There was to be no repeat positive result for West Ham United at Old Trafford Wednesday evening, as Manchester United defeated their repeat visitors 4-1 in the EFL Cup Quarterfinals.
Despite another bright performance from 21-year-old Ashley Fletcher culminating in a 36th minute goal, Slaven Bilic's side could not improve upon their well earned draw on Sunday in the same stadium, as his decision to play three centerbacks was torn apart by United's talented attacking crew.
Showing how this match would not be a direct repeat of its previous encounter, the Hammers were the ones to concede early this time. In just the second minute of the match, West Ham were punished for their centerback formation, as Winston Reid's forward central positioning left major spaces that Angelo Ogbonna and Chiekhou Kouyate couldn't prevent from being exploited. That lead to Henrik Mkhitaryan finding Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the Swedish superstar to finish past Adrian for the opener.
There was nothing that the Spanish keeper, getting the start ahead of new No.1 net minder and Sunday's hero Darren Randolph, could do about the other three goals from United either. This time, Anthony Martial's two goals stemmed from positional mistakes from Ogbonna and especially Kouyate, who left the young Frenchman open on each of his second half tallies to give United a 3-1 lead.
Ibrahimovic would put icing on top of a clear United victory, scoring his second goal in the last seconds of the match as United ensured their place into another League Cup semifinal.
With their back to back at Old Trafford behind them, West Ham return to their difficult month against Premier League elite this weekend, when they take on Arsenal at the Olympic Stadium Saturday.