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Four Players to Watch: West Ham United v Manchester United

After hosting Middlesbrough, Manchester United will travel across England to play West Ham United, with the hope of picking up more points to close the gap that separates the Red Devils from the top four. Chelsea and Tottenham will also be playing in a hotly contested fixture, as both teams are geared into form, and with wins against Middlesbrough and West Ham, United will gain on at least two of their top five rivals. However, with so many fixtures in such a small period of time, there will need to be a level of efficiency in scoring goals, which we have not yet seen from United this season. Scoring and preventing West Ham from doing the same could prove to be difficult.

Winston Reid, Centre-Back, West Ham

West Ham’s Winston Reid consistently emerges as the Hammers’ best defender, even though James Collins is a stalwart for the London outfit and Angelo Ogbonna joined from Juventus with a high name. With an average WhoScored rating of 7.43, Reid is clearly a very good defender, with his 3.6 interceptions and 9.3 clearances per game stranding out in particular. Dominant in the air and incredibly aggressive, United will likely need to find a way around Reid if Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to score goals against West Ham.

Michail Antonio, Utility Player, West Ham

Antonio could play anywhere for West Ham on Monday, and he often doesn’t turn up at all, but one thing is for sure- his head is the most prolific in the Premier League this season. Playing most of his games either from right-back or on the wing, Antonio has still managed to score 8 goals in 17 appearances for the misfiring Hammers. On the right side, his opposing left-back will either be Daley Blind or Matteo Darmian, both of whom are capable of dealing with his aerial threat with intelligence, but based on raw physicality, that does not bode well for United, and if a close eye isn’t kept on the Englishman, damage could be done.

Anthony Martial, Left-Wing, Manchester United

United’s fixture with West Ham has Anthony Martial written all over it. Martial, who has scored four goals in his last two appearances against West Ham, will come up against a side that has a gaping hole at right-back, and he is the only player at United who could completely turn a fullback upside-down. Martial hasn’t been at his best this season, but he still has five goals and three assists in less than a thousand minutes of football, which is a very good record, and one would simply imagine what he could do with some more playing time.

Michael Carrick, Defensive Midfielder, Manchester United

Statistically, Carrick is a very average player, and he doesn’t look much better or worse than Ander Herrera did from defensive midfield, but for some reason, he almost definitely needs to be on the pitch if United is to come away from the new London Stadium with a win. United is undefeated this season with Carrick in the side, earning just two draws in the process, but now, with two matches in three days, the 35-year-old will need to be managed accordingly. Perhaps he needs to be substituted, and United needs to risk results, because if Carrick has fitness problems afterward, playing him twice in three days will retrospectively seem like a mistake.

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