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Preview: Solskjaer to shuffle the pack against the Hammers? Cavani to lead the line?

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Manchester United -v- West Ham United

Carabao Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 22 September 2021, KO 19:45 BST

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Timothy Wood

Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh

Manchester United will return to Carabao Cup action on Wednesday evening as they welcome West Ham United to the Theatre of Dreams just tree days after the two sides met in the Premier League at the London Stadium, which saw United leave victorious. Cristiano Ronaldo equalised five minutes after Said Benrahma opened the scoring with Jesse Lingard scoring the winner for United before David De Gea saved a last-minute penalty taken by Mark Noble, who was substituted before the spot kick. It was a good match to witness for United supporters and even better that is was another match unbeaten on the road – 29 now.

Over the last two seasons, United have reached the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup, losing to Manchester City at this stage, who have been the eventual winners of the cup. Granted, the Carabao Cup is not the club that many would want to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lift as his first for United as it would not placate the fans who want to see him win a trophy as their stance will change as soon as it happened. I guess the flip flop fans are here to stay, even if they end up getting embarrassed week in and week out. Solskjaer should strive to make it to the final of this competition and lift the trophy – it could well be the first of many for him as a manager.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLWWDW

West Ham United 2-1 W, BSC Young Boys 2-1 L, Newcastle United 4-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W

Goals: 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo, 3 – Mason Greenwood, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Fred

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Bruno Fernandes, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

West Ham United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LWDDWW

Manchester United 2-1 L, Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 W, Southampton 0-0 D, Crystal Palace 2-2 D, Leicester City 4-1 W, Newcastle United 4-2 W

Goals: 5 – Michail Antonio, 3 – Said Benrahma, 2 – Pablo Fornals, 1 – Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek

Assists: 3 – Michail Antonio, 2 – Said Benrahma, 1 – Jarrod Bowen, Vladimir Coufal, Pablo Fornals, Declan Rice

Previous meetings with West Ham and their connections with Manchester United.

United and West Ham have played a total of 147 matches in the history of the two clubs. United have won 70 times, drawing 32 times with the Hammers winning the remaining 45 matches. The majority of the matches have come in the Premier League, Football League Division One and Two, with the remaining being played in domestic cup competitions; 13 in the FA Cup with just three in the League Cup, which is now called the Carabao Cup with United winning twice and losing once. United won 1-0 in 1985, in 2010, the Hammers won 4-0 with United winning 4-1 in 2016. Solskjaer will want to win this match too.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Team News: United have two players out due to injury with the Hammers missing one – others will be missing as they step up their fitness though – time to see Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard?

Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) and Amad Diallo (Thigh) will both be ruled out of the Carabao Cup clash with the Hammers at Old Trafford. Alex Telles (Ankle) and Phil Jones (Match Fitness) are both stepping up their return from injury and Edinson Cavani (Other) is said to me eyeing this match to make his return from injury. Scott McTominay made his return from injury on Sunday against the Hammers and slotted right in to the action, giving United’s midfield a boost ahead of the rest of the season. Perhaps Jesse Lingard, who scored the winner against the Hammers and Donny van de Beek will start this match with some players given a rest?

Winston Reid (Knee) is the only West Ham player to be injured for the clash against United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in the Carabao Cup. Michail Antonio will be eligible to face United in this match having been suspended for the Premier League clash at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon which the Hammers lost 2-1 after Jesse Lingard scored a late goal for United and David De Gea saved a penalty in added time. David Moyes has no other doubts ahead of the match, at this time anyway and there may be some rotation for both teams as they keep their eyes on the Premier League matches at the weekend.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer to shuffle the pack with Dalot, Lindelof, Matic, Lingard, Van de Beek and Cavani all starting in the Carabao Cup clash with West Ham?

It is expected that Solskjaer will shuffle the pack for this match, giving some fringe players the chance to get some minutes under their belts also giving other players a rest ahead of the Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon, which has been moved to a 12:30 BST kick off. I think the likes of Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani could all start in this match, which would be good to see. Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba could all be on the bench in case they are needed at some point in the match.

I wonder if Tom Heaton could start this match, giving David De Gea a rest, but then again, after saving that last-minute penalty against the Hammers on Sunday, having De Gea start would be good as he will still be feeling confident, which is a good thing. Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw could play in the fullback positions with Lindelof and Raphael Varane in the centre of the defence. In the midfield, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay could partner in the pivot with Jesse Lingard, Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho playing in the attacking midfield positions. Edinson Cavani could lead the line for United.

Match Prediction: United to get the victory they need to see them in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup this season but it will not be an easy victory for the Red Devils.

Solskjaer and United will be seeking to get through the Hammers for the second time in a week and put themselves in the draw for the fourth round of the Carabao Cup this season. Perhaps they will face lower league opposition, which is the path that Manchester City seem to get each season, not really tested in the competition until at least the latter stages of the competition when they have faced United in the past two seasons. This is normally a competition that United field youth in but with the level of competition each season, that has not been possible. This match should feature some fringe players though.

I think United will get the win that they want but it will not be easy with the Hammers seeming to head to the Theatre of Dreams with the mindset of causing an upset, which is hat they wanted to do against United on Sunday, however, Ronaldo’s equaliser five minutes after the home side scored, followed by Lingard’s winner – not to mention De Gea’s penalty save stopped that from happening. United got the points on Sunday and I think they will get their second victory over the Hammers this season, just three days after facing them in the Premier League. I wonder what kind of draw they could get for the fourth round of the competition, if they win?

Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW