Manchester United welcome Westham to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon in what could be a pivotal weekend in the race for the Premier League’s top four
Coming from a fresh victory over Brentford on Wednesday, Manchester United seems finally back from their slump form with the rejuvenation of their Portuguese talisman Bruno Fernandez who has contributed to 4 goals In their last two matches.
While on the other hand, Westham slumped to a demoliarsing defeat in the hands of Bielsa’s men last week. The 3:2 home defeat against Leeds is a bad omen from a side who missed out on Champions League qualification last season and looking to cement their place in top four this season.
Having said all these, This encounter is a genuine six-pointer in which Manchester United can leapfrog West Ham into fourth if they win, whereas David Moyes’ side can also pull five points ahead of United with a win at Old Trafford and with Chelsea hosting Tottenham on Sunday, a win for either side at Old Trafford would be an early declaration of intent for Top 4 this season.
Ronaldo made headlines with his reaction to being taken off in the second half by interim boss Ralf Rangnick against Brentford and the Portuguese forward is a doubt for Manchester United’s match against West Ham due to a neck complaint.
“Cristiano is a question mark because he has a problem with his neck,” the United interim boss told MUTV
“He received treatment yesterday for two or three hours and we will have to wait to see how he feels today.
Victor Lindelof will not be involved after his family home was broken into on Wednesday night.
Jadon Sancho may also be missing out after being giving compassionate leave following a bereavement.
Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire are in contention while Luke Shaw and Edinson Cavani are also likely to miss out once more after suffering issues in training with Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s illness still set to keep him sidelined again.
West Ham duo Tomas Soucek and Kurt Zouma will undergo late fitness assessments before being given the green light to feature at Old Trafford. Zouma (hamstring) has not featured since December’s 3-2 victory over Chelsea.
Czech Republic midfielder Soucek has returned to training this week after being tested for Covid last week, while Said Benrahma could feature after returning from AFCON following Algeria’s elimination, but club captain Mark Noble (knee) remains out.
Manchester United possible starting lineup(4231):
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood, Fernandes, Elanga; Rashford
West Ham United possible starting lineup(4231):
Fabianski; Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals; Antonio
- Manchester United have won 20 of their 25 Premier League home games against West Ham (D3 L2) and are unbeaten in their last 13 against them at Old Trafford since a 1-0 loss in May 2007.
- This is just the fifth time in Premier League history West Ham are facing Manchester United while above them in the table, with the Hammers failing to win any of the previous such games; 1-2 in August 1995, 0-0 in August 1998, 1-2 in September 2014 and 1-3 in December 2020.
- Having lost their first home Premier League match of 2022 against Wolves, Manchester United are looking to avoid losing their first two home league games in a year for the first time since 1985, when they lost to Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City under Ron Atkinson.
- Manchester United have lost their last two Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on Saturday, going down 4-2 against Leicester and 4-1 against Watford this season. The Red Devils have never lost three consecutive matches in this kick-off slot in the competition before.
- Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has never won an away Premier League match against the Red Devils in 14 attempts (D4 L10), with only Harry Redknapp managing more games at Old Trafford without winning in the Premier League era (15 games).
- Cristiano Ronaldo has been involved in seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances against West Ham (6 goals, 1 assist)
Manchester United 2 : 2 Westham
The importance of today’s clash cannot be underestimated as 4/6 of the previous top four battles were determined by point(s) less than 3 points.
Games between these sides at Old Trafford have been fairly tight in recent years, indeed there have only been two goals in the last three Manchester meetings between these two.
However, West Ham games have been yielding plenty of goals of recent (22 in last five league matches) and Manchester United just can’t keep clean sheets at home (just one all season) so we might just get a more open game than we have become used to.
Ivan Toney’s late goal means United have now gone five league games without a clean sheet and this defensive fragility is likely to be tested by David Moyes’ men especially their star man Jarrod Bowen who has contributed to six goals and seven assists this season.
However, the visitors have also kept just one clean sheet and conceded 11 goals in their last six league matches and will likely be punished by born-again maestro Bruno Fernandez, making it an high-scoring game with both teams to score (yes) and over 2.5 goals encounter.