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Ratings: Pogba’s finish was fantastic, Greenwood’s was Van Persie-esque, Rashford scored tenth goal in Hammers victory

Manchester United beat West Ham United 3-1 in the Premier League at the London Stadium on Saturday evening. It was a dire first half for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as the Hammers were all over United and looked the better team. Tomas Soucek opened the scoring in the 38th minute of the match. In the second half, a stunning strike from Paul Pogba in the 65th minute, a sublime Mason Greenwood strike three minutes later turned United’s fortunes around. Marcus Rashford hit the post minutes before scoring his tenth goal of the season. United have a tough match against RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday.

It was another one of those matches for United. Nothing was fitting together and the players looked inept at times. They were poor with possession from the start of the match. United had a few opportunities in the first half but did not really take them. In the 38th minute of the match, the Hammers opened the scoring – and they have been on the cusp of doing that for the majority of the half. Declan Rice flicked a corner kick into the near post and Tomas Soucek bundled the ball over the line from close-range. United seemed to appeal for offside but the appeal was waved off by the referee. United had been dire in the match and needed to improve.

At the start of the second half Solskjaer made a double substitution with Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes replacing Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek with United trailing 1-0 and needing to get back into the match. Anthony Martial seemed uneasy on his feet around the hour mark of the match and seemed unable to continue. He was replaced by Juan Mata in the 62nd minute. United got themselves back into the game three minutes later after Paul Pogba thundered an equaliser into the back of the net after Dean Henderson launched the ball up field to Fernandes who assisted the Frenchman.

David Moyes felt that the ball went out of play but VAR gave the goal so United were back in the game. Fast forward another three minutes and Mason Greenwood, assisted by Alex Telles got United ahead in the match with a sublime finish, taking a touch before firing into the back of the net in a way similar to that of Robin van Persie. United were 2-1 after a dire first half. Marcus Rashford then got through on goal, beating his man and the goalkeeper but hitting the post, which was unfortunate. In the 78th minute, Rashford got his 10th goal of the season with a sublime finish, pushing the Hammers aside after a poor first half.

Over the 90 minutes of the match, United were poor but coming back in the second half, the way that they did shows that there is something there for this team to build on. The fact that they can play terribly and find the goal needed to overturn their opposition is a good foundation. United have a difficult week ahead of them with a trip to RB Leipzig in the Champions League of which they will need at least a draw to qualify the the round of 16 in the competition. Then they face Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the season at Old Trafford, which will be an important match. To top that, United are now fourth in the league.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Unlucky to have conceded the opening goal at the end of the first half. Made some important saves and interceptions. His quick thinking created a chance for United to equalise, lofting the ball up field to Fernandes, who assisted for Pogba. A cracking first start in the Premier League for him.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did not have the best performance and despite a good tackle on Bowen, he needs to find a way to offer what United need. He's a good defender, and granted, the whole team was off in the first half, but like his teammates, he improved in the second half.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Iceman seemed uncomfortable against the Hammers, which was there to be seen by anyone. That wained in the second half as United gained more confidence from an equaliser and a winner minutes later, not to mention a third goal to give a two-goal cushion.

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5 Harry Maguire

Did not defend at the level he's capable of, especially in the first half. Allowed Haller to get though with the Hammers 1-0 up. In the second half, he improved greatly, as did his teammates, and helped them get the victory.

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27 Alex Telles

He will not want to see a replay of what Bowen did to him, which will perhaps show him areas of improvement for the future. He assist for Greenwood's goal was good to see and will raise his confidence.

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6 Paul Pogba

After stuttering in the match, he pulled it out of the bag and scored a long-range effort to level the score in the 65th minute of the match. If he keeps playing like that, he will gain some respect from those who criticise him (including myself) for the poor performances he has put in this season.

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39 Scott McTominay

Did a job in midfield and his passion and ability on Ann off the ball were well rewarded with his team *eventually* finding their feet and getting three goals into the back of the net.

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34 Donny van de Beek

The Dutchman did a bit in midfield for United but without Fernandes, creativity seemed to be an issue. His hold up play was good and he got involved but United needed a change. Fernandes replaced him at the start of the second half.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Put United ahead in the 68th minute of the match, three minutes after the equaliser with a sublime finish from a Telles assist. He took a touch before finding the back of the net akin to Robin van Persie.

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7 Edinson Cavani

In the first half of the match the Uruguayan did not seem to be getting much done. United were dire and the Hammers opened the scoring in the 38th minute of the match, despite having many chances before that. Cavani was replaced by Rashford at the start of the second half.

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9 Anthony Martial

Did not seem to get involved in good sense. Led the line in the second half but seemed to get injured and was replaced by Mata. Not a good few weeks for the Frenchman who is out of form once again.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Cavani 46'. Got his tenth goal of the season in the 78th minute after hitting the post minutes earlier. Seems to he heading into a period of form again, which is a good thing.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Replaced Van de Beek 46'. Got another assist under his belt after Solskjaer brought him on to change the tide for United, which he did. A cracking player but also one that needs to be rested from time to time to stop him from burning out.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Martial 62'. Got himself another assist this season, providing the pass for Rashford's tenth goal of the season. A good performance from the Spanish magician.

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Goals: Tomas Soucek 38′; Paul Pogba 65′, Mason Greenwood 68′, Marcus Rashford 78′

Assists: Declan Rice 38′; Bruno Fernandes 65′, Alex Telles 68′, Juan Mata 78′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Pogba, McTominay, Van de Beek (Fernandes 46′); Greenwood, Cavani (Rashford 46′), Martial (Mata 62′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Williams, Tuanzebe; Matic

Bookings: N/A

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Henderson, Pogba, Van de Beek, Greenwood and Cavani start against West Ham United

Manchester United are on the road again in the Premier League as they face West Ham United at the London Stadium this evening. The Hammers played on Monday evening, beating Aston Villa 2-1 and will have had at least four days to rest ahead of their next match whilst United played on both Sunday, beat Southampton 3-2 and on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to PSG, giving them just two days of rest ahead of the match. This can be seen as both positive and negative with United’s fitness possibly being higher than the Hammers, but fatigue could also kick in for United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to rotate his squad a little to continue throughout the month with seven more matches to be played before the end of the year which will see United finding out their fate in the Champions League and the Carabao Cup on their quest for trophies. David Moyes will also be seeking to get the better of United once again after his dire nine-month spell at the club. Solskjaer’s side will need to be at their best to take on the Hammers, who have been playing some good football. United also need to keep one eye on Tuesday’s match away to RB Leipzig – avoiding defeat there will see United remain in the Champions League.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Pogba, McTominay, Van de Beek;

Greenwood, Cavani, Martial

Substitutes:

Grant; Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Fernandes, Matic; Rashford

West Ham United:

Fabianski;

Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell;

Masuaku, Rice, Soucek, Bowen;

Fornals, Haller

Substitutes:

Randolph; Diop, Johnson, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Benrahma

United and the Hammers have played a total of 48 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28, the Hammers have won seven with both teams drawing 13 times. United have scored 95 goals against the Hammers; winning five penalties, scoring four of them. The Hammers have scored 44 goals against United; winning three penalties, scoring all of them. United have kept a clean sheet 18 times with the Hammers keeping seven. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 58 yellow cards and four red cards whereas the Hammers have been shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

In this fixture last season, which was played on the 22 July 2020, it was a 1-1 draw between the two sides at the London Stadium with Michail Antonio opening the scoring from the penalty spot in added time at the end of the first half and Mason Greenwood equalising in the 51st minute of the match, assisted by Anthony Martial. At Old Trafford in a match which was played on the 22 September 2019, the Hammers won 2-0 with Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scoring the goals in either half to take all three points in the match, United will need to be in good form against the Hammers, who are doing well this season.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Greenwood, Fernandes and Martial to lead the attack against the Hammers? Van de Beek to partner McTominay in midfield?

Manchester United are on the road again in the Premier League this weekend as they face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday evening. The Hammers played on Monday evening, beating Aston Villa 2-1 and will have had at least four days to rest ahead of their next match whilst United played on both Sunday, beat Southampton 3-2 and on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to PSG, giving them just two days of rest ahead of the match. This can be seen as both positive and negative with United’s fitness possibly being higher than the Hammers, but fatigue could also kick in for United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to rotate his squad a little to continue throughout the month with seven more matches to be played before the end of the year which will see United finding out their fate in the Champions League and the Carabao Cup on their quest for trophies. David Moyes will also be seeking to get the better of United once again after his dire nine-month spell at the club. Solskjaer’s side will need to be at their best to take on the Hammers, who have been playing some good football. United also need to keep one eye on Tuesday’s match away to RB Leipzig – avoiding defeat there will see United remain in the Champions League.

How United have faired against West Ham United in the Premier League.

United and the Hammers have played a total of 48 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28, the Hammers have won seven with both teams drawing 13 times. United have scored 95 goals against the Hammers; winning five penalties, scoring four of them. The Hammers have scored 44 goals against United; winning three penalties, scoring all of them. United have kept a clean sheet 18 times with the Hammers keeping seven. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 58 yellow cards and four red cards whereas the Hammers have been shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

In this fixture last season, which was played on the 22 July 2020, it was a 1-1 draw between the two sides at the London Stadium with Michail Antonio opening the scoring from the penalty spot in added time at the end of the first half and Mason Greenwood equalising in the 51st minute of the match, assisted by Anthony Martial. At Old Trafford in a match which was played on the 22 September 2019, the Hammers won 2-0 with Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scoring the goals in either half to take all three points in the match, United will need to be in good form against the Hammers, who are doing well this season.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Ham United in the Premier League at the London Stadium on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

Despite conceding three goals against PSG, the Spanish goalkeeper put in a good performance and made a few good saves to keep United in the match. Against Southampton on Sunday, De Gea came off due to an injury to his knee, which he seemed to recover from but showed signs of strain on Wednesday evening against PSG. If fit, he would be the best option against the Hammers but Dean Henderson will do his best if he gets the opportunity once again. United have two positive goalkeepers and with Henderson pushing De Gea, it could turn into something good for United as they have struggled with goalkeepers in the past.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

The defence is an area that will require some work during the January transfer window, if United are going to be active. Victor Lindelof’s performance against PSG was poor at times and I think that with Eric Bailly back from injury and Axel Tuanzebe able to play against the Hammers, after suspension against PSG, there are two other options to partner Harry Maguire. I think Tuanzebe will be that man. Alex Telles and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will play in the fullback positions against West Ham with United needing to put in a defensive performance to get the better of the London club this weekend.

Midfield Two: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay

I was not all that impressed by Fred against PSG. He lost his head and was given the chance to redeem himself but ended up getting sent off. Many will blame Solskjaer for that, but Fred is responsible for his own actions. He let his teammates, the manager, the coaches and the supporters down with his actions. Because of his actions, he should be dropped. He cannot keep doing things like that. Donny van de Beek should take his place in the centre of midfield with Scott McTominay keeping his place. He rose in stature against PSG. Never let Neymar get away with his pathetic acting and always put in the effort, which is great to see.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial

This is an area where United need to perform much better. Against PSG, Bruno Fernandes had a poor game based on his standards and that led to criticism of him too. He’s been the player to set the standards at the club the season and some seem to expect Man of the Match performances all of the time, which is not going to happen. Mason Greenwood could be recalled on the right-wing with Anthony Martial playing on the left-wing. Both players will need to perform to the best of their abilities with Martial aiming to finish his chances much better than he did against PSG, which was a poor performance for him.

Forward: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has earned himself his stripes at United so far this season, despite playing a minor role compared to some of his teammates. He was unfortunate not to have scored against his former club on Wednesday evening, chipping the goalkeeper but hitting the crossbar. Some criticised the player for doing that but if he had scored it, the criticism would have not happened. On the other hand, if he’d tried to round the keeper and score and miss, the criticism would still be there, probably moaning about the fact he could have chipped the keeper. You can’t with with these moaning fans nowadays.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Brandon Williams; Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic; Marcus Rashford

Back to three substitutes in the Premier League, Solskjaer might not be able to rotate many players with the threat of the Hammer on the horizon. United will need a victory to keep rising in the league table and after a defeat, a win will restore confidence. Dean Henderson will most likely be on the bench in this match, unless De Gea is unable to play, which could be a possibility, keeping him fit for Tuesday. In defence, Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams could be there if needed. In midfield, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic could offer something with Marcus Rashford the only attacking player on the bench.

