Manchester United welcome West Ham United to Old Trafford in the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday evening. This will be the thirteenth time that United and the Hammers have been drawn against each other in England’s oldest domestic trophy. Both United and the Hammers are in good form with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United scoring 12 goals in their last two matches and David Moyes’ Hammers coming back from a defeat to Liverpool to beat Aston Villa during the week, which saw loanee Jesse Lingard score a brace to help win the match. A draw with Fulham put them on a similar path to United, who also had a win and a draw in their last two matches. This will be a fight of the fittest and the hungriest team will reach the quarter-final stage.
Lingard is not eligible to face United in the FA Cup as he featured against Watford in the third round of the competition earlier this season, so is cup-tied. If he had not played, he could have featured against United should their have no nothing stated in the contract forbidding that. United will be eager to get back to winning ways after having victory over Everton snatched from their grasp at the death on Saturday evening, which made the 3-3 draw feel like a defeat. Solskjaer will need to work with his players in the days ahead to find the problems and hope that they can be solved before kick off at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. United will be seeking to put their semi-final defeat to Chelsea last season behind them and aim to win the cup this season.
How United have faired against West Ham United in the Emirates FA Cup.
United and the Hammers have met 12 times in the history of the Emirates FA Cup. United have won five times, drawing three times and losing four times. United have scored a total of 21 goals, conceding 15. United have kept four clean sheets with the Hammers keeping two. United have lost just two of their matches against the Hammers in the FA Cup at Old Trafford – the last time being just over 20 years ago; a 1-0 victory for the Hammers in which Paulo Di Canio scored the only goal of the match. Prior to that, the other defeat at Old Trafford was in 1986 before Sir Alex Ferguson managed the club. Ray Stewart and Geoff Pike scored the goals for the Hammers back then.
United last faced the Hammers in the FA Cup back on the 13 April 2016 at Upton Park in the sixth round replay after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford a month prior. Dimitri Payet scored the opening goal in the draw with Anthony Martial equalising in the 83rd minute. At Upton Park, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini scoring for United and James Tomkins getting a consolation for the Hammers. That season, under the management of Louis van Gaal, United went on to win the FA Cup, beating Everton 2-1 at Wembley in the semi-final and then beating Crystal Palace 2-1, after extra time, in the final. It was the first major honour for United after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson three years prior.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Ham United in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening…
Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson
Dean Henderson should start against West Ham United on Tuesday evening. David De Gea’s form is starting to pose similar questions as it did ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea last season. United lost that match because of errors caused by the goalkeeper. Henderson has the talent to succeed at the club and perhaps he should be given the chance, which might help De Gea work in the background to rediscover his form once again. Henderson played twice against the Hammers last season, drawing 1-1, conceding a goal scored by Robert Snodgrass, at the London Stadium, helping his side win 1-0 at Bramall Lane. Henderson is a confident player and has played most of his football in cup competitions this season, so should be involved once again.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
United conceded three goals against Everton at the weekend and they will need to keep the Hammers at bay. Earlier this season, David Moyes’ side opened the scoring at the London Stadium with United having to come from behind, which they did, winning the match 3-1. Eric Bailly has a small chance of featuring for United at the moment which means Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will probably start once again. Wan-Bissaka and Shaw have both performed well of late with the main problems seemingly in the centre of defence. Solving that problem and returning to winning ways is necessary for United to prevail this season. They have as good a chance as any to win the Emirates FA Cup this season.
Midfield: Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek
Paul Pogba looks set to be on the sidelines for an unknown period fo time after suffering from a thigh injury against Everton at the weekend. With this in mind, Solskjaer should probably give Donny van de Beek a chance to start for United, seeing if he can fill the void Pogba will leave after his period of form over the past month or so. Scott McTominay should partner him as he is also in some good form at this stage of the season, scoring his sixth goal of the season against Everton, scoring twice in his last two matches. The midfield is an area that has many talented players to pick. Fred played well against Everton, but on this occasion, he should be on the bench to add something later on in the game, if he is needed.
Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford
Bruno Fernandes scored his 18th goal of the season against Everton at the weekend and it should be a goal of the month contender for February and possibly in the list for potential goals of the season. He really has turned this United team into something to be contended with. He has bags of talent and despite a handful of poor performances, he always seems to find something out of nothing to make things so much better, which was the case for his goal which put United 2-0 up just before half time against the Toffees. Marcus Rashford has bagged 16 goals so far this season but at times his decision-making needs to see some improvement, as well as his finishing. Mason Greenwood played a good game at the weekend and should keep his place in the team.
Forwards: Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani is everything that is needed in a Manchester United striker. He knows how to position himself, where to find the goals and his headers into the back of the net are something that has been missing at the club for a few years now. Cavani will turn 34 next Sunday but the form he is in makes his age just a number – nothing more. Anthony Martial bagged two goals against Southampton earlier in the week as United ran riot, winning 9-0 but he was unused against Everton, which might be telling with regards to his overall form this season. Of course, he might start against the Hammers but it seems to be working the way it is for United right now so if it is not broken, why should it be fixed. Martial might be able to come on late in the game to add something.
Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Fred, Amad Diallo, Daniel James; Anthony Martial
Nine substitutes will be able to be named one the bench, the same for the Premier League and the Carabao Cup but in the Emirates FA Cup, up to five substitutions are able to be made in three different periods (not including the half time break) throughout the match. If extra time is needed, a sixth substitution could be used. David De Gea should be on the bench for this match after his form deteriorated against Everton. In defence, Eric Bailly will hopefully be fit to play a part, however small, Alex Telles and Brandon Williams could add to the fullback areas, should a change be needed. In midfield, Juan Mata, Fred and Daniel James could be involved with Amad Diallo on the bench if Solskjaer feels the timing is right. In attack, Anthony Martial should be available as the only attacking player on the bench.
Written by John Walker