Romelu Lukaku gives Manchester United dream start against West Ham – The Guardian

Lukaku ended a hugely satisfying afternoon waving appreciatively to the Stretford End and he might have finished with the ball as a souvenir had it not been for a brilliant saving tackle by Pablo Zabaleta, one of three West Ham debutants, to deny him a hat-trick just after the hour.

Mkhitaryan’s precise pass left Martial with the opportunity to stroke in the third goal and the away end was rapidly emptying as Pogba added the final flourish and Hart was beaten for the second time in three minutes. “The fans have reason to be optimistic,” Mourinho said.

Another manager might have felt duty-bound to involve such a costly signing. Mourinho does not operate with those kinds of constraints and Phil Jones was recalled alongside Eric Bailly to make sure Javier Hernández did not have a profitable return to Old Trafford.

Potential champions? You wouldn’t bet your mortgage against it and, for what it is worth at this time of the season, this rout puts them top already. Mourinho also made the point afterwards that we should anticipate the team getting better. “I’m not going to say the performance was perfect because it wasn’t perfect. There is still room for improvement.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was another of the star performers and, not for the first time, it felt faintly ludicrous that Chelsea had allowed Nemanja Matic to defect to one of their title rivals. Matic fitted in seamlessly and the home side were not flattered by the late one-two when the substitute Anthony Martial slotted in the third goal, quickly followed by the brilliantly effective Pogba knocking another in from 20 yards. It was a tepid show from West Ham and they have now lost 11 opening-day fixtures in the Premier League era, more than any other club.

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