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Preview: United need a reaction from the Milan malaise and beating the Hammers will be a major positive

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Manchester United -v- West Ham United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 14 March 2021, KO 19:15 GMT

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Gary Beswick, Sian Massey-Ellis

Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn

Manchester United return to Premier League action at Old Trafford when they welcome West Ham United on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have had a tough season and despite results not being great, they are not unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions. David Moyes’ side is in fine form at this stage of the season with the club seeking to finish in the European places, which would be a great result for the club and something they will strive to complete as long as they stay in with a chance of achieving that. Jesse Lingard has been a good loan signing for the club, but he won’t be able to feature against United.

United had a poor result at Old Trafford against AC Milan on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg in which Milan scored twice in the opening 11 minutes of the match; the first being ruled out of offside, the second for a hand ball. United scored in the 50th minute of the match with Amad Diallo coming on at the start of the half and scoring his first goal for the club in five minutes. United led until the penultimate minute of added time with Dean Henderson punching Simon Kjaer’s header into the back of his net with the away goal finally being scored, which puts Milan in an advantageous position ahead of the second leg.

Manchester United: DWDDDW

AC Milan 1-1 D, Manchester City 2-0 W, Crystal Palace 0-0 D, Chelsea 0-0 D, Real Sociedad 0-0 D, Newcastle United 3-1 W

West Ham United: WLWWLD

Leeds United 2-0 W, Manchester City 2-1 L, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Sheffield United 3-0 W, Manchester United 1-0 L, Fulham 0-0 D

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes is well ahead of West Ham’s top scorer, Tomas Soucek who has scored just over one quarter of the goals the Portuguese magnifico has scored this season.

Manchester United Goals: 23 – Bruno Fernandes, 18 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Daniel James, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

United have managed to get some good results recently despite many draws, which is a positive. It is also something that you would expect when many of the senior players are on the sidelines due to injury. In their last six matches, United have won twice and drawn four, scoring six goals and conceding two, keeping four clean sheets, one of those against Premier League leaders Manchester City last weekend. The 101 draw with AC Milan was a big blow, conceding in the penultimate minute of added time. United will need to show their spirit and get a result in this match to keep them en-route to an easier top four finish in the Premier League.

West Ham United Goals: 8 – Tomas Soucek, 7 – Michail Antonio, Sébastien Haller, 5 – Jarrod Bowen, 4 – Craig Dawson, Jesse Lingard, 3 – Pablo Fornals, Andriy Yarmolenko, 2 – Angelo Ogbonna, Robert Snodgrass, 1 – Oladapo Afolayan, Felipe Anderson, Fabián Balbuena, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Manuel Lanzini, Declan Rice

The Hammers are riding high this season. They sit fifth in the league at the time of writing, two game in hand over Chelsea, who drew 0-0 with Leeds United on Saturday. This means that if they beat United and continue winning, they could topple Chelsea when they have played their game in hand, which could see them in the top four. David Moyes’ side will be seeking European football next season and they are in a great position to succeed in that respect. In the last six matches, the Hammer have won won three, drawn one and lost twice, scoring eight goals, conceding four and keeping three clean sheets.

Team News: United have four players ruled out and are sweating on the fitness of three others with the Hammers having four players ruled out with the fitness of another in doubt.

Phil Jones (knee), Paul Pogba (thigh), Juan Mata (other) and Donny van de Beek (other) have all been ruled out of the match against West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday evening. Edinson Cavani (other), Marcus Rashford (ankle) and Anthony Martial (hip) all have a 25% chance of featuring against the Hammers and David De Gea (paternity) who recently became a father, is back in Manchester isolated for five days in line with the coronavirus regulations. He will need a negative test both at club and Premier League level to be inn contention to play for his club again. That is not expected to happen this weekend but he could be back for Thursday.

Darren Randolph (groin-hip), Andriy Yarmolenko (knee), Angelo Ogbonna (ankle/foot), Arthur Masuaku (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams through injury. Ryan Fredericks (groin/hip) has a 25% chance of being fit to face United this weekend, which means that David Moyes’ side could be without five players due to injury. Jesse Lingard, who has scored four goals for the Hammers this season, is not eligible to face United so will also miss the match. Moyes’ side have been in good form this season and at the time of writing, sit in fifth place in the Premier League, six points adrift of second-placed United.

Predicted Starting XI: Amad Diallo to start his first match for United with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side depleted by injuries ahead of Sunday’s Premier League encounter with West Ham United?

Solskjaer has a few problems ahead of this clash with West Ham United, namely injuries. Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford could all be out of action due to injuries. Also, Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata are also out of contention, giving United problems across three areas of the pitch. David De Gea will also be missing because of isolation following his return to the UK from Spain after the birth of his daughter. It is possible that there could be some surprises with Solskjaer keeping his cards close to his chest, but United look set to be without some major names, which will be a massive blow.

Match Prediction: 49 matches played in the Premier League between United and the Hammers; United have won 29 times, unbeaten 42 times, losing just seven.

United and the Hammers have played 49 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 29 times, drawing 13 times and losing just seven times. United have scored a total of 98 times, conceding 45. The Red Devils have won five penalties, scoring four of them with the Hammers winning three and scoring all of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets against the Hammers with the London club keeping just seven. In terms of disciplining, United’s players have been shown a total of 58 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammer’s players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

Earlier this season, United beat the Hammers at the London Stadium with a 3-1 scoreline with saw Tomas Soucek open the scoring in the 38th minute of the match. Paul Pogba equalised in the 65th minute, Anthony Martial put United ahead in the 68th minute and Marcus Rashford completed the scoring in the 78th minute of the match to claim all three points. In this fixture last season, is was a 1-1 draw with Michail Antonio scoring a penalty in added time at the end of the first half and Mason Greenwood equalising in the 51st minute. United and the Hammers met at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in February with Scott McTominay scoring the only goal.

Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United

Written by John Walker

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