Preview: Mkhitaryan to continue building confidence and form against the hammers?

Old Trafford, Manchester

Premier League 2016/17

Sunday 27th November 2016 – KO 16:30

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Assistant Referees: Andy Halliday and Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor

Manchester United face West Ham United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United have been in good form recently, maybe not getting the results, but putting in some good performances, which seems to have come to fruition against Feyenoord at Old Trafford on Thursday night in the UEFA Europa League. United needed four points to earn a place in the knockout stages of the competition, grinding a convincing 4-0 victory over the team who beat them in Holland at the start of the season. Jose Mourinho made six changes from the Arsenal match, allowing David De Gea and Ander Herrera to rest, getting themselves ready for the visit of West Ham on Sunday. The hammers were a team that always brought a challenge for United, but this season, that might be something that does not happen after their mixed form this season, earning three wins so far.

United have not had a great start to the season either, but sit sixth in the league, six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and nine points from league leaders Chelsea. United might be out of the mix at this moment in time, but the coming weeks could see United play catch up if only to make their top four target a little easier to achieve. A title run may not be fully out of the question, but right now, it does not look likely. Jimmy Greaves once said football was a funny old game, so you never know. West Ham sit in 17th place so far this season, just a point over Hull City who are in the relegation places, so a result at Old Trafford will be something that Slaven Bilic will want in order to break away from the bottom three, which might not happen until his side see some consistency in their performances, consistency for the better at least, as they have been consistently dire this season.

West Ham last beat United at Old Trafford back on the 13th May 2007 with Carlos Tevez scoring the only goal of the game. Since then, the hammers have managed just two draws and eight defeats in ten matches, which is not great, to be honest. United should throw all they can at the Londoners in the early stages of the match, but ensuring their finishing is perfect with them scoring at least two goals, which should all but end the game, unless West Ham fight back, which is what they will be expected to do. United have a great team, with players now starting to gel in the team, which is what makes them even more dangerous. Of course, United could have another bad day and be beaten, but they really need to be in charge of their matches at Old Trafford, as that is something that is needed to turn the Theatre of Dreams into a fortress once again.

Manchester United Form:- WDWLD

Feyenoord 4-0 W, Arsenal 1-1 D, Swansea City 3-1 W, Fenerbahçe 2-1 L, Burnley 0-0 D

Manchester United have seemingly turned a corner with their performances over the past few matches. Against Burnley, United played well, were very attacking and clinical, despite not scoring a goal. They played well against Swansea City and against Arsenal but were unlucky to concede a last-minute equaliser, taking two points away from them. Against Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night at Old Trafford, United managed to put it all together, threatening the Dutch side for almost the entire match. Wayne Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick were all magnificent, as was Sergio Romero, who managed a double save, which kept United in the game early on. If this United continue to perform like this, Mourinho will have started something this season.

West Ham United Form:- LDLWW

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 L, Stoke City 1-1 D, Everton 2-0 L, Chelsea 2-1 W, Sunderland 1-0 W

West Ham United were a team to beat last season, this season, they are a beaten team. The move to the tax-payer funded London Stadium seems to have been the kiss of death to the coin throwers, which is even funnier to watch. Three wins in the Premier League this season show that the only scrap the London side could have this season is a relegation battle, which would not be a huge loss if they ended up back in the Championship. Slaven Bilic’s West Ham just do not seem like they are pushing for anything, which must be frustrating for their fans. Still, some fans reckon the hammers will win 3-2 at Old Trafford. Should United be in the zone, like they were on Thursday evening, good luck with that one!

Manchester United Top Scorers:

8 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 5 – Juan Mata, 4 – Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, 3 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 2 – Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling

West Ham United Top Scorers:

6 – Michail Antonio, 3 – Cheikhou Kouyaté, Manuel Lanzini, 2 – Mark Noble, Dimitri Payet, 1 – James Collins, Sofiane Feghouli, Edimilson Fernandes, Own Goal, Winston Reid

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Eric Bailly (knee), Chris Smalling (foot)

West Ham United Squad:

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Adrián, Raphael Spiegel

Defenders: Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Álvaro Arbeloa, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Sam Byram, Doneil Henry, Arthur Masuaku, Reece Oxford, Declan Rice

Midfielders: Håvard Nordtveit, Sofiane Feghouli, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Gökhan Töre, Dimitri Payet, Michail Antonio, Domingos Quina, Djair Parfitt-Williams, Marcus Browne, Moses Makasi

Forwards: Andy Carroll, Simone Zaza, Diafra Sakho, André Ayew, Ashley Fletcher, Jonathan Calleri, Antonio Martinez

Injuries and Suspensions: Reece Oxford (ankle), Gökhan Töre (thigh), Sam Byram (hamstring), Arthur Masuaku (knee), Andy Carroll (knee)

Predicted Starting XI:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a player who needs to build on his confidence from the performance he put in against Feyenoord on Thursday night, the guy was immense. Fast on the ball, good with the ball, but unlucky in his plight to find the back of the net, which was something he consistently tried to do. United were great against the Dutch side, which if carried into this Premier League game, where United are looking to get back into the mix, it could devastate Slaven Bilic’s side, which would be the signs of a great day. United need to find that ruthless streak, the performances have been growing for the past few weeks or so, picking the team to continue that into this match is important.

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United

West Ham were always a tough team to play over the past few seasons, even under Sir Alex Ferguson. This season, their start to the season makes this look like an easier match, but that is something United have become unstuck from already. If the draws against Stoke City, Burnley, and Arsenal were all wins, United would be up there at the top of the table, getting ready to string a title challenge together. United have not always taken advantage of teams above them slipping up, so if that happens this weekend, it is something United need to do, sending a message to their rivals, as if another performance is made, United season looks set to start, maybe too late, but it could also be the right time.

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copyright: JW

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