Five things we learned about Manchester United following West Ham win

Wayne Rooney

David Moyes' men ran out comfortable 3-1 winners against West Ham, as Welbeck, Januzaj and Young all scored for the home team before Carlton Cole's consolation.

It seems like every week United get a couple of strong results and a head of steam only to suffer a disappointing result that drags them back under the spotlight. After last weeks 3-0 win at Villa, and today's equally dominant victory over West Ham, is this now the point that fans could look forward with some optimism? 

Below are five talking points from the West Ham victory:

Danny Welbeck could be the man to benefit most from Robin Van Persie's absence

At times during United's excellent first half Danny Welbeck looked like a player United (and England) could rest their hopes on. Full of running, skilful and able to create and score goals, the England man played really well. The problem is, this was Welbeck's first Old Trafford goal in over a year. Performances like this only show how great a player Welbeck should be - not how great he can claim to be. With Van Persie set for a spell out injured, this is a real chance for Welbeck to lay claim to a serious first-team role, and everyone at the club will be hoping his knee injury is only minor.

Adnan Januzaj and Antonio Valencia look very much United's best wide options

Everyone knows that United have been struggling in midfield this season, with their central midfield issues a particularly popular topic to discuss. But in the wide positions, they actually possess some decent players, and it is more of a case of either getting them back to a semblance of form, or getting them the games to become a proper player. Against West Ham, Januzaj and Valencia looked very much the two best options if United are to play wingers, but both need to be trusted and persevered with despite the odd off-game. 

Is Jonny Evans now United's most important defender?

Moyes seems to have chosen the Northern Irishman as his standard left-sided centre back, with the remaining role open to the two veterans Vidic and Ferdinand, both of whom have struggled with fitness this year, and the two young pretenders, Smalling and Jones, who have proven themselves adequate in depleted positions. That his fitness has held true has helped him become the long-term mainstay of this United defence, and Evans has started nine of the last ten games, only missing the disappointing defeat at home to Everton (a result which if anything, he benefitted from missing out on). Smalling and Evans looked a good partnership as Moyes continues to play Jones in midfield, and the Belfast man could well enjoy his most active United season.

Rooney can play any attacking role he likes

Adopting a much more measured approach to his play, Rooney operated in a withdrawn position against West Ham, tempering his relentless attitude in favour of a composed, creative one. His passing was excellent throughout the game, and he displayed the sort of maturity and influence that saw Sir Alex Ferguson toy with the idea of playing him in central midfield in recent years. Having already proved that he can lead the line and score the goals required of a target man, Rooney certainly seems to be one of the most versatile forwards playing in the Premier League right now. All the more impressive considering that he can perform any of these attacking roles successfully.

Moyes needs to utilise squad strength to make this team competitive

A feature of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign is that he would be able to bring squad players into a team, and expect them to perform to the same level of his regulars. For Moyes so far this year, this kind of depth has been missing from his squad of 18. In the West Ham game, several individuals on the fringes of the team gave decent performances, and both Javier Hernandez and Ashley Young had something to offer when they came on the pitch. If players like Young, and the returning Fletcher, can continue to improve whenever they take to the field, United will be a much more rounded outfit once again.

image: © nasmac

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