The London Stadium was awash with colour, emotion, hopes and dreams as it witnessed Sir Mo Farah clinch gold and Usain Bolt create history at the 2012 Olympic Games, before West Ham moved in and dressed it with claret and blue four years later.

However, when Manchester United visited the 80,000 capacity stadium in December last season during the pandemic it was bleak, hollow and the atmosphere was sterile, with just a few thousand West Ham fans allowed to attend for the first time in nine months.

David Moyes' side took the lead in that game, too, when Tomas Soucek opened the scoring and, with United hungover from their midweek Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain, it looked inevitable that the hosts would double their tally.

United weathered the storm and West Ham's pressure to go into the break to trail by just one, but it was clear they needed a remarkable turnaround to get anything from the game.

Impressively, they came out in the second half and orchestrated just that.

Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his return to Manchester United.

Manchester United enjoyed a sensational transfer window, securing the signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and... oh, yes, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Now, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be under pressure to deliver silverware with his star-studded front line. We cover every angle of the club at the MEN and with our dedicated United newsletter, you'll never miss a headline. It's free and there's no spam.

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Almost out of nowhere, Paul Pogba found an equaliser with an expertly taken first-time strike from distance and three minutes later Mason Greenwood pounced to give United an unlikely lead, then Marcus Rashford scored to put the result beyond doubt.

It was trademark United in the 2020/21 season, looking pedestrian and devoid of creativity in the first half before coming alive in the second to spark a comeback. But that pattern is hardly conducive for a team that has ambitions to win the Premier League title.

Solskjaer knows that, as he explained in a recent press conference.

"I don't know how many points but we won so many going one goal down and you can't afford to do that with fans away from home," Solskjaer warned and his caution was not misplaced.

United's old habits crept back in away at Southampton recently when they conceded the first goal on the south coast and, while they secured a point thanks to Greenwood, it was an underwhelming result and a squandered opportunity.

Although United overcame their slow start against West Ham last campaign to win 3-1, the London club will have now their full home support behind them and it won't be an easy task for the Reds to claw back the deficit if they concede first in Sunday's clash.

If they can deliver an improved, mature performance, though, they can demonstrate the progress they've made.

United will visit West Ham at the London Stadium 288 days after their previous visit in the Premier League and since then they've lost the Europa League final, signed Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and completed a sensational return for Cristiano Ronaldo.

With those additions, United have to go close to clinching major honours this term and starting well in fixtures will be vital to that.

There's no better place than West Ham - the scene of one of last season's best comebacks - to prove they don't always have to start slowly.

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