Manchester United’s winning streak was brought to a rude halt when they lost to PSG at home in the Champions League. But they now return to where they are most comfortable, which is ironically away from Old Trafford. The Red Devils have maintained an excellent away form in the Premier League so far, winning all 4 games by coming from behind!
But in front of them stands a resilient West Ham United side who have started the season & have won their last 3 in a row! Powered by an unpredictable attack, sturdy backline and 2,000 home fans on their side for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown, David Moyes’ side aims to hammer down United’s momentum. The Red Devils might be reeling from the PSG defeat, but their inexplicable brilliance in away games means a real feisty battle should ensue at the London Stadium.
West Ham United Likely XI
Fabianski, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Coudfal, Soucek, Rice, Masuaku, Fornals, Bowen, Antonio
The Hammers don’t really have any injury issues right now. Andriy Yarmelenko tested positive for Covid-19 last month but should be available for the game.
Manchester United Likely XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles, McTominay, Fred, Bruno, Rashford, Martial, Cavani
Luke Shaw remains the only injured player at United right now. Marcus Rashford had an injury scare against PSG, but he should recover for the West Ham clash.
West Ham United vs Manchester United preview
Man United might have big problems brewing in the Champions League suddenly, but they must not take their eyes of the prize in the Premier League. As absurd as it may sound, the Red Devils can actually jump into the title race with a few more positive results & are only 5 points behind league leaders Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand.
As wobbly as they’ve been at Old Trafford, United have been exactly the opposite away from home. They’ll want to start in positive fashion & attack from the get go, even if it means risking falling a goal behind. Considering that they’ve won their last 4 league games after going behind, that might actually be a good thing!
Their hopes will obviously be put upon Bruno Fernandes to do something majestic once again. The Portuguese midfielder has been the vocal point of their away wins this season, scoring in every one of them! He’ll want to maintain his spirited nature by driving United forward & get among the goals by using his ruthless instincts in the final third.
After that game-changing miss against PSG, Anthony Martial has a lot to prove. Mason Greenwood should start instead of him but knowing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s love for him, the Frenchman should be given another chance. Martial must be more clinical in the final third, make good use of his trickery and cause chaos to redeem himself.
Edinson Cavani should also get another start & will be key to getting those clutch goals with his clever movement & finishing ability inside the box. Rashford will look to continue his good work down the right wing & drive into the box to create big chances for his side.
After his own horror show on Wednesday, Fred also needs to prove his worth to the team. Along with the bullish Scott McTominay, he’ll look to bully West Ham’s sturdy midfielders Declan Rice & Tomas Soucek to ensure that the Red Devils’ midfield doesn’t get overpowered. Fred also must create prominent chances & make a big impact to win over faith with the fans. To break down the sturdy West Ham backline, United also need Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Alex Telles to put in threatening crosses which Cavani could jump upon.
While they should take the attacking approach against a relatively defensive side, United need to be careful against the Hammers’ own attack. They have a lot of quality in their frontline and players capable of finishing off their chances. Michael Antonio can be a real pain with his clever movement & ruthlessness inside the box, while Jarod Bowen’s a terror to defend against with his trickery.
Pablo Fornals can also create a lot of chances, while West Ham’s wing-backs are also menacing players. Moreover, the Hammers are excellent in set-pieces – one area Solskjaer’s side is vulnerable – so they need to be extra careful defending in those situations.
Playing in front of fans for the first time since March, West Ham are pumped to get a big result & play with high spirits. Harry Maguire must maintain a strong defensive line, with Victor Lindelof also needing to help him with timely interventions. Due to the ‘fans factor’ this game will be harder for Man United than other away games.
But the Red Devils must maintain their never-say-die attitude shown in recent away trips and snatch another compelling win on the road to go into that game against RB Leipzig full of confidence.
West Ham are in a really good run of form, but Man United are inexplicably good on the road right now. It should be a difficult battle for them, but I’ll go for a 2-1 win for the Red Devils.