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Preview: Maybe it is time for Solskjaer’s United to hammer the Hammers

Manchester United -v- West Ham United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 22 July 2020, KO 18:00 BST

Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Ian Hussin, Darren Cann 

Fourth Official: Mike Dean Replacement Official: Natalie Aspinall

VAR: Peter Bankes Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup

Manchester United return to action against West Ham United in the Premier League on Wednesday evening after being beaten by Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday evening. This is the final league match at the Theatre of Dreams this season and will be the penultimate match of the season at home. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to get his team firing in this game to stop the Hammer from doing the double over them this season and break into the top four.

If United beat David Moyes’ side, they will rise up to third in the league with Chelsea due to face Liverpool in the later kick off on Wednesday, meaning that they could, if Chelsea beat Liverpool, still be fourth in the league going into the final match of the season against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday. United will not win the FA Cup this season but they should at least ensure UEFA Champions League football.

Form: United have been in some good form recently but in the past three matches, the indications have been there that this team has weaknesses. It is time for them to stand up to West Ham.

Manchester United: LWDWWW

Chelsea 3-1 L, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Southampton 2-2 D, Aston Villa 3-0 W, Bournemouth 5-2 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W

West Ham United: WWLDWL

Watford 3-1 W, Norwich City 4-0 W, Burnley 1-0 L, Newcastle United 2-2 D, Chelsea 3-2 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L

Top Scorers: United will need to find a way to get Rashford, Martial and Greenwood scoring again after failing to find their form against Chelsea at Wembley.

Manchester United Goals: 22 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 16 – Mason Greenwood, 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, 4 – Daniel James, 3 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

Solskjaer’s side has been in good form since the restart of the league and have now been defeated, which is a first for Bruno Fernandes at the club. United will need to hit back against the Hammers, going straight back to winning ways which would also see them take advantage of Leicester City dropping points after their defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. A victory over the Hammers would see United rise to third in the table, although Chelsea face Liverpool in the later kick off, which could see United stay there of slide to fourth – still an improvement.

West Ham United Goals: 9 – Michail Antonio, 7 – Sébastien Haller, 5 – Robert Snodgrass, 4 – Pablo Fornals, Mark Noble, Andriy Yarmolenko, 3 – Aaron Cresswell, Issa Diop, Tomas Soucek, 2 – Angelo Ogbonna, 1 – Fabián Balbuena, Jarrod Bowen, Javier Hernández, Felipe Anderson, Declan Rice, Jack Wilshere, Pablo Zabaleta

West Ham lie 16th in the Premier League table six points clear of the relegation zone with two matches left to play this season. It is quite possible that they will remain in the Premier League this season as they have a healthier goal difference compared to the teams below them. A win out of their next two will secure their position in the league for another season. David Moyes will be hoping that comes in this match.

Team News: Solskjaer has defensive worries ahead of West Ham clash; youth players might be added to the squad to add defensive cover.

Solskjaer could be without four defenders for the visit of the Hammers to the Theatre of Dreams. Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones remain on the sidelines, Luke Shaw may not be fit enough after missing the last two matches and Eric Bailly will be out for a period of time following his head injury against Chelsea at Wembley. Solskjaer might need to draft in one of Teden Mengi or Ethan Laird for this match. Solskjaer, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“That’s the way of a footballer’s life, you need to get over this. We’ll be ready for Wednesday. We know how huge those two games are, they’re going to be massive for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Moyes looks set to be missing two players ahead of his return to Old Trafford. Ryan Fredericks (calf/shin/heel) and Robert Snodgrass (lower back) set to be out of his squad, which might not be the biggest of problems for the veteran manager. The Hammers will be seeking to take three points from Old Trafford this season, doing the double over United this season, which would be devastating.

Predicted Starting XI: Top four or bust for United with UEFA Champions League football needed more than ever next season.

United will need to bounce back form their defeat to Chelsea, which was the first in four matches against Frank Lampard’s side. With Leicester losing on Sunday, the chance to break into the top four, possibly at their expense is too much to lose for United. Putting the best available team out to get the result against the Hammers will be needed but it is not going to be easy. United have been pretty poor in their last three matches now.

Match Prediction: United have a lot to lose if they do not bounce back from their FA Cup semi-final defeat against West Ham on Wednesday at Old Trafford.

United and West Ham have played 47 times in the Premier League with United winning 28, drawing 12 and losing seven times. United have scored 94 goals conceding 43. United have kept 18 clean sheets with the Hammers keeping seven. United have won five penalties, scoring four with the Hammers winning two and scoring both. United have been shown 55 yellow cards with the Hammer having 71. United have had four red cards with the Hammers getting two.

Earlier this season, at the London Stadium, the Hammers beat United 2-0 with Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scoring the goals. It was a tough defeat for United to take and after losing against Chelsea in the semi-final of the FA Cup on Sunday, Solskjaer’s side should be looking to bounce back. In this fixture last season, United won with two Paul Pogba penalties which cancelled out Felipe Anderson’s 49th minute equaliser.

Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United

Written by John Walker

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