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Man United secure second, but little else, with 0-0 draw at West Ham

Man United secure second, but little else, with 0-0 draw at West Ham

ESPN

LONDON, England -- Jose Mourinho has insisted he did not drop Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial from his team against West Ham as punishment for their performance against Brighton and revealed they will both be recalled this weekend.

Mourinho picked Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard to lead the line for the 0-0 draw at the London Stadium in the absence of the injured Romelu Lukaku, leaving Rashford and Martial -- who both started the dire defeat at the Amex Stadium -- on the bench.

However, they will both start against Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday, according to the United manager, with places still up for grabs ahead of the FA Cup final with Chelsea.

"Alexis and Lingard didn't play the last match," said Mourinho, after watching his team get the point they needed to ensure they finish second this season. "We tried to organise the team to get that point but to give opportunities to players to play.

"Even the ones who probably play the final, to rest for a couple of weeks is probably not the best preparation for that.

"Marcus and Anthony played against Brighton. Today was for Alexis and Lingard and Sunday is a game for Martial and Rashford."

United might have beaten West Ham had goalkeeper Adrian not made good first-half saves from Lingard, Luke Shaw and Sanchez.

But Mourinho admitted he had been happy to settle for a draw as the game wore on, a result that means United will record their highest league finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Mourinho added: "Any team that goes to this kind of match when you need something, to get some objective, you need to fight for that.

"The best way to fight for the point was to try to win the match and be safe which is what we tried.

"But when the game goes to minute 70, 75 you don't lose. You do the job, get the point, finish second and face the game on Sunday with a different perspective.

"I think the game was quite good. We kept control of the game.

"I think we deserved the point and deserved the second position. When it is not possible to be champion, second position is the best position available which is what we got."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester City may have broken the record for most points this season but the bad news for relegation-threatened Southampton is they now want 100 points, according to midfielder Bernardo Silva.

Pep Guardiola's side set a new Premier League record on Wednesday night when their 3-1 victory over Brighton took them onto 97 points for the season as well as breaking records for most goals and most wins.

Avoiding defeat to the newly-crowned champions on Sunday would guarantee Southampton's Premier League survival, but Silva says they want to be the first top-flight side to bring up a century of points.

"Now we've broken all the records, we want to go for the three digits -- 100 points. It's something nobody ever did before -- and we want to do it," the Portuguese international told reporters.

"It was a very special moment [breaking the record]. We've said a few times, of course we wanted to win the league but if we can win it and break the records it would be even better because you stay in the history of the Premier League.

"We were able to break the win record, the goals and the points. To be part of that is something special and I'm very happy about it.

"The manager and all the staff told us they wanted it, they said: 'Let's break the records because it will be something special.' And it will be something that maybe in a few years we can still tell our kids and grandkids about."

It would cap an already memorable season for Silva following his move from Ligue 1 champions Monaco in the summer.

He scored the goal that saw City set a new record of Premier League goals in a season before Fernandinho went on to extend their tally to 105.

"Of course I want to get even better," he added. "I will work as hard as I can to be able to help the team even more.

"I'm settled here, the players, the staff, the fans, they all help me and I feel better and better every day."

While the 23-year-old is keen to establish himself at the Etihad Stadium, the win over Brighton saw Yaya Toure say his final farewell to the club and Silva said it was an honour to be part of his postmatch celebrations.

"Obviously Yaya is a Man City legend, it was fantastic for all us and for me personally to share this moment with him," he said.

"It's been here for such a long time, he's won so many trophies with City, he 's been one of the best players ever for this club and to able to enjoy"

One more in the final game would see Silva become the club's seventh player this term to reach double figures across all competitions after Sergio Aguero (30), Raheem Sterling (23), Gabriel Jesus (16), Leroy Sane (14), Kevin De Bruyne (12) and David Silva (10).

He said: "It wouldn't be my best - in Monaco I think 11 was my best - but, of course, I'll try to do it.

"The way we play, everyone is important so everyone is involved in scoring goals. It might be difficult for [goalkeeper] Ederson to score but we will try!''

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

LONDON -- Arsene Wenger predicts that the Premier League will soon face competition from a European super league that will force all domestic matches to be played in midweek.

Wenger spelled out his vision for the future of European football ahead of his final game as Arsenal manager, and also said the Premier League would have to shrink from 20 teams to 16 if it comes true.

According to the Frenchman, the next step in football's "evolution" is for a European league with the top teams from each country playing during the weekends, with the domestic leagues having to schedule their matches for Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday.

"It will happen, and it will be soon," Wenger said ahead of Sunday's trip to Huddersfield. "It will be soon because it is a way for other clubs to fight against the Premier League."

Such a scenario would mean a massive reformation of the game, as the lucrative Champions League currently schedules its games for Tuesdays and Wednesday evenings, with a majority of domestic league games played on the weekend.

But Wenger thinks that will change because broadcasters pay more money for weekend games.

"Because the Champions League doesn't sell well anymore," Wenger said. "There's a contrast there because if you look at the audiences of the Champions League it is not fantastic. But if you have Real vs. Barcelona, or Real vs. Arsenal, or Manchester United vs Bayern Munich every week the audiences will be good."

While there are currently no concrete plans for such a European league, Wenger called the development "inevitable" as other countries try to compete with the riches of the Premier League -- which has by far the highest broadcast revenues of any league in Europe.

He said: "It is inevitable. Why? First of all, to share money between the big clubs and small clubs will become a problem. Why?

"Because the big clubs will say that if two smaller clubs are playing each other nobody wants to watch it. People want to watch quality."

So what will that mean for the Premier League? According to Wenger, it will simply have to shrink.

"If you want to make it more attractive you have to go down to 16 [teams] and make a real competition of it," Wenger said. "But it will be smaller if it goes to Europe."

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.

Manchester United drew 0-0 with West Ham at the London Stadium on Thursday to ensure they will end this season as runners-up in the Premier League. It was a game played at a pace that suggested both teams had other things on their mind; West Ham's players are looking forward to a summer on the beach after securing their survival, while United have got an FA Cup final against Chelsea in nine days.

Positives

Jose Mourinho's team got the point they needed to secure second place in the Premier League table and kept another clean sheet. But beyond that, there was not much else to celebrate. Jesse Lingard was bright before he was substituted in the second half and Luke Shaw did not do much wrong on his return to the team.

Negatives

If Mourinho was looking for a statement after that dire defeat to Brighton, he did not get it. United had enough chances to win, and Adrian made one or two good saves, but Mourinho promised before the game his team had come to the London Stadium to win and -- especially in the second half -- it didn't look like that was the case.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- It felt like Mourinho was making a point with his team selection, making eight changes and starting with a formation that called for two strikers but leaving both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on the bench.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK David De Gea, 6 -- West Ham had only two shots on target and both were routine for the Spaniard. It was another clean sheet and he will be a deserved winner of the league's Golden Glove award. If he has this easy a day against Chelsea next week, Mourinho will be very happy.

DF Antonio Valencia, 6 -- Playing as the right wing-back, he got himself in a good position to set up Alexis Sanchez in the first half only for Adrian to save his shot. Had one other opportunity that he should have made more of but, as it often does, his crossing let him down.

DF Victor Lindelof, 6 -- The Swede has improved as the season has gone on, but still looks far more comfortable in a back three. Starting on the right of three centre-backs, he covered behind Valencia well and was tidy on the ball.

DF Chris Smalling, 5 -- One of only three players to keep his place after the defeat at Brighton. Endured a difficult start, handing two chances to Marko Arnautovic inside the first 12 minutes. He settled down after that and should still get the nod against Chelsea.

DF Phil Jones, 6 -- The England defender is still hoping to book his place in Mourinho's FA Cup final team and probably did enough against West Ham. He didn't do much wrong, although David Moyes' side rarely threatened after the opening 20 minutes.

DF Luke Shaw, 7 -- Only his second Premier League start in three months, he might have scored his first United goal had Adrian not deflected his fierce drive onto the post. The 22-year-old got enough nods of approval from Mourinho to suggest his manager, for once, approved of his performance.

MF Ander Herrera, 6 -- With Nemanja Matic given the night off, the Spaniard was asked to anchor the midfield with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay pushed further forward. He harried and pressed and kept the ball moving -- everything that you expect from Herrera.

MF Scott McTominay, 7 -- Mourinho's newly crowned player of the year was handed his first league start since victory over Liverpool two months ago. It was his snap shot in the first half that triggered United's only real spell of dominance. One of the only players who can be proud of his performance.

MF Paul Pogba, 6 -- One of those games that seemed to pass Pogba by. As always, there were moments where the Frenchman looked like he might charge through on his own, but there were also misplaced passes and the odd poor decision.

