Manchester United and West Ham go head to head in Sunday’s headline EPL clash.
This game has taken on huge significance for both sides, as they have both enjoyed disappointing starts to the campaign. United were actually rather impressive against arch-rivals Arsenal, dictating the pattern of the match in a manner that few would have envisaged. But the soft manner of Arsenal’s late equalizer left you wondering about the lack of killer instinct in Mourinho’s side. Slaven Bilic’s tenure as West Ham manager has come under scrutiny in some circles, especially following a heated last gasp loss to London rivals Spurs.
There’s an added sub-plot to this game, as the two teams meet in a League Cup quarter-final next week.
Manchester United v West Ham | Sunday 27 November | Old Trafford | 18:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Man United 9/20 | Draw 34/10 | West Ham 57/10
Zlatan is back and will clearly come straight into the side. Martial will likely miss out after a slightly frustrating performance last week. I expect that Mourinho will shuffle his pack, with Pogba likely slipping back alongside Herrera in the center of midfield. This will allow Mata to play in behind Zlatan while I think Rooney may make his way back into the side.
Valencia was excellent last weekend and will be locked in a potentially brilliant battle with Cresswell down the right-hand side. Fellaini looks set to miss out with a groin strain while Shaw pushes for a recall to the side.
I think that Rashford could be hugely influential here. I personally don’t think that playing through the middle is his best position. He needs the ball in those wider areas with space to exploit. Antonio is going to have to curb his more attack-minded impulses and pay careful attention to Rashford.
Herrera has slowly emerged as perhaps United’s best players thus far this season. He has forged an excellent bond with compatriot Juan Mata and will likely keep his place ahead of West Ham old boy Carrick.
West Ham United
I think that Bilic’s side have been a bit unfortunate this season and have struggled to come to terms with their new home environs. It’s almost as if they aren’t playing any traditional home matches this season. They also are emerging from a terrible injury crisis, with Ayew and Sakho returning to the squad in recent weeks.
Carroll’s recovery will be vital as they seek an alternative way of playing when their high-tempo counter-attacking style doesn’t pay off. Mark Noble will return to the side following suspension, giving them some much-needed poise in the central defensive area.
The midfield battle is going to be critical here. I look at this West Ham side and see a team that Pogba can actually exploit from his deeper lying role. Noble doesn’t have the pace to curtail his advances while Lanzini is too forward orientated.
Obiang can be a bit reckless and I expect the multi-million-pound man to shine this weekend. Payet will feel that he has the beating of Rojo and Jones, which could make for an interesting cat and mouse game, with United clearly dominating possession.
Verdict: Total Goals Under 2.5 11/10
I think that Bilic will be demanding a resilient display from his side following that dismal end to the Spurs match. Mourinho will likewise be weary of the threat that West Ham possess on the break and this could result in a cagey first half. I think United may just nick this one 1-0, but perhaps a safer option would be going for a low-scoring game. On the surface, one would expect this to be more free-flowing and robust, but the two side’s mutual situations may make this tighter than anticipated.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets