Manchester United will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they play hosts to West Ham United in the Premier League this weekend.
Manchester United will be hoping to consolidate their position at the top end of the 2020/21 Premier League table when they lock horns with West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday night.
Manchester United are second in the league standings, 14 points off of leaders Manchester City, whom they defeated last week. However, that was followed by a disappointing 1-1 draw against AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League. With Leicester City and Chelsea breathing down their necks, the Red Devils must make sure to collect all three points or risk getting dragged into the race for the top four.
West Ham United, meanwhile, have continued their push for European football for next season in a steady manner. David Moyes’ men are fifth in the table, just three points off of Chelsea in fourth and head into Sunday’s game on the back of a 2-0 victory over Leeds United, which meant they have now lost just once in their last six league outings, winning four and drawing the other.
The reverse fixture saw Manchester United beat West Ham 3-1 last December. Both teams clashed again last month in the FA Cup, with the Red Devils prevailing once again. Ahead of their latest meeting this Sunday at Old Trafford, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Manchester United have a spate of injuries to deal with ahead of the game. Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Donny van de Beek are all ruled out while Edinson Cavani and Phil Jones miss out as well. In addition, both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are major doubts for the game as well, giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer some serious thinking to do with regard to his team selection.
David de Gea is back from Spain after the birth of his child but hasn’t trained this week, meaning Dean Henderson should start in goal again, hoping to redeem himself after his costly mistake against AC Milan in midweek.
There will be the two customary changes in defence with Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw coming in to replace Eric Bailly and Alex Telles, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire completing the rest of the Manchester United backline.
Scott McTominay should hold on to his place in the side while Fred ought to replace Nemanja Matic in the midfield double pivot for the hosts. The duo will be tasked with providing the shield to the backline allowing Bruno Fernandes the freedom to pull the strings in the final third from the No. 10 role.
Rashford could be touch-and-go for the game but with the crucial clash against Milan coming up next week, it would be imprudent of Solskjaer to risk the Englishman on Sunday. So, we could see Amad Diallo make his first start for United on the right flank while Daniel James continues on the left, with Mason Greenwood slotting in as the lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Diallo, Fernandes, James; Greenwood
West Ham United
West Ham United will once again be without the services of Arthur Masuaku, Andriy Yarmolenko and Darren Randolph while Ryan Fredericks is also a doubt. Angelo Ogbonna misses out with an injury as well whereas in-form man Jesse Lingard is ineligible to take the field against his parent club.
📋 TEAM NEWS@ArthurMasuaku: "Arthur’s trained two or three days this week with the U23s and trained with me for a couple of days. Getting much closer to match fitness."@OgbonnaOfficial: “He's doing great. He’s back in the gym regularly and he’s out of his boot."#MUNWHU
— West Ham United (@WestHam) March 12, 2021
The three-man defensive system has worked quite well for David Moyes of late and it is unlikely that he will make any drastic changes to shape or personnel as he returns to Old Trafford. In goal, veteran Lukasz Fabianski is nailed on to start while Craig Dawson, Issa Diop and Aaron Cresswell make up the three-man backline.
Vladimir Coufal, who has made quite the impact since his arrival last summer, should be the right wing-back with young Ben Johnson starting on the left.
The wing-backs will flank the central midfield duo of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. The former will be tasked with cutting out Bruno Fernandes’ influence on the game while the latter will look to make late runs into the box and get on the end of chances.
Jarrod Bowen, with his pace and guile, can pose a major threat to the Manchester United defence cutting in from the right. On the opposite flank, Pablo Fornals is likely to get the nod over Said Benrahma while there is no looking past Michail Antonio in the centre-forward slot.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Fabianski; Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Coufal, Rice, Soucek, Johnson; Bowen, Antonio, Fornals
- Manchester United to win @ 1.83
- Amad Diallo to score anytime @ 3.75
- Manchester United are looking to complete their first league double over West Ham United since the 2013/14 campaign when David Moyes was in charge of the Red Devils.
- West Ham United are winless in their last 12 Premier League away games against Manchester United (D3 L9).
- Manchester United have scored three or more goals in each of their last three Premier League home games. In total, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have netted 15 times in the last three league outings at Old Trafford.
- West Ham United could become the fourth team from London to pick up a win at Old Trafford this term following Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last eight outings in the Premier League. The Red Devils have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three league fixtures.
Player to Watch
18 – At 18 years and 243 days, Amad Diallo is the youngest non-British player to ever score in major European competition for Manchester United. Notorious. https://t.co/VzJANe3AV5
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 11, 2021
Sunday night could be a special occasion for Amad Diallo as the young Ivorian could be set to make his first Premier League start. Signed from Atalanta, the winger arrived at Manchester United in January and having impressed heavily for the reserves has forced his way into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Diallo made history earlier this week when he scored his first Manchester United goal against AC Milan. In doing so, he became the club’s fourth-youngest goalscorer ever in European competitions and the youngest non-British player to net a goal for the Red Devils in a major European tournament.
With both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford struggling with injuries, the teenager could be set for an extended run in the side in the coming weeks and he will be hoping to build on his display from the midweek game agains Milan.
Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United
West Ham United are enjoying a fine season and are well within a shout of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season. Manchester United, meanwhile, need the win to build some momentum to salvage their UEFA Europa League campaign and strengthen their grip on the second place on the table.
West Ham, though, will be hurt by Jesse Lingard’s absence, with the Englishman unable to play against his parent club while the potential absence of the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani could affect Manchester United’s chances on the night as well.
All things considered, it could be a cagey affair at Old Trafford on Sunday, likely to culminate with the spoils shared between the two teams.