West Ham United vs Manchester United
Venue: London Stadium
TV: Sky Sports
Referee: Michael Oliver
The early kick-off this weekend sees West Ham United and Manchester United face off at the London Stadium. United will be confident coming into the fixture having lost only one of their last 19 Premier League matches against the Hammers.
West Ham, on the other hand, will be hoping to carry on their resurgence from the past couple of weeks after a miserable beginning to the season. Their last game in the league was a positive 0-0 draw with Chelsea, in which they possibly could have won if it wasn’t for some wasteful finishing from the Hammers front line. Their lacklustre finishing vanished during the week as they played out an astonishing 8-0 demolition of Macclesfield Town in the League Cup; West Ham’s biggest win since 1983.
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United will be looking for an improvement in results, especially after their disappointing 1-1 draw against Wolves last weekend in the league and then their even more disappointing defeat in the League Cup to Derby County. Mourinho has been publicly critical of some of his players, especially Paul Pogba who has been stripped of the captain’s armband.
Manuel Pellegrini looks set to recall star player Marko Arnautovic to the side after recovering from a thigh strain which caused him to miss last week fixture vs Chelsea. This will see Michail Antonio drop down to the bench as Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko are the preferred starting wingers for the Hammers. Pellegrini will still be without striker Andy Carroll who will be back in action in mid-November, whilst Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere will also miss the game and are not expected back until December at the earliest.
West Ham will also be missing Carlos Sanchez and Javier Hernandez who have both picked up recent injuries; Sanchez is currently struggling with a knee injury while Hernandez has been missing due to glandular fever. Pellegrini won’t mind though as he was able to rest pretty much all of his first team in the League Cup and will be hoping they will be extra motivated after some impressive performances from West Ham fringe players in this fixture. The most likely player to have forced himself into team contention is young Grady Diangana who made his debut on Wednesday and won Man of the Match after scoring two goals and providing an assist in the demolition of Macclesfield.
Mourinho will be recalling David De Gea to the side in place of Sergio Romero who was sent off in the fixture vs Derby and will therefore miss the game against West Ham through suspension; this will see Lee Grant come onto the substitutes bench for the Red Devils. Mourinho will also be without Marcos Rojo who is currently missing with a knee problem. Due to the recent public criticism by Mourinho, it remains to be seen whether or not Paul Pogba or Marcus Rashford are selected by the Portuguese manager but he has stated this week that Pogba will be in the starting XI.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
West Ham United: Fabianski, Masuaku, Balbuena, Diop, Zabaleta, Rice, Noble Obiang, Anderson, Yarmolenko and Arnautovic.
Manchester United: De Gea, Shaw, Lindelof, Smalling, Valencia, Pogba, Fred, Mata, Lingard Martial and Lukaku.
Score Prediction: West Ham United 1 Manchester United 2
West Ham have been in good form of late, and their defensive problems so far seem to have been solved, so with this added solidity and with the return of Arnautovic they have a good chance of causing an upset against a downbeat Manchester United side.
Although, Manchester United do have Romelu Lukaku – a name that strikes fear into many West Ham fans. The Belgian has scored an incredibly efficient 11 goals against the Hammers in 11 games. So with Manchester United having Lukaku in their attacking armoury, it would be unwise to expect the game to stay completely goalless, especially as he has been on good form away from Old Trafford this season, scoring 3 goals in 3 away games. I think Manchester United will edge this game but they will have to battle for the win, which I expect them to do.