Manchester United welcome West Ham United and David Moyes to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. Back in December 2023, United fell to a 2-0 defeat to the Hammers in the league at the London Stadium – something they will need to overcome.
Erik then Hag’s United beat Wolves 4-3 at the Molineux on Thursday evening with Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Hojlune, Scott McTominay and Kobbie Mainoo all scoring. United were 3-1 up after McTominay scored with Mainoo scoring what turned out to be the winner.
The Hammers have not been in great form recently with just one victory in their last six matches which was a 2-0 victory over Arsenal. Since then they have been taken to a replay against Bristol in the Emirates FA Cup and were knocked out. Poor results in the league need to be reversed too.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;
Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford;
Andre Onana has returned to the club following Cameroon’s exit from the African Cup of Nations. He started for United against Wolves and conceded three goals, making it 50 for the season so far, which is not good for the club. He will need to start putting an end to these mistakes.
The Cameroonian has been trusted by Ten Hag and will need to show him something in the form of clean sheets and positive performances with few mistakes. He would have been benched under other managers at the club but it is good that the manager has faith in him.
He has not had a strong team playing in front of him this season, so in the next few matches, he could start to find his feet with the first choice players all on the pitch at the same time. If he does not, then it would be time to let Altay Bayindir start in goal and see how well he does.
Defenders: Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw
United’s defence has done well this season, being that there has been so many different combinations of the back four because of injuries. That seems to have changed with the majority of the players now back in action and more finding full fitness again.
Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw will continue in the fullback positions for United against the Hammers. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has a knock and many not be involved in this match – but he could find fitness in the next few days and be involved from the bench – which would be good for United.
In the centre of the defence, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez could both be starting for United. They are the better two central defenders for the club and have the better partnership – although Harry Maguire has worked well with both. Ten Hag will soon have more defenders available.
Midfield: Casemiro, Mainoo
United’s midfield as been positive and the rise of Kobbie Mainoo has been a great thins for the club this season. The 18-year-old has scored his second goal of his United career and has announced himself on the world stage. He is definitely a player for now and the future.
Casemiro’s return to the club following his injury has also been a positive for United with him and Mainoo combining well together as they look to shield the defence and create for the attacking players at the club. The duo will be unstoppable in next to now time, which will be good.
Ten Hag will be able to fall back on the likes of Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay and there is a possibility that Sofyan Amrabat could also be back in the squad as he is due to return to the club this weekend – but then again, this match could come too soon for him.
Attacking Midfield: Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford
The attacking midfield positions for United have been positive since the turn of 2024. United have not yet lost a match, winning three and drawing once. Ten Hag seems to be getting results again, which has come at the same time as the injury crisis has started to curtail.
Alejandro Garnacho should continue playing on the right-wing for United, as he seems to excel in that position. Marcus Rashford should be playing on the left-wing, which is his best position for the club and where he tends to score and assist the most. Now he’s score, it should be better.
In the centre of the attacking three, Bruno Fernandes will continue playing the number ten role. He seems to have been doing well this season, despite not scoring or assisting all of the time. He is still one of the best performers at the club and has recently celebrated four years at United.
Rasmus Hojlund has been doing well for United this season and scored his ninth goal of the season against Wolves. He should be reaching double figures in the next few matches. The Danish striker has been in form in the last few matches, well since he scored his first Premier League goal.
Hojlund will have to be the main striker for the club for the remainder of the season with Anthony Martial out of action until April, but it is likely that he will not play much football for the remainder of the season, not that he makes much effort in the firs place.
If United need another striker to lead the line for the club in the meantime, Ten Hag will need to change the formation. Rashford has led the line at times but it is not feasible for United in the long run. It is possible that a youth player could be brought in, but that may not happen.
Substitutes: Bayindir; Maguire, Kambwala, Evans; Eriksen, McTominay, Forson; Amad, Antony
United will have nine substitutes on the bench against the Hammers and able to utilise five of them throughout the match. With Onana back in goal for United, Altay Bayindir will once again be on the bench for United. One would assume that Onana should be on the bench.
In defence, United could have Harry Maguire, Willy Kambwala and Jonny Evans on the bench, which adds both youth and experience – a good thing for United. In the midfield, Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay and Omari Forson which adds more youth and experience – great for United.
In the attacking ranks, United are short at this time with no other strikers available. So Ten Hag could be with just Amad Diallo and Antony on the bench which will have to do but with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund doing well, they should be in safe hands.
Written by John Walker