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Manchester United vs West Ham United – Match Preview

Venue: Old Trafford Stadium

Referee: Mike Jones

Kick-off: 1.30 AM (IST), Thursday, 29th of November

Sir Alex will welcome his old friend Sam Allardyce, as United lock horns with the Hammers in a midweek Premier League tie at Old Trafford. The table toppers, assured of their attacking potential, will feel quite optimistic about their chances against the visitors from West London, yet one can never discount a side like West Ham, who hardly care about reputations when it comes to claiming some crucial points on offer.

Form Guide

Manchester United (Last 5 PL games WWWLW)

It’s been rather surprising how United have been getting away with league wins so many times without playing exceedingly well. There hasn’t been a single game out of the thirteen in the league where United have been at their best, yet have somehow kept the momentum going to stay at the top of the table. With a crucial clash waiting next week at the Etihad Stadium, Sir Alex will look to fiddle for the last time before settling on a bankable XI for the all important Manchester derby. For this game, the Scot would feel that his side certainly has enough to get another three points at home, though he’d certainly expect a more convincing performance from his side.

West Ham United (Last 5 PL games LDWDL)

Sam Allardyce and his lads from West London will look to build on a promising run on their return to the top tier of the English league this season. Seasoned campaigners like Nolan, Jarvis and Collins have been contributing consistently, which has led his side to 8th spot in the table – a lot better than what most pundits expected from the Hammers. Big Sam however had a tough evening at the London derby at White Hart Lane this past weekend, and will be looking to bounce back with a side gunning to make a telling impact at Old Trafford.

Squad sheets

Manchester United Probable XI: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Anderson, Welbeck, Rooney, Cleverley, Hernandez

Injuries: Valencia, Kagawa, Nani, Vidic

Suspensions: Paul Scholes

West Ham United Probable XI: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Collins, Reid, McCartney, Diame, Tomkins, Taylor, Nolan, Jarvis, Carroll

 Injuries: Benayoun, Diarra, Vaz Te, Collison

 Suspensions: Mark Noble

 Stat-check

 - There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 13 of West Ham’s last 16 away games in the Premier League.

 - They have trailed in nine league fixtures this season but come back to win on six of those occasions.

 - Ten of United’s league goals this season have been headers, more than any other club in the division.

 - Manchester United have won their last seven league matches against West Ham and scored 21 goals in those games to the Hammers’ three.

 Key encounter

Carroll vs Evans-Ferdinand

There is no secret how Sam Allardyce will want his side to play this game. Only few teams in the league could beat United with possession oriented football and the Hammers are certainly not one of them. With United defence having a known tendency to suffer against a physically dominant player up-front, the away side will be looking to cash-in on the aerial prowess of Andy Carroll. If the on-loan striker could lineup a few chances off some well-directed diagonals on his way, West Ham do have the ability to hang on to the result unlike QPR in the past weekend. It will be intriguing to see how the defensive duo of Ferdinand and Evans counter this potential threat that may well decide the result of the game.

 

What to expect

A game where United will dominate possession, while the Hammers will look to play some direct aerial football on the back of Carroll’s ability to thwart the United defence. United, still with some lessons learnt from the QPR game, would love restore some order on the defensive end, which would be a stiff task. The game could only be close if West Ham are clinical with their chances, else it will be another game where United should find themselves winning comfortably.

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