West Ham v Manchester United: Preview, Team News & Prediction
With a fabulous FA Cup victory over Cambridge United at Old Trafford to enter the last 16 of the tournament goals by Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and the star that is rising James Wilson, why not be positive against the Hammers. United are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 matches in the Premier League. However, West Ham United are strong at home being undefeated in all but 1 of their last 10 games in E13.
Contrasted with the fact the Red Devils have registered a mere 3 away wins, but vitally have only suffered defeat twice, which clearly highlights the fact that Louis van Gaal is building a team that primarily is going to be difficult to beat. Yet the quality of defensive players that the manager has at his disposal will surely be addressed in the summer transfer window when targets will be more easily persuaded to make the switch to Old Trafford, should Champions League football be part of the package to entice world class players to Manchester.
We were last beaten by the Irons in 2007 in the Premier League, 2-1 at Upton Park, and the Hammers did the double over United in the previous season 2006-7 recording 1-0 wins. To highlight ties against the East London side need care – they are tricky – they do now not simply howitzer the ball forward route 1 to Carroll, but have other options. Not that West Ham will ever be described as tiki-taka Barcelona-esque, but there is more to them this season than Sam Allardyce's styled-Bolton Wanderers.
It was great to witness United using the width of Old Trafford stretching Cambridge United on the touchline, the Red Devils of old which Manchester United failed to achieve at the Abbey Stadium although the pitch widths are identical – 74 yards using Rooney and Di Maria positively to angle in dangerous crosses. What a difference with the big Belgian Marouane Fellaini at the spearhead of the attack rustling up the defenders as he did so frequently for Everton against United, looking more the signing we thought we had when Moyes signed the Belgian from Everton. I guess Old Trafford is an odd situation to be a star in and we have several who are clearly not living up to the billing they have enjoyed elsewhere since their summer arrival at the Theatre Of Dreams. Patience, however, ver is needed for the players to click and gel together.
United fans like myself know that the team the Red Devils fielded against the U’s cost £233.0m and Cambridge United’s cost zero with 10 free transfers. Yet they deserved and earned a £1million payoff for their valiant effort at the Abbey stadium to win the right to play at Old Trafford helping maintain the U’s survival, the beauty of the FA Cup. That’s the football pyramid. I hope as do most United lads – lasses after Preston North End whacked Sheffield United at Bramall Lane 3-1 that we can hammer the Lilly Whites at Deepdale, and look forward with relish to the 5th round tie on the 16th of February. We last fought oddly Sir Bobby Charlton’s once charges Preston in the FA Cup 4th round, way back in season 1971/72 at Deepdale winning 2-0, PNE having won the FA Cup twice in 1889 and more recently 1938!
Lest we forget only Arsenal have scored more goals than United at home this campaign. Yet our club continue to get tricky away ties in the FA Cup, but Manchester United I ‘Believe’ have their name on the trophy. Sadly with Darren Fletcher (winner in 2004) departed to WBA and Juan Mata (Chelsea) Robin van Persie (Arsenal) the sole winners left at the football club this needs addressed this season to show Louis van Gaal is a winner!
Louis van Gaal won trophies in his first campaigns at Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and the German giants Bayern Munich, so why not trust our boss? Louis Van Gaal elaborated “For me, personally, I won always a title in my first year everywhere where I worked so the chance I win the title is bigger in FA Cup than the Premier League”. Throwing in the league towel a bit Herr Louie? But reasonable.
Although Manchester United can’t afford not to be in the Champions League again next season, attracting top – top players go hand in hand with those players playing for top clubs performing in Europe’s prestige tournament.
This summer will be Manchester United’s transfer window, as Louis van Gaal has time because of his CV to build the club into his vision and attract the top players to complete the jigsaw the boss is building.
Match-Day 24: West Ham United v Manchester United
Sunday 8th February 2015
Boleyn Ground, London
Match Officials: Referee; Mark Clattenburg, Asst, Ref 1 – S Beck Asst, Ref 2- J Collin, 4th Official, A Marriner. Seeing the name S Beck – fills me with dread!
Top Goal Scorers 2014/15:
West Ham United: Sakho 10, Carroll 5, Downing 5, Valencia 4, Amalfitano 3.
Manchester United: van Persie 9, Rooney 8, Mata 6, Di Maria 4, Falcao 4.
Top Goal Scorers 2013/14:
West Ham United: Nolan 7, C Cole 6, Diame 4, Morrison 3, Noble 3.
Manchester United: Rooney 17, van Persie 12, Welbeck 9, Mata 6, Hernandez 4.
Last six league matches:
West Ham United; LWDDLL
Manchester United; WWLDDW
All Competitive matches: P 129, W 61, D 26, L 42, F 240, A 168.
