Our Premier League scribe runs the rule over Wednesday night's League Cup game between Manchester United and West Ham.
The emotional rollercoaster that is being a Manchester United fan took yet another turn with a dispiriting draw against struggling West Ham. Mourinho’s touchline impudence warranted a sending off for the ‘Average One’, while Paul Pogba is set to miss this quick-fire cup rematch through suspension. West Ham will be feeling grateful for the point after being routinely dominated in that first half. They are far from the finished article and it will be interesting to see how much effort they throw into this cup tie as Slaven Bilic’s survival as West Ham manager hinges on Premier League consistency.
Manchester United v West Ham | Wednesday 30 November | Old Trafford | 22:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Manchester United 4/10 | Draw 7/2 | West Ham 57/10
Mourinho will have to shuffle his midfield options following the suspension of Pogba. What was even more embarrassing for Mourinho was the fact that Pogba’s dive was about as blatant a simulation as you are likely to see. I think he may opt to rest Herrera and play Carrick alongside Fellaini in the holding roles. He has shown a preference for Fellaini in cup games and may see the Belgian as a bigger threat against a physically imposing West Ham side. I won’t be surprised if Shaw comes in for Darmian while Rooney and Mkhitaryan look set to start.
Martial was not even named on the bench for the Premier League match, leading me to assume that there may be some friction between the talented Frenchman and the coach. Ibrahimovic at least got back to scoring ways and will lead the line again midweek. I expect Rooney, Mata and Mkhitaryan to play in a rotating three behind him.
United played well in spurts on Sunday, there just seems to be a concerning lack of a clinical edge to their play. It’s almost as if a culture of disappointment is being fostered at the club, one that is certainly not being helped by continuous off the field dramas.
West Ham United
As I said earlier, it will be interesting to see how Bilic actually treats this match. Reid will step back into the team following suspension, which will likely see James Collins drop to the bench. Adrian may come in for Randolph, as West Ham have developed a healthy competition for the number one goalkeeping position. Nordveit should come into the side to give some relief to a midfield that was run fairly ragged at various points at Old Trafford. He may come in for Obiang while Andre Ayew looks set to come in for Sakho.
Noble should retain his place as he just returned from suspension, with Payet and Lanzini the clear creative hub of the side. Sometimes you almost have to feel for the talismanic Payet. It must be such a burden to be straddled with almost all of the creative workload. The return of Andy Carroll in supposedly a few weeks’ time will give an alternative dimension to this side that is desperately needed at present.
Verdict: Manchester United 4/10
West Ham will not be at full tilt and will be far more concentrated on their crunch London derby against Arsenal next weekend. I expect Carrick to give them poise in the midfield while Rooney edges closer to that all-time goal-scoring mantle.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets