Martial, Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan star in Manchester United win as Schweinsteiger makes cameo
League Cup quarter-final, Old Trafford – Manchester United 4 (Ibrahimovic 2 90+4, Martial 48 62) West Ham 1 (Fletcher 35)
Manchester United reached the semi-final of the League Cup thanks to an excellent performance against a West Ham side who were every bit as poor as they were good
As on Sunday, it took less than three minutes for the first goal of the game to arrive, Wayne Rooney's reverse-pass finding Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who backheeled into the path of Zlatan Ibrahimovic; a dinked finish over Adrian, who studded him in the knee while he was at it, and United were ahead.
Such was United's dominance and so miserable were West Ham that the game ought really to have been over inside the first half-hour, but United's finishing was loose once more, and on 35 minutes, David de Gea failed to hold Dimitri Payet's shot, teeing up Ashley Fletcher for the equaliser.
United, though, began the second period well, and Anthony Martial soon put them ahead, sweeping home Mkhitaryan's cross. And just after the hour, the game was virtually over, another cross from the right - this time from Antonio Valencia - found Martial, who scored with ease once more.
Bastian Schweinsteiger made a late cameo from the bench - with each touch meriting a huge cheer from the Old Trafford faithful - before Ander Herrera put one on a plate for Ibrahimovic in injury time. Finally, the thrashing that United have been threatening for some weeks now has arrived.
United face Hull City in the semi-finals, with the first leg to be played at Old Trafford.
Bastian Schweinsteiger comes onReuters
Has Mourinho found his wingers? Mkhitaryan and Martial are Manchester United's best wide attackers, but for one reason or another have barely featured this season. It is now inconceivable that they won't both start at Everton on Sunday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United): Amazingly, the best player in a team far better than United is still quite good at football. Agian, he played with speed, verve, confidence and imagination, making two goals and generally looking a class act.
Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan in action with West Ham United's Ashley FletcherReuters
3' - GOAL! United 1-0 West Ham (Ibrahimovic) This is a lovely goal, Mkhitaryan set free thanks to Rooney's reverse-pass through the middle. Moving left, he backheels into the path of Ibrahimovic, who waits for Adrian to commit himself and lifts over him, taking a whack in the process.
7' - CHANCE! Zlatan's finishing is not at all good these days. Rooney does beautifully to draw defenders and roll him through - he has a clear sight of goal. But his firm sidefooter doesn't have enough on it to beat Adrian,nor is it in the corner, and the keeper saves the follow-up too.
23' - BLOCK! Martial runs at Antonio, who tackles him then dallies and is himself tackled by Zlatan on the by-line. The ball is cut-back for Mkhitaryan, who rolls it into the path of the onrushing Herrera. He makes decent contact, too, but Reid blocks superbly.
35' - GOAL! United 1-1 West Ham (Fletcher) Obiang skips and powers through midfield and finds Payet on the left. Cresswell's run outside him takes a defender away and the ensuing shot is firm enough, but De Gea has no business spilling it - certainly not back into the, er, mixer, but he does anyway and Fletcher slides home the equaliser.
48 - GOAL! United 2-1 West Ham (Martial) Payet, deep inside his own half, tries to lift a clearance when he should bash one, and Mkhitaryan heads down the line to Valencia, running onto a backheeled return and breaking into the box. He has options, with Zlatan coming short, but instead he cuts back for Martial who powerstrokes high into the net.
56' - SAVE! Lovely from United, Carrick into Zlatan who feathers around the corner for Rooney, who slides into the path of Martial. Stepping over the ball beautifully, he allows it onto his left foot, but Adrian spreads himself well to block.
62' - GOAL! Manchester United 3-1 West Ham (Martial) Lovely from Mkhitaryan, found by Valencia and clipping a lovely return before reclaiming possession and finding Rooney. The attack continues and moves back right, Herrera playing a square ball for Zlatan who's reverse pass puts Valencia in. He squares, and Martial sweeps home from five yards. This is over.
86' - COMETH THE BASTIAN! Well whaddaya know: Bastian Schweinsteiger arrives, replacing Anthony Martial.
90+3' - GOAL! United 4-1 West Ham (Ibrahimovic) Good ball down the left from Schweinsteiger for Herrera, whose stepover fools Kouyate, beating him down the outside. A brisque clip back for Zlatan, a firm sidefooted finish, and this is now a kicking.
Manchester United have reached the League Cup semi-final for the 14th time; only Liverpool (17) have made more.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has netted five goals in his last four apps for Man Utd (all comps), after a run of six without one.