On Sunday, September 19, Manchester United visited London Stadium to take on West Ham United. The home team took the lead in the 30th minute, thanks to Saïd Benrahma’s strike.
In the 35th minute of the game, 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo scored the equalizer to become the second-oldest player after Ryan Giggs to score for Manchester United.
While in the 89th minute, Jesse Lingard scored a stunning goal to give Manchester United the lead. When the spectators thought that was the end of the match, United’s defender Luke Shaw committed a handball in the eighteen-yard box.
In the wisdom of coach David Moyes, the Scottish coach decided to bring in 34-year-old Mark Noble to take the spot-kick. Noble who is the captain of the club and has been enjoying less game time due to his age failed to score.
For the first time in his professional football career at Manchester United, David de Gea saved the spot-kick in the additional 5th minute of the game. Hence, the match ended 1-2 in favor of Manchester United.
Until the game ended, Mark Noble who has less than a season left on his contract with West Ham United did not make any other contact with the ball except when he took the missed spot-kick.
After the game, many blamed coach David Moyes for taking such a tactical risk of bringing in a player for the sole purpose of taking a spot-kick.
In response to the critics, David Moyes argued that he decided to bring in Noble due to his penalty record. He also argued that the West Ham United penalty record has not been encouraging.
David Moyes said: “It was a proper game; the two teams went at it. In the end, it was very close to a draw. The thinking behind it [bringing Noble on for the penalty] was simply his record. I’d have been more disappointed if I hadn’t made the decision. I made the decision, and it didn’t quite work today.
“I was more influenced by Noble’s record, rather than West Ham’s record [of four misses in the last five penalties]. We’ve given Manchester United a run for their money, the more we do that at this level against the top teams, the more we will improve as well.”
On the other hand, Manchester United coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, argued that Manchester United deserved two penalties over the tackles on Ronaldo in West Ham’s eighteen-yard box.
On West Ham’s missed penalty, he noted that he has seen Noble scored penalties in the past and praised his goalkeeper for stopping the English midfielder from doing so again.
“Ronaldo’s first and last penalty appeals were stonewall penalties”, the coach said. “Hopefully it’s not going to be a case of Cristiano never getting a penalty.
“I’ve seen Noble score so many penalties, but David has saved two points for us today. I was pleased with the attacking football and movement, we have to work better defensively, that is something we will work on.”