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Sunday, 31 December, 2000, 10:56 GMT
Man Utd too classy for Hammers
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is congratulated after the first goal
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is congratulated after the first goal
Manchester United 3-1 West Ham

Manchester United opened up an 11-point lead at the top of the Premiership with their annual hammering of the Hammers at Old Trafford.

The scoreline was more modest that the 7-1 rout last season but rarely has a top-flight match been more one-sided.

West Ham had lost on every visit to Old Trafford since the Premiership kicked off in 1992 and when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored after two minutes for Manchester United, it was clear history was not about to alter its course.

An own goal from Stuart Pearce and a Dwight Yorke header had the game wrapped up by the 52nd minute, by which time United should have been out of sight.

United were a class above us tonight. Their passing was top gear and that was difficult to live with
  West Ham's Frank Lampard

As it was, West Ham completed the scoring through Frederic Kanoute 18 minutes from time.

West Ham, missing Paolo di Canio to a heavy cold, were overrun from the kick-off as Manchester United bombarded Shaka Hislop's goal.

The Hammers sat back and made life even easier for the champions when Rigobert Song was guilty of two errors that led to United's opener after two minutes.

The Cameroon defender was caught in possession on the edge of his own area and under pressure from Solskjaer hit the ball straight to David Beckham.

Fine saves

Beckham's cross was cleared by Steve Lomas as far as Song, who again lost the ball, this time to Solskjaer.

The Norwegian shot decisively past Hislop for his sixth goal in seven league games.

Hislop then pulled off a string of fine saves as United, inspired by the unstoppable Ryan Giggs and the ever-dangerous Beckham, turned on the style.

Yorke shot just over and a trademark Beckham free-kick was well stopped by the Hammers' keeper after 12 minutes.

Hislop again denied Beckham, tipping over the England star's excellent shot whipped in from the left-hand side of the box. The same player was just wide with a similar effort moments later.

Poor Pearce

After 22 minutes, Song made some amends by clearing a Yorke header off the line and Hislop was called upon to tip over a wonderfully struck half-volley from Giggs.

The chances kept on coming and Hislop denied Yorke before United finally got their noses further in front.

After all the exhibition football, the goal was soft. Phil Neville sent in a low cross into the West Ham area from the right and Pearce got the slightest touch to deflect the ball past Hislop.

Kanoute had West Ham's first shot eight minutes before break, which was blocked by Fabien Barthez before Hislop stopped a Yorke effort after a fine Giggs run.

West Ham brought on Joe Cole and Finnish defender Hannu Tihinen at half-time but the pressure was still on.

After 56 minutes Yorke scored United's third with an athletic diving header from a pinpoint Roy Keane cross following a neat exchange of passes with Phil Neville.

Keane and Giggs were then rested with youngsters Ronnie Wallwork and Jonathan Greening coming on.

West Ham began to get some possession and the tireless striker Kanoute forced another save from Barthez.

Kanoute was rewarded with a goal after 72 minutes when he rose first to meet a Pearce corner.

Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Brown, Silvestre, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Solskjaer, Yorke, Giggs.
Subs: Van Der Gouw, Clegg, Butt, Wallwork, Greening.

West Ham: Hislop, Stuart Pearce, Song, Winterburn, Sinclair, Carrick, Lomas, Moncur, Lampard, Kanoute, Camara.
Subs: Potts, Diawara, Cole, Tihinen, Forrest.

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough)

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See also:

01 Jan 01 |  Man Utd
Sir Alex: I'm staying at Man Utd
26 Dec 00 |  Eng Prem
Charlton suffer Hammer blows
26 Dec 00 |  Man Utd
Ferguson's Christmas wish list
01 Jan 01 |  Football
Awesome Man Utd extend lead
30 Dec 00 |  Eng Prem
Magpies grab draw against Man Utd
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