Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus consigned makeshift Manchester United to another defeat as West Ham snatched a 2-0 victory at the London Stadium.
England hopeful Bowen scored his 12th goal of the season and Ghana winger Kudus his seventh in 12 appearances as United were sent spinning to a 20th loss of 2023, their worst tally in 34 years.
For 72 minutes two poor teams were cancelling each other out in a dreadful spectacle until Bowen broke the deadlock.
And six minutes later Kudus added a second which, while flattering West Ham, condemned United to a 13th defeat in their last 26 matches.
With Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane all absent, United boss Erik Ten Hag was forced to draft 19-year-old Willy Kambwala in at centre-half for a first senior appearance.
Kambwala acquitted himself well enough but it was another lifeless performance from a thoroughly dispirited side.
The only saving grace for United for long periods was that West Ham, ‘fresh’ from their midweek Carabao Cup mauling at Liverpool, were just as bad.
That was despite David Moyes playing his strongest team, having made six changes for the chastening 5-1 Anfield defeat.
After 33 turgid minutes Antony came up with United’s first shot on target, a tame 20-yard effort easily held by Alphonse Areola.
Moments later came the best chance of the opening period, Antony playing in Alejandro Garnacho whose low finish was kept out by the right boot of Areola.
Garnacho saw another chance deflected over before Areola fumbled a Kobbie Mainoo drive which he was relieved to see roll wide.
Antony’s low cross then just evaded Rasmus Hojlund with a stretching Garnacho only able to turn the ball into the side-netting.
Just before half-time Tomas Soucek met a James Ward-Prowse free-kick with a header which flew wide.
But a horrible, hotch-potch of a first half was probably best summed up when Soucek needed lengthy treatment on a facial injury inflicted by the back of the head of his own team-mate, Emerson Palmieri.
After the break Andre Onana did well to tip a powerful Bowen header from Ward-Prowse’s corner over the crossbar.
Ten Hag introduced the out-of-favour Marcus Rashford for the ineffective Hojlund just before the hour.
But it was Bowen who made the breakthrough when he played the ball to Lucas Paqueta, collected the return pass and bundled the ball in off Onana.
And Brazil star Paqueta was the creator once more with his fifth assist in a row in the Premier League.
He slipped in Kudus to kill off United with a fine low finish to deepen the gloom surrounding Ten Hag’s sorry side.