Connections: West Ham United – The worlds highest paid player and Upton Park’s final match

Manchester United travel to the capital on Monday hoping to get 2017 off to a winning start. The Reds ended 2016 on a high, beating Middlesbrough 2-1 at Old Trafford. The victory extended their unbeaten run to twelve games in all competitions and was Jose Mourinho’s six win on the bounce. The two United’s have already faced off twice this campaign, drawing 1-1 at the Theatre of Dreams in the league before the Reds knocked the Hammers out of the EFL Cup, beating Slaven Bilic’s side 4-1 just days later.

West Ham seemed to have put their early season woes behind them with three straight wins in December however came to a holt on New Years Eve as they fell to defeat against reigning champions Leicester City.

Let’s take a look at a few things that connects the two teams, starting with the worlds highest paid player!

Carlos Tevez

Tevez joined West Ham along with fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano back in 2006. It was seen as a massive coup at the time as the pair had previously been linked with Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Tevez scored the only goal of the game at Old Trafford on the final day of the 2006/07 season, ensuring the Hammers safety. It would be Tevez’s final goal he would score in the claret and blue of West Ham as that summer he joined the Reds. He scored 34 goals in all competitions over two seasons for United before joining cross-town rivals Manchester City in 2009. The striker enjoyed stints at Juventus and Boca Juniors before finding himself unable to resist the lure of Chinese Super League club Shanhai Shenhua in December 2016, making him the best paid footballer in the world, earning a rumoured £600,000+ a week!

Ashley Fletcher

The Englishman joined United’s youth ranks as a teenager however failed to break into the first team. In January 2016, the youngster was sent out on loan to League 1 side Barnsley where he notched nine goals in 27 appearances in all competitions, a strike rate of one goal every three games, not bad by any means. He returned to United after helping Barnsley gain promotion however reject a new contract offer and opted to join the Hammers last summer. He has already made 14 appearances for Slaven Bilic’s side, albeit many of them coming from the bench. Ironically, he scored his first and only West Ham goal against Jose Mourinho’s men in a 4-1 defeat in the EFL Cup back in November.

Michael Carrick

Carrick has spent the majority of his career at Old Trafford having come through the ranks at West Ham. The midfielder spent five seasons in the first team at Upton Park. Carrick joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s United in 2006 via a short spell at Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £18.6m. An absolute bargain if you ask me, especially in today’s market! He’s won every domestic trophy with the Reds, including the Premier League an impressive five times. 10 years since joining United, Carrick is still pulling the strings at the grand age of 35.

Final game at Upton Park

On an emotionally charged evening in May of last year, West Ham all but ended Man Utd’s top four hopes with a 3-2 victory in what was the last competitive game to be played at the Hammers iconic Boleyn Ground. The Reds knew a win against West Ham and victory in their final game against Bournemouth would guarantee them a top four place but they trailed at half time thanks to a Diafra Sakho first half strike. An Anthony Martial double after the break put Louis van Gaal’s side ahead but it was short-lived as goals from Michail Antonio and then Winston Reid regained the hosts lead to give the home fans a send off they’ll never forget.

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