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Scouting The Opposition: West Ham United scouted ahead of Premier League opener

The finishing touches to this season’s preparations are coming to an end as the Premier League finally returns from the summer break. With West Ham United having to open their season with three consecutive away games due to the London Stadium’s athletics priorities, I’m sure many fans would have wanted to avoid a trip to Old Trafford, a ground where the Hammers have just one win in fifteen years. If pre-season results are anything to go by United can be confident to get three points in this Sunday’s opener, with West Ham arriving on the back of just one win in six pre-season games, finishing up with a 3-0 loss to Manchester City.

However, as we all know, pre-season is all about fitness and match practice, with the results having no real relevance to a season’s expectations (Just as West Ham saw with a 100% pre-season record leading to relegation in 2011). So, in reality, there is still every chance West Ham can take the three points back to London, especially with a look in at the players acquired over the summer. Although, what we do know is that it is a fixture which always produces a great game of football. Here is a quick peek into United’s opposition on Sunday, labelled title contenders by Jose Mourinho for this season. Hmm, maybe.

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Formerly a player for West Ham in the 1990’s, the Croatian took charge of West Ham for the club’s final season at the beloved Boleyn Ground and over-exceeded expectations massively. However, following a truly remarkable season, it took a turn for the worst inside the 48-year-old’s second season. A transfer request from star man Dimitri Payet alongside the new stadium factor unsettling both players and fans it was always going to be a hard season.

A very likeable and passionate manager, you’ll be sure to see him walk miles within his technical area trying to do everything he can in his power to get a result. Perhaps even that little bit more, with this season being a test to show that his first season was no one-off.

Ones to Watch

Javier Hernandez: Returning to Old Trafford following a five-year stay at United from 2010, this is a man you need to keep your eye on at all times. Signing for a fee believed to be around £17 million, this is arguably the signing of the summer especially with today’s inflated prices. The Mexican is a very quick striker with a poacher’s instinct and is sure to test every defence as his scoring records across Europe’s top league’s show. Although it has been reported that the forward is not at full fitness which could see him not as his sharpest and subbed off in the second half should he start.

Marko Arnautovic: Another summer signing for the Hammers is set to be a threat to the United defence with his flair and technical ability. Breaking West Ham’s transfer record with a fee around £25 million, the Austrian is set to show why he has such a large transfer fee. Scoring against United in the past, I wouldn’t put it past him to do it again. However, one downfall, especially in a fixture with backs against the wall, is his work rate. This may play to United’s favour should he be in the starting line-up.

Predicted Line-Up

Prediction

Manchester United 2-0 West Ham United

I know it seems very pessimistic for me as a West Ham fan to have this prediction but I feel like Manchester United will just be too strong for an already injury ridden side. If it was later in the season it certainly wouldn’t be this, however, key players such as Manuel Lanzini, Mikhail Antonio, Andy Carroll and Cheikhou Kouyaté being out of the side as well as Javier Hernandez not being at full fitness, I feel that we may fall short of what is required to get a result. Saying that, if we are on our day, there is no reason why we can’t knick something!

Written by Sam Hall of @WHUFC_News

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