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EFL Cup Round-up | Man United breeze past West Ham as Arsenal's unbeaten run comes to an end

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SportsCafe Desk

12/01/2016

An Anthony Martial brace, sandwiched between two Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals, saw Manchester United thump West Ham United 4-1 in the English League Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Elsewhere, Arsenal's 19-game unbeaten streak was ended by Southampton, who won 2-0 at the Emirates stadium.

United, who conceded a goal within two minutes against West Ham in the Premier League two days ago, went ahead through Ibrahimovic by the second minute. A long clearance by West Ham goalie Adrian was headed back to the feet of Wayne Rooney, whose pass bisected Hammers' midfield to release Henrikh Mkhitaryan goalwards.

The Armenian ran at the defense and backheeled the ball into the path of Ibrahimovic and the Swede clipped the ball past an onrushing Adrian.

United created several opportunities as both Ibrahimovic and Martial came close to scoring. But it was ex-United Ashley Fletcher who levelled the score with his first goal for the Hammers after following up a Dmitri Payet shot that David de Gea found too hot to handle. 

United got off quickly in the second half as well and took the lead early on through Martial, following some lax defending by West Ham. Mkhitaryan was released down the right by Antonio Valencia, and the former Dortmund player just cut the ball back into the path of Martial, who placed it into the corner with his first touch.

About 15 minutes later, Martial again made a run into the box from the left wing and this time was found by a Valencia cross to double the home side's lead.

United sent on Schweinsteiger for the first time this season and the German international was involved in the build-up to Ibrahimovic's second goal in the dying embers of the game.

United boss Jose Mourinho, who was handed another touchline ban by the FA for his antics during the Premier League match against West Ham, told MUTV after the game that he was "really happy" with the performace.

“We won comfortably with beautiful, attacking football. Goals plus performance equals real happiness. I’m pleased with the result, because the performance is something that we’re used to.

“We are playing very, very well at home and this was more of the same. I think that, after their goal, we had 10 minutes where we felt it. The players couldn’t hide that, because West Ham equalised with their first shot, but in the second half the team got the confidence to play again,”he added.

Meanwhile, Arsenal lost after Arsene Wenger made 10 changes to the team that beat Bournemouth on Sunday. The young side were swept aside by the Saints who progressed to the semi-finals of League Cup for the first time in almost 30 years.

Jordy Clasie scored his first for the club with a piledriver in the 13th minute to give Southampton the lead. Arsenal struggled to create chances in the first half and the Saints made them pay for it when Ryan Bertrand doubled the score with a well-placed shot to the bottom corner of the goal.

United will face Hull City in the two-legged semi-final, while Liverpool, who beat Leeds United on Tuesday, will lock horns with Southampton, when the competition resumes in January.

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