Written by John Walker

Preview: West Ham United -v- Manchester United – Premier League

West Ham United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

London Stadium, London

Saturday 5 December 2020, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: Simon Long, Eddie Smart

Fourth Official: Andy Madley

VAR: Lee Mason Assistant VAR: Adrian Holmes

Manchester United are on the road again in the Premier League this weekend as they face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday evening. The Hammers played on Monday evening, beating Aston Villa 2-1 and will have had at least four days to rest ahead of their next match whilst United played on both Sunday, beat Southampton 3-2 and on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to PSG, giving them just two days of rest ahead of the match. This can be seen as both positive and negative with United’s fitness possibly being higher than the Hammers, but fatigue could also kick in for United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to rotate his squad a little to continue throughout the month with seven more matches to be played before the end of the year which will see United finding out their fate in the Champions League and the Carabao Cup on their quest for trophies. David Moyes will also be seeking to get the better of United once again after his dire nine-month spell at the club. Solskjaer’s side will need to be at their best to take on the Hammers, who have been playing some good football. United also need to keep one eye on Tuesday’s match away to RB Leipzig – avoiding defeat there will see United remain in the Champions League.

Manchester United: LWWWWL

Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 L, Southampton 3-2 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 W, Everton 3-1 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 L

West Ham United: WWWLDD

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

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes (10) and Marcus Rashford (nine) leading with their goalscoring for United this season. Sébastien Haller (six) and Jarred Bowen (four) are the top scorers for the Hammers.

Manchester United Goals: 10 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Edinson Cavani, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, 1 – Own Goal, Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United were on a good path before their defeat to PSG on Wednesday evening, winning their last four matches in a row. The defeat is not the end of the world though as they sit at the top of their group in the Champions League and require a point to qualify for the round of 16 stage of the competition. It is important that United keep winning in the Premier League though, aiming to better their league position whilst entering a busy period of the season. United sit in ninth place currently, which will change before they face the Hammers but are a point behind the London club. It is important to win this match and keep winning.

West Ham United Goals: 6 – Sébastien Haller, 4 – Jarrod Bowen, 3 – Michail Antonio, 2 – Pablo Fornals, Robert Snodgrass, Andriy Yarmolenko, 1 – Felipe Anderson, Fabián Balbuena, Manuel Lanzini, Angelo Ogbonna, Tomas Soucek

The Hammers have started well this season and sit in the top five in the Premier League, albeit just a point clear of United, who have a game in hand over all of the clubs above them. In the last six matches, the Hammers have won three times, drawn twice and lost once. It is early days to suggest that David Moyes’ side will continue to challenge for a top four place this season and it is too soon to suggest United wouldn’t. December is going to be a tough month for many clubs with those in Europe and in the Carabao Cup likely to play at most nine times. The Hammers have six matches to play making it easier for them.

Team News: Just one confirmed injury for United and one player out for the Hammers. Can Marcus Rashford recover from a shoulder injury ahead of this clash in London with United seeking to beat the Hammers for the first time since April 2019.

Phil Jones (knee) is the only player that is currently ruled out through injury this weekend. Luke Shaw (thigh) has a 25% chance of featuring against West Ham on Saturday and Marcus Rashford (shoulder) has a 75% chance of featuring against the Hammers. Axel Tuanzebe will be available after sitting out the 3-1 defeat to PSG through suspension and Eric Bailly could well be back in action after recovering from injury himself. United won the last four matches prior to the defeat to the French champions and will need to return to winning ways against the Hammers, having not beaten them at all last season.

Andriy Yarmolenko tested positive for coronavirus during the international break and because of this he has a 25% chance of featuring for his club. The rules suggest that he would need to test negative to the virus before he can return to training. This may well happen in the coming days but it would seem unlikely that he would be fit enough to feature against United this weekend. This is the only issue that the Hammer have ahead of the clash against United, which will see David Moyes face his former club and seeking to keep his club in good form this season. West Ham sit fifth in the league with 17 points – United in ninth with 16 points.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to keep his place as United’s main striker? Bruno Fernandes to battle back from inconsistent performance against PSG? Donny van de Beek to return to the starting XI once again?

Solskjaer will be seeking to overcome the 3-1 defeat to PSG on Wednesday evening and get back to winning ways in the Premier League against West Ham United, who they have not beaten since the 2018/19 season. I expect David De Gea to start in goal despite looking uncomfortable against PSG at times. If he is not fit, Dean Henderson will be a capable option. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles should all start. Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay in midfield with Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial playing behind Edinson Cavani.

Match Prediction: 48 matches player between United and the Hammers in the Premier League with United winning 28 times and the Hammers winning seven times – United need a good result.

United and the Hammers have played a total of 48 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28, the Hammers have won seven with both teams drawing 13 times. United have scored 95 goals against the Hammers; winning five penalties, scoring four of them. The Hammers have scored 44 goals against United; winning three penalties, scoring all of them. United have kept a clean sheet 18 times with the Hammers keeping seven. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 58 yellow cards and four red cards whereas the Hammers have been shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

In this fixture last season, which was played on the 22 July 2020, it was a 1-1 draw between the two sides at the London Stadium with Michail Antonio opening the scoring from the penalty spot in added time at the end of the first half and Mason Greenwood equalising in the 51st minute of the match, assisted by Anthony Martial. At Old Trafford in a match which was played on the 22 September 2019, the Hammers won 2-0 with Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scoring the goals in either half to take all three points in the match, United will need to be in good form against the Hammers, who are doing well this season.

West Ham United 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

What We’ve Learned: No fight, desire or will to win; injuries are costly; creativity is non-existent in this squad

Manchester United deserved the beating they took at the hands of West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored the goals to keep their side unbeaten after the opening weekend of the season. United now have two defeats, two wins and two draws in six Premier League matches.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really needs to look at things that need to be changed on order to get the best out of his squad, that is if they want to give him the best. Some of these players have seen at least three managers at the club and could feel it in themselves to see at least another before they head for pastures new.

United will have the Carabao Cup third round match against Rochdale to find their feet but that will not give them any bragging rights whatsoever. In order to get over what they have endured, a good start to the season which turned into a continuation of a poor spell under the Norwegian. He needs to find a way out of this one to get United firing again.

Where was the leadership, desire, hunger, fight, energy and the will to win?

Against the Hammers, there was no fight, will to win, desire, determination, hunger nor leadership for that matter. For a club as big as United, this should be the bare minimum. Do these players get off by not winning? Do they care about the future success of the club? Do they realise the opportunity that they have been given?

In any other job, these players would be fired for not doing what they have to do. Football is different as its a 50/50 game from the very start. There are winners and losers, and despite wanting it to be so different, United seem to be losers at this moment in time. Each and every player will need to look hard at themselves in the mirror and ask questions.

Am I good enough for United? Do I have the hunger and the desire to win? Am I able to hold myself responsible when I make mistakes, or is it the fault of the manager? These questions need to be answered honestly. The ones that find more negatives do not belong at this club, they are part of the problem. The manager of the club needs to find them and get rid.

There are many things lacking at United, creativity is just one of those things.

United started the season by scoring four goals against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. That start to the season soon came to a halt after failing to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, Crystal Palace, and Southampton, then the 1-0 victories over Leicester City and Astana, followed by the poor result away to West Ham. United need to find a way to score goals.

In order for a goal to be scored, there needs to be creativity. Right now, there is none of that. Marcus Rashford has frustrated this season. He has scored three goals but two of them have been penalties. Anthony Martial has been lively, but for the past few weeks, injured and unable to play. Daniel James has scored three good goals, which is good for him.

The team is not creative. It was not creative last season, or the season before. Some of the best football that United has played has not been all that recent. There was a purple patch when Solskjaer took over last year but that fizzled out in March. You might need to look back to Louis van Gaal, David Moyes or Sir Alex Ferguson to find good football, consistently.

Injuries are going to be very costly this season. Youth could prop up this team though, no young players should be written off.

This season, United started with Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah on the sidelines – the latter two overcoming knee injuries and surgery. Not long after, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba joined the injury list and today, in the 2-0 defeat to West Ham, Marcus Rashford was added to that list. This will be a long season.

Injuries happen to every club, I mean Norwich City had ten players on their injury list not that long ago and they still managed to produce a victory over Manchester City, a team which scored eight goals against Watford this weekend. There are problems that need to be avoided in terms of injuries and replacing the unfit players in the squad.

Mason Greenwood missed this match due to illness, which was a big blow after scoring his first goal for the club, at a competitive first team level. Him overcoming his illness and Rashford not having a serious injury, along with Pogba, Shaw and Martial returning for the next game, which would be a blessing for us all.

Younger players are the ones we have our hopes on this season, time for the older players to admit they don’t offer much?

When you see supporters of the club talking about the talented youth, you see that they are desperate for them to be given a chance. On Thursday, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong both started, both were criticised by the ‘Einsteins’ who had clearly decided that they were not good enough as should not play for a while.

The future of the club lies with the youth as the current crop of players in the first team is underachieving. The likes of Gomes, Chong, Mason Greenwood, James Garner, Ethan Laird, Dylan Levitt and even Brandon Williams are the players who may come through and set a benchmark. It almost never happens from the very start.

In the 1995/96 season, the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt came through from the academy ranks. A 3-0 defeat in the League Cup, first leg to York City was not Beckham’s finest moment. However, he did not give up like some supporters have done with the current crop – he fought for his place and bettered himself.

When you gamble, you need a contingency plan to avoid failure. Lessons need to be learned here.

Solskjaer gambled this season and so far it has not paid off. It may do but many cannot see the wood for the trees at this moment in time. It seems to easy for so-called supporters to come out with their bile on social media; sack the manager, get rid of the owners, do this, do that. Easily said than done. How many time do you keep sacking managers?

Solskjaer let Ander Herrera leave as a free agent this summer – he wanted more money, the club felt he was not worth that. No replacement obtained. Romelu Lukaku also wanted to leave he left, no replacement. Granted, if you think about James Garner and Mason Greenwood, both players have been replaced, however, it is a gamble.

When gambling does not pay off, there needs to be a contingency, think Yellowhammer. The contingency plan then needs to be implemented when the gamble has not paid off. I don’t think Solskjaer has a contingency plan for this gamble, he may have hoped it could pay off. So far it has not, but it might, in time.

Ratings: Gutless and toothless display from Manchester United as they are beaten 2-0 by West Ham

Manchester United saw themselves beaten 2-0 by West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was a toothless and gutless performance from United, who lost Marcus Rashford to injury with no main striker able to lead the line. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs a contingency plan more than ever now. Onwards to the Rochdale match.

West Ham started the match in fine form, pressing forward with United’s defence having to put a lot of work into their game. The Hammers seemed patient to work hard and try and get United on the counter or press them at their own game. Angelo Ogbonna was booked in the 14th minute after a foul on Andreas Pereira.

United got themselves into the game with Daniel James show his class with a great run up the left flank, winning a corner, which they did not pressure the hosts from. The lack of creativity is going to be a massive problem this season and something that stops United from winning matches and scoring so few goals.

The match was 50/50 getting close to the end of the first half but the Hammers manager to create something, with United pressuring them in their final third. Mark Noble too many touches of the ball unchallenged, passing to Felipe Anderson, who then passed to Andriy Yarmolenko, who beat David De Gea, who made a dive to avert the goal.

United had the chance to equalise at the start of the second half after Pereira played the ball into the box towards Juan Mata, who was booked moments before, only for his to break through and miss the chance to find the equaliser. It was United’s best chance of the match so far. United seemed to be a little more determined but needed more improvement.

Rashford was forced off the pitch after pulling up just before the hour mark of the match and Jesse Lingard replaced him. The Hammers still looked like the team on top with United looking vulnerable time and time again. United took Nemanja Matic off, replacing him with Fred in the 71st minute and Mark Noble was booked in the 74th.

Jack Wilshire was fouled on the edge of the United box, winning a free-kick for his team. The free-kick was lofted over the crossbar with De Gea wise to it. There were glimpses of improvement from United but nothing that was set to change the scoreline. In the 81st minute, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his final substitution with Angel Gomes replacing Mata.