West Ham United: C Kouyate (Ankle/foot no return date) W Reid (Hamstring no return date) J Collins (Hamstring no return date) A Carroll (Ankle/foot 14th of Feb) C Jenkinson (Calf muscle strain 8th of Feb) J Tomkins (Hamstring 8th of Feb).
Manchester United: M. Carrick (Calf Muscle strain no return date).
West Ham United are currently placed 8th in the Barclays Premier League table, last campaign they finished 13th in their 2nd season back in the top-flight after suffering relegation in season 2010-11 ending that term in 20th place, but bounced back immediately. Diafra Sakho is their danger man in front of goal, while Stewart Downing has had a renaissance in his career in East London creating most chances (50) with 6 assists and 44 key passes, 500 completed passes with an 85% accuracy, supported admirably by fans favourite Mark Noble who has a 86% pass accuracy – completing 487 in total.
The Iron’s top tackler Kouyate (27 tackles achieving a 47% success rate. The Hammers recorded their biggest win of the season in defeating Steve Bruce’s Hull City 3-0 in mid-January. Manchester United travel to East London with a revitalised confidence after an enthralling FA Cup win while West Ham United lost recently 2-0 against Liverpool and have won once in their last six top-flight matches.
Manchester United are currently positioned in 3rd place in Barclays Premier league table, last season finishing in 7th spot, registering their biggest victory of the season-to-date 4-0 against Queens Park Rangers. Top goal scorer is Robin van Persie 7 in the League aided by Angel Di Maria with 6 assists, 31 chances created and 25 key passes. The clubs top tackler as odd as it appears is Antonio Valencia with 35 tackles a 57% success rate, in contrast while not odd, Juan Mata has the highest pass accuracy 92% with a 57% success rate, supported superbly by Marcos Rojo with 583 completed passes a 87% success rate.
In the corresponding fixture against West Ham United on Saturday 22nd March 2014, the Red Devils ran out comfortable 2-0 victors in the evening tie at the Boleyn Ground. Wayne Rooney firing United into an 8th-minute lead and scoring one of the most sensational goals of the Premiership era. As the ball fell to United’s No10 he out muscled James Tomkins marginally inside the Iron’s half, launching a 60 yard volley high into the sky leaving the Hammers gloves man Adrian flapping aimlessly. On- looking David Beckham must have considered was my wonder strike better?
West Ham battled on with a few chances particularly from Andy Carroll. However in one of David Moyes’ charges attacks Mark Noble appeared to be set to break up the assault but miskicked his clearance of Ashley Young’s cross for the ball into the path of the on running Rooney to simply tap home to put the club in a comfort zone and his goal tally into the top 3 all-time United strikers. Man of the Match was Michael Carrick for his snuffing out of attacks and considered distribution while not giving the ever testing Carroll an easy evening. Possession: West Ham 45%, United 55%, Shots; West Ham 10, United 16, Shots on Target; West Ham 1, United 7. Carrick will sadly be unavailable for the West Ham United tie.
The last time out against West Ham United was in late September when Manchester United ran out 2-1 victors through goals by Rooney and van Persie, the Irons replied in the 37th minute with a strike by Diafra Sakho. The match however changed in complexion just before the 60th minute, Wayne Rooney halting a West Ham attack fouling Stewart Downing, Lee Mason brandishing a straight red card, United’s second red card in succession Tyler Blackett having been dismissed the previous week at the King Power Stadium against Leicester City. However after United’s No 10 had an early bath, West Ham went for it, throwing everything into finding the equaliser, almost achieving this when Kevin Nolan netted, only for the goal to be ruled offside, sending Manchester United supporters into rapturous celebration in registering the 2nd win of the season after a hard fought game. Debutant Irishman Paddy McNair was a revelation and continues to perform fantastically beyond his 19 years of age, as we saw most recently in the 3-0 success against Cambridge United.
Manchester United have several links to West Ham United, currently Teddy Sheringham is part of the coaching staff. The Hammers have had 14 managers since they were formed in 1895, including manager No. 6 – Lou Macari who guided them from 1989-90. Rio Ferdinand is their record transfer fee received, £18m when he moved to Leeds United in November 2000. In contrast the Irons most expensive purchase is Andy Carroll a £15m fee heading to Liverpool in July 2013.
Player to watch: Alex Song, a midfield destroyer.
Predicted Starting Teams:
West Ham United; Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Noble, Song, Nolan, Downing, Sakho, Valencia.
Manchester United De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Shaw, Herrera, Blind, Rooney, Di Maria, Falcao, van Persie.
Predicted Scoreline: West Ham United 0 Manchester United 2.