FW Jesse Lingard, 7 -- Picked in a central role in support of Sanchez, he had a good first half. He forced Adrian into two good saves before half-time and was one of United's better players. He was quieter in the second half, but was still unlucky to be replaced by Rashford. Still, he did enough to suggest he should start the FA Cup final.

FW Alexis Sanchez, 6 -- Injured for the defeat to Brighton, the Chilean started up front in the absence of Romelu Lukaku. He had one clear sight of goal but saw his shot well saved by Adrian. He worked hard, ran and battled, but that bit of edge in and around West Ham's penalty area was missing.

Substitutes

FW Marcus Rashford, NR -- It looked like both teams had settled for a draw by the time he came on and he couldn't do anything to change it.

DF Ashley Young NR -- Brought on very late as Mourinho looked to run down the clock and hold on to his point.

DF Eric Bailly, NR -- Good to see him back on the pitch, but he didn't get a kick.

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

LONDON, England -- Three points as Manchester United draw 0-0 with West Ham at the London Stadium.

1. Man United get over the line

Jose Mourinho wanted the point that guaranteed Manchester United will finish second in the Premier League this season, and he got it -- but not much else.

His team drew a league game for the first time in 2018 to make sure they are runners-up to Manchester City. It is deserved, but games like this show just how difficult it will be to bridge the gap to Pep Guardiola's champions.

Man United were not at full strength on Thursday night, with Nemanja Matic rested and Romelu Lukaku nursing an ankle injury that might yet keep him out of the FA Cup final. They probably still should have won -- Luke Shaw hit the post in the first half -- but really it was an instantly forgettable 90 minutes.

With West Ham already safe from relegation, it often played at preseason-friendly pace, something not helped by the sunny evening and the half-full stadium. The United fans behind the goal did their best to create something resembling an atmosphere with songs in support of Sir Alex Ferguson, who is currently recovering from brain surgery, while West fans occasionally roared with approval usually when Marko Arnautovic, their best player, went close. He might have scored twice in the opening stages as United struggled to shake off the disappointment of their dismal defeat to Brighton last Friday.

Before Shaw -- recalled as one of eight changes Mourinho made to the team that was so limp at the Amex Stadium -- came closest, Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez both saw efforts saved by Adrian. It was noteworthy that Lingard and Sanchez started up front in Mourinho's 3-5-2 formation, leaving Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to squirm on the bench. The move left them in no uncertain terms that they had blown their chance to impress against Brighton.

As the game dragged toward its conclusion, there was a brief flair-up between Paul Pogba and Mark Noble. The melee that ensured brought the biggest reaction of the night, which tells you everything you need to know.

2. Places up for grabs at the back ahead of FA Cup final

Jose Mourinho said before the FA Cup semifinal with Tottenham last month that there were very few guaranteed starters at Wembley. A week away from a final against Chelsea, his defenders, in particular, are in a similar situation.

Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian, starters at Brighton on Friday, didn't even make the bench against West Ham. Eric Bailly's exile continued, with the Ivory Coast international named only among the substitutes. Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones started in a back three with Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw at wing-back. It appears likely Valencia and Ashley Young, Mourinho's first-choice full-backs, will start the cup final a week on Saturday.

Smalling -- the club's fourth-highest appearance-maker this season -- will fancy his chances, too, although he struggled to cope with Arnautovic at the London Stadium. The Austria international might have scored twice in the opening 15 minutes, both times failing to capitalise on Smalling mistakes.

Most United fans would like to see Bailly's name on the team sheet against Chelsea, but now without a start in more than a month, he is likely to be rusty. It leaves Jones and Lindelof: one quick and strong, the other better on the ball. Jones is most likely to get the nod, but as Mourinho showed with his team here, he is not afraid to spring a surprise.

3. Moyes has earned new West Ham contract

On a sunny evening at a stadium that was only half full, it was a game that at times resembled a preseason friendly. David Moyes, however, will not have cared. The atmosphere at the London Stadium was relaxed in part because West Ham supporters know they will be watching Premier League football next season. And that means Moyes has done his job.

The Scot took over from Slaven Bilic in November with West Ham in the relegation places. It wasn't an appointment that filled everyone at the club with enthusiasm, a lot like the reaction when he took over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in 2013. But unlike his short-lived spell at United, he has been a success at West Ham.

The question now is what happens from here. Moyes is out of contract at the end of the season and said he has had an offer from another Premier League club. West Ham will want to establish themselves as a top-half club, one that is challenging for Europe rather than battling relegation. Moyes has earned the opportunity to prove he can be the manager to deliver it.

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

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