Manchester United look to gain some much-needed momentum as they host West Ham United at Old Trafford.
Manchester United are slowly starting to do justice to the abundance of talent at their disposal. A string of good performances and some rather unfortunate draws, the latest being the 1-1 result against Arsenal, was backed by a 4-0 thumping of Feyenoord during the mid-week.
The Red Devils would look to cover some ground on their top-4 and title rivals with a win over West Ham United. The Hammers have been largely unconvincing in the current season but they produced one of their best displays of their current campaign against Tottenham last weekend only to get their heart broken by a narrow 3-2 loss, thanks to a quickfire double from Harry Kane in the last few minutes of the game.
While United would look to capture some form, West Ham United sit precariously close towards the bottom end of the table and would love to nab a point or three at Old Trafford. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
David De Gea is expected to be back in the starting lineup after being rested for the Europa League match in the mid-week. Central defensive duo of Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly, who are out with injuries to their knee and toe, are unavailable for the game, which could see Jose Mourinho keep the entire back four from the mid-week Europa league game against Feyenoord.
Elsewhere, Michael Carrick may be rested and Ander Herrera is likely to be called upon. Wayne Rooney was exceptional on Thursday and could make his way back into the starting lineup while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is likely to be on the bench, despite a strong showing in the mid-week game.
Juan Mata’s form means that he is almost a guaranteed starter while Mourinho would face the dilemma of choosing between the likes of Martial, Rashford, Lingard and Depay to deploy at the right wing, with Mata likely to be deployed on the left.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1/4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Blind, Shaw; Herrera, Pogba; Martial, Rooney, Mata; Ibrahimovic
West Ham United
Club captain Mark Noble is set to return to the fold and is available for selection but defender Winston Reid misses out due to an automatic 1-match suspension. Pedro Obiang missed training sessions earlier in the week due to an injury but is set to be available for selection for the Sunday fixture.
Andy Carroll, who has been a long-term absentee due to injuries, has started training and could be in line to return to the starting lineup against Manchester United. Elsewhere, the quartet of Reece Oxford, Sam Byram, Gokhan Tore and Arthur Masuaku are still sidelined with injuries and are unavailable for the match.
It would be interesting to see whether Hammers manager Slaven Bilic retains the 3-man defensive setup for the Old Trafford game or reverts back to the original and more natural 4-man setup.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Randolph; Kouyate, Collins, Ogbonna; Antonio, Obiang, Noble, Cresswell; Lanzini, Sakho, Payet
1. Manchester United have lost just two out of 23 previous meetings with West Ham at Old Trafford, winning 20 of them.
2. Michail Antonio has scored his last six Premier League goals via headers and is set to be an aerial threat on Sunday.
3. Wayne Rooney has 12 goals and 4 assists in 20 appearances against the Hammers
4. The Manchester United captain needs just one goal to match Sir Bobby Charlton’s tally of 249 goals for Manchester United and just one to eclipse the legend to become the club’s top goalscorer in its history.
5. Manchester United have had 203 attempts at goal this season up until now, which is 80 more than their previous season’s count in the first 12 games of the season.
1. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.70
Manchester United 3 – 1 West Ham United
Manchester United are slowly looking like the team they were tipped to be, with the amount of talent at Jose Mourinho’s disposal. The Portuguese manager seems to be finally getting a hang of his best eleven and preferred eighteen. West Ham are at the bottom end of the table and their recent 3-2 loss to London rivals Tottenham could end up doing more damage to their morale.
Both the teams have a depleted defensive lineup and it would be tough to see either of them not scoring. But Manchester United have enough quality and form behind them to push them towards a clear victory over West Ham. The Hard Tackle feels that the Red Devils would win by at least a 2 goal margin or more at Old Trafford on Sunday.
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