Manchester United will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United on Saturday
Premier League football resumes this weekend, with the action kicking off in the English capital. West Ham United will be aiming to continue their mini unbeaten run when they welcome Manchester United to the London Stadium in Saturday’s early kick-off.
West Ham have finally found their feet this season, after losing each of their first four games. But, a crucial win over Everton was followed by a largely impressive performance in the draw against Chelsea – two results that have put them on the board in the Premier League. And, Manuel Pellegrini’s men will be brimming with confidence following their 8-0 Carabao Cup win over Macclesfield Town.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have had to turn back to the drawing board after two frustrating performances over this past week. Last weekend, Wolverhampton Wanderers staged a fine comeback to hold Jose Mourinho’s men to a 1-1 draw before they were beaten by Derby County on penalties in the League Cup.
As Manchester United aim to get back to winning ways, they will be desperate to avoid a repeat performance from the corresponding, which ended in a drab goalless draw. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.
Team News & Tactics
West Ham United
Manuel Pellegrini has a sort of an injury crisis on his hands, with as many as six first-team players missing for the visit of Manchester United. The more critical concerns are surrounding the absence of Carlos Sanchez (knee), Jack Wilshere (ankle) and backup striker Javier Hernandez (illness).
Meanwhile, Andy Carroll (ankle), Winston Reid (knee) and Manuel Lanzini (ACL rupture) are long-term absentees for West Ham. But, Pellegrini will be boosted by the return of talisman, Marko Arnautovic, who is available once again after recovering from a minor knee injury.
The Austrian should slot into the starting lineup straightaway, considering he is inarguably the most pivotal player for West Ham United. Arnautovic though, will also hope to receive ample support from Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson, with the duo being inconsistent in front of goal thus far.
In midfield, Mark Noble will look to use all of his experience to stifle Manchester United in the middle of the park, while Declan Rice will have the chance to bolster his burgeoning reputation further, should he produce another commanding performance.
The defence though, presents a few concerns, even though the unit has tightened up in the last couple of weeks. Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop will hope to accentuate Romelu Lukaku’s frustrations, although the more susceptible defenders are full-backs Arthur Masuaku and Pablo Zabaleta.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Fabianski; Zabaleta, Diop, Balbuena, Masuaku; Noble, Rice, Obiang; Yarmolenko, Arnautovic, Anderson
Jose Mourinho does not really have any pressing concerns ahead of the trip to the capital to take on West Ham. The only players missing for Manchester United are Sergio Romero, who is suspended after being sent off against Derby County in the midweek cup game, and Marcos Rojo (knock).
The build-up to the game had been riddled with unsettling talks of a possible bust-up between Mourinho and star midfielder Paul Pogba. But, the manager has quashed the speculation, claiming that everything is fine in the Manchester United camp, while insisting that the Frenchman will start against West Ham.
Mourinho though, faces a few selection headaches, albeit not the kind that every manager loves to deal with. With several players underperforming, the Manchester United boss has to decide between giving them a long rope or take a hard call on their omission. These players include captain Antonio Valencia, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.
On Saturday, Valencia could get another chance on the right side of the Manchester United defence, with Mourinho already asserting that Diogo Dalot will be eased into a potential role as a regular. Sanchez, on the other hand, is unlikely to return to the starting lineup, with Anthony Martial impressing in successive midweek games.
Upfront, Lukaku should retain his place despite being frustratingly profligate in front of goal, even though Marcus Rashford is set to be available after serving his three-match ban. Another player who will return to league action after a suspension-forced spell is Nemanja Matic, slotting into the starting lineup straightaway.
The tough decision in midfield though, will be regarding the selection of Pogba and Matic’s midfield partner. Fred has been largely impressive in recent outings, but Marouane Fellaini seems to be making a better case, having showed a lot more urgency and desire in the middle of the park.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Martial
- West Ham United have only managed a solitary victory in their last 19 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (D5 L13).
- Manchester Utd have kept a clean sheet in both of their Premier League visits to the London Stadium, winning 2-0 in January 2017 and drawing 0-0 in May earlier this year.
- West Ham could remain winless in their opening four Premier League home games of a season for the first time since 2009. In fact, the Hammers also run the risk of equalling a top-flight record of failing to score in three successive home matches.
- Romelu Lukaku could become the first player to score for Manchester United in their first four away games of a Premier League season.
- Marko Arnautovic has been directly involved in half of West Ham’s last 40 Premier League goals, scoring 14 and setting up six.
1. Manchester United to win @ 1.80
2. Marcus Rashford to score anytime @ 2.87
3. Manchester United Clean Sheet – YES @ 2.62
1. Manchester United to win to NIL @ 3.20
Player to Watch
After the summer of uncertainty, Anthony Martial seems to be slowly winning over manager Jose Mourinho. August may have been a disappointing month, but the Frenchman has surely raised his level this month. After scoring in the Champions League win over BSC Young Boys, Martial was, by far, the best player for Manchester United against Derby County.
With West Ham United being one of his most favourite opponents, the 22-year-old could bolster his reputation further. On Saturday, Martial will hope to extend a fantastic record of six goals and two assists against the Hammers. But, most importantly, he will hope his contribution helps Manchester United to a clutch win, thereby possibly helping him regain his place as a regular.
West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United
Things look bleak for Manchester United once again after a run of three successive wins. West Ham, on the other hand, have well and truly turned a corner. With the visitors still picking up the pieces following their Carabao Cup defeat, the Hammers have the perfect opportunity to grab a point or three.
Manchester United, have looked much better on the road, away from the pressures at Old Trafford. But, with Marko Arnautovic back and raring to go, another tricky outing awaits them. The Hard Tackle predicts a tightly contested affair, with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.