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Preview: Marcus Rashford to inspire Manchester United with a brace against the Hammers, reaching his 50th goal for the club?

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West Ham United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

London Stadium, London

Sunday 22 September 2019, KO 14:00 BST

Referee: Anthony Taylor  Assistants: Gary Beswick; Adam Nunn Fourth Official: Lee Mason

VAR: Graham Scott Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United on Sunday afternoon, seeking their first away win in the Premier League this season. Manuel Pellegrini’s side are unbeaten since the opening weekend of the new season and they will be seeking to keep that record alive during this match, which will be tough for United.

United rose into the top four of the league last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City, a team which beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the second Premier League match of the weekend. West Ham has the same number of points as United, eight, but sit below United due to goal difference. United will need to be on top of their game for this match.

The Hammers have won two of their last four home matches against United, drawing once and losing once, which incidentally is the same number of wins in the other 19 home matches, two, drawing nine and losing eight times. United has scored more goals against the Hammers than any other club – 94 and has lost twice in their last 21 league matches.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side needs to kick on this season and find a way of breaking down their opposition with little creativity. It will be a massive test for some of these players, who are starting their careers at this club. Others may end up finding it too hard in a season that could define United come May.

Form: Both United and the Hammers have lost once this season. One of them will have to reign supreme in this match in order to continue a good run to the season so far.

Manchester United: WWDLDW

FC Astana 1-0 W, Leicester City 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 2-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 D, Chelsea 4-0 W

West Ham United: DWWWDL

Aston Villa 0-0 D, Norwich City 2-0 W, Newport County 2-0 W, Watford 3-1 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 D, Manchester City 5-0 L

Top Scorers: United has scored nine goals this season to West Ham’s eight goals – who has scored the most for each club?

Manchester United: Daniel James and Marcus Rashford vying to become the top scorer for the club this season. Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood not far away though.

Goals: 3 – Daniel James, Marcus Rashford, 2 – Anthony Martial, 1 – Mason Greenwood

United has had a very mixed start to the 2019/20 season. The 4-0 victory over Chelsea set a precedent that the club was unable to continue. The 1-1 draws against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton, the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace and the 1-0 victories over Leicester City and FC Astana confirm that goals will be problematic this season.

West Ham United: Sébastien Haller has shown why he was a good signing this summer scoring three goals for his club this season. More goals needed though for him to succeed.

Goals: 3 – Sébastien Haller, 1 – Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Javier Hernández, Mark Noble, Pablo Fornals

West Ham has done well to overcome that 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season. Since then they are undefeated, drawing twice and winning the other three matches they have played. In this match last season, United were surprised by a 3-1 defeat which will be something the Hammers will want to serve up again.

Team News: Solskjaer buoyed by injuries but the team will have to kick on and aim to make a mark against the Hammers without them.

Solskjaer has confirmed that Luke Shaw will miss this match and that both Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are likely to miss the match. Daniel James, who was injured against Leicester, missed the Astana match but could be fit to face the Hammers, although we will have to wait and see. This is not great news for United, who need to win this match.

The Hammers will be without Arthur Masuaku who was sent off against Aston Villa on Monday. Aaron Cresswell could replace him in the team. Pellegrini will be without both Michail Antonio (hamstring) and Winston Reid (knee) but Manuel Lanzini (knock) will be subject to a late fitness test. Other than that, the Hammers will be ready to go on Sunday.

Predicted Starting XI: I would expect at least seven or eight changes from the team that beat Astana to face the Hammers on Sunday.

Solskjaer has to make do without Shaw, Pogba and Martial if the latter two do not recover in time for this match, which is unlikely. James could also be a casualty, however, I have presumed that he is fit to start for United. Marcus Rashford will continue to lead the line in Martial’s absence, with Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira supporting, along with James.

Rashford is on 48 goals for United in 178 appearances, which may not be good reading is stats and averages are your thing. However, at 21, to be on the cusp of 50 goals is a great achievement for the lad. He will always get the haters but of late, they seem to be ‘fans’ of the club he plays for, which seems rather strange but hey, each to their own.

Match Prediction: United will have a tough time breaking down the Hammers, who are seeking to improve massively this season.

United and West Ham have met 141 times with United winning 66 times, drawing 31 times and losing 44 times. In the last 21 Premier League appearances, United has lost just twice against the Hammers, the last defeat was at the London Stadium last season, a 3-1 defeat on the 29 September 2018 with United’s onlt goal coming from Marcus Rashford.

West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United

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copyright: JW