volley first time across the face of the area, 12 yards from goal, and the stretching Hernandez couldn't quite make contact.


7 min "Let's see if Cole can show off some of his Messi-like skills tonight," honks William Torikka. I've always rated Dani Alves as a sort of La Liga Adam Newton myself.

6 min On the theme of West Ham old boys, you've probably seen this, but if not it's worth two minutes of your time. (Legal disclaimer: Guardian.co.uk will not actually refund your time if the video bores you witless.)

5 min Emails please!

4 min Manchester United have had almost all of the ball thus far, to no significant effect. I suppose West Ham will play like the away side for large parts of the game.

3 min "I thought for sure that your mention of 'outrageous skill' in the preamble would be a link to our dearly departed insouciant genius, Berbatov, in all his glory," says Alistair Mackay. That was Berbarotica in excelsis.

2 min It looks like United are playing a midfield diamond, with Paul Scholes the deepest, Cleverley to the left and Rafael to the right, with Kagawa behind the front two. Sir Alex Ferguson has played a diamond more this season than he did in his first 25 years at United.


1 min There's a cracking atmosphere at Upton Park, if not quite as primal as it sometimes is for this fixture. West Ham kick off from right to left. They are in claret and blue; United are in white.

Ryan Giggs is on the bench today. It's over 21 years since he scored this screamer against West Ham. If there is anyone reading this who wasn't born on 23 November 1991, I sincerely hate you.

A bit of pre-match reading from Steven Pye: the FA Cup third round of 1984-85, when it really mattered.

And the winner is...

Mark Smith, who rightly said that Robin van Persie and Alou Diarra have played in World Cup finals.

Easy quiz question to pass the time

How many players in today's matchday squads have played in a World Cup final, and who is he/are they?

The first person to answer correctly wins an entirely misplaced surge of pride.

David Beckham is at Upton Park! What could it possibly mean? That he fancies watching a game of football, in all probability.

Team news

Joe Cole makes his second West Ham debut as he made his first: in the FA Cup third round. That was against third division Swansea 14 years ago, when Cole's team-mates included Neil Ruddock, Julian Dicks, ian Wright, John Hartson – and Steve Potts, whose teenage son Dan starts for West Ham the day.

Manchester United make six changes from the side that whacked Wigan on New Year's Day. With that XI I have no idea what formation they will play, although there are unconfirmed rumours that Sir Alex Ferguson has a vague idea.

West Ham United (4-2-3-1) Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, Potts; Diarra, Collison; Vaz Te, Nolan, J Cole; C Cole.

Subs: Spiegel, Reid, Jarvis, Taylor, Noble, Spence, E. Lee.

Manchester United (possible 4-4-2): De Gea; Smalling, Evans, Vidic, Buttner; Rafael, Scholes, Cleverley, Kagawa; Welbeck, Hernandez.

Subs: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Valencia, Giggs, Young, van Persie, Macheda.


Obligatory West Ham v Man Utd FA Cup video


West Ham United v Manchester United is a unique fixture. So are Grimsby v Halifax and Barcelona v Slough; all fixtures are unique Smyth, you fool. But this game is different. For the last 50 years it has had a vivid identity. First it was simply a stage for two of the country's most glamorous teams: Best (Clyde), Moore, Charlton, Peters, Law, Hurst and the rest. In the modern era it has acquired an almost menacing edge, particularly when played at Upton Park. The kind of edge that produces obscene effort, coronary-inducing drama and outrageous skill.

It's a fixture that inverts the stereotypical differences between north and south, and proves that opposites infract. West Ham love drawing claret from United's aristocratic hooter; United love reminding West Ham that there's a reason only one of these sides is referred to as 'United'.

The title races of 1966-67, 1991-92 and 1994-95 were effectively or actually decided when these sides met at Upton Park. In 10 meetings on this ground since the turn of the century there have been 36 goals. The last time they met in the FA Cup, United won 6-0. The last time they met in any cup, West Ham won 4-0.

When you also consider that both sides have bigger priorities – Sam Allardyce generally hasn't bothered with the FA Cup since his Bolton days, while United haven't won it for nine years, their longest FA Cup drought since the 1970s – the whole thing is happily unpredictable. It will probably come down to who wants it more. This fixture frequently does.


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