Manchester United and West Ham United last met at Old Trafford just three days ago and they are about to go head to head once again, this time in the EFL Cup. Both teams draw 1-1 in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon after the Hammers found the back of the net, with the help of a free-kick, in the second minute of the match. United equalised less than 20 minutes later through Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a sublime ball from Paul Pogba, who according to the ABU’s is massively failing at United this season, despite some stunning performances. Too many people judge too soon, I guess. United will be looking to get into the semi-final of the EFL Cup, as will the Hammers and that is something Slaven Bilic wants to do. Sky Sports reported the Croatian manager as saying:
“We are going to do everything we can to beat them. Manchester United are probably also going to change their team. What we expect is the same shape from them, same kind of football, just different names.
“It’s a quarter-final, which means if you win you are in semis and that’s a big thing, and only a couple of games to the final.”
Manchester United will be without the services of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, as both received their fifth yellow cards in English competitions this season, therefore being suspended for the next match. Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are still on the sidelines, despite the latter returning to training with the club this week. United are likely to have Michael Carrick back in the squad, after missing the visit of West Ham at the weekend and Bastian Schweinsteiger is expected to be named in the squad again, for the second time in a week. Whether his return has been preempted or is just down to the fact that the midfield has been hit with inconsistencies recently, remains to be seen.
United could bring Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial, and Memphis Depay back into the squad, but in order to beat the Hammers, I feel United need to be using the big guns. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick may all need to be used, just four days ahead of the trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Premier League, another match that United need to turn the screws up on, ensuring they leave Merseyside with three points in the bag – that will be very important, as will beating West Ham United this time. With Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Mata et al in the side, United have the pace, the ability, and the thought in order to attack their opposition. Zlatan needs goals, he got one on Sunday but missed a few chances also. That is the same story with a striker, they always miss more than they score, but it Zlatan scored more, United would be in a much better position, that can be said of any attacking player, though.
The fact that Pogba will miss the match will be a big deal, but with the busy festive period fastly approaching and the fact that United will face a big challenge in December, a rest for the Frenchman was a likely scenario for this match, as players need to be kept fresh. Mkhitaryan has seldom played any football this season, so he is like a new signing in November, heading into December where a run of matches will be important. Jose Mourinho could have played his cards right with the Armenian in that respect. Saving something for when it matters. He did need to adapt after all, but all of those fans who slated the manager, will not thank him for what he has done, as they don’t think he has done anything. That is the sad thing. Fans are willing to associate blame, but not associate praise. That is the fickle nature of modern football though! Will Manchester United prevail, only time will tell!