In the 84th minute of the match, the Hammers doubled their lead through Aaron Cresswell scoring a textbook David Beckham-esque free-kick, bending it over the United wall and into the top corner. De Gea got a hand to it but not enough to deny the Hammers from earning three points. A toothless and gutless performance by United.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper had little to do during the match against the Hammers and was unlucky not to get a touch of Yarmolenko’s goal bound effort at the end of the first half. In the second half, De Gea was not bombarded by chances with the Hammers having a free-kick late in the game, conceding a second goal and the second defeat this season.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back did what he could do to break forward against the Hammers, however, it was clearly not a day that United were ready for. Lacklustre players playing a lacklustre game. The defeat was deserved. It is not the fault of one player, the entire team can carry this dismal performance.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swede will be disappointed with this result after signing his new contract with the club. The first goal was a defensive error with United not challenging their opposition, the second was a set-piece, something which United should be ready for. However, Cresswell’s Beckham-esque strike was magnificent. Onwards to the next match.

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5 Harry Maguire

The £80 million signing will not be happy with his or his teams performance against West Ham. The victories over Leicester City and Astana mean nothing now. He will know that. Solskjaer talked up his chances of becoming the captain of the club, which is something I would agree with, however, not this season. Defeats are part of the game and a response is vital now. Not against Rochdale either.

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18 Ashley Young

As Luke Shaw is still on the sidelines, Young is not the player I want to see playing a lot of fixtures this season. He was a liability at times last season, in defence, but as a professional, he was top notch. United need a big change up. I don’t know where this is going to take the club. It is not good business to keep relying on players who are past their best.

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39 Scott McTominay

The young midfielder has got to be one of the hardest workers in this team. To think of the abuse he has been victim of just because he’s not called Bruno Fernandes, it is pathetic. A product of the academy and a home grown player should get more support from the clubs ‘supposed’ supporters.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder started back to back games this week and despite having stats worth bragging about against Astana, his performance against the Hammers was dire and something to forget. I get that the midfield is light but Fred would have been a better option to start the game. As it stood, the Brazilian replaced the 31-year-old.

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Andreas Pereira

The Belgian-born Brazilian had a good game, despite the result. Playing on the right-wing in the 4-2-3-1 formation, he did what he needed to do going forward. He played a great ball into Mata at the start of the second half, which was a chance of an equaliser, which Mata scuppered.

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8 Juan Mata

The Spanish midfielder was one of the experienced players on the pitch against the Hammers. His performance was not the best. He did have the best chance of the game though, for United anyway, missing from yards with a seemingly gaping goal in front of him (due to the angle of Fabianski). He was replaced by Gomes in the 81st minute of the match.

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21 Daniel James

The inexperienced Welshman had hunger, desire and the moves to break forward but with a pretty lacklustre team around him and no target man on the pitch, it was not going to work for him or United. He’s set the trend this season with his three goals so far, which is great for his debut in the Premier League. I cannot fault him for his effort. He tried, that is all he could do.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward did not seem to be in the mix against the Hammers. He did try and bust a gut for his club but there was something not quite right with him. Just before the hour mark, the striker pulled up and could not continue. He was then replaced by Lingard.

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Substitutes

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Rashford 61’. After replacing Rashford, Lingard was the main striker. He’s had good performances in the past, but that is where they are, in the past. There was literally nothing to help United get back into the game or even have the chance of creating a goal, let alone scoring one. Not good enough.

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17 Fred

Replaced Matic 71’. The Brazilian should have started this match, but after playing on Thursday and his lack of football so far this season, fitness might have been an issue. He did well when he came on but United lacked leadership, inspiration and desire. It was always going to be a defeat after that opening goal at the end of the first half.

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28 Angel Gomes

Replaced Mata 81’. Had nine minutes on the pitch after playing for about an hour on Thursday. United were already out of the game before his introduction. It will be a good experience for him though. United need players to be annoyed with these defeats, to get their bellies on fire and come back with desire and determination to blow away their opposition.

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Goals: Andriy Yarmolenko 44′, Aaron Cresswell 84′

Assists: Felipe Anderson 44′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay, Matic (Fred 71′); Pereira, Mata (Gomes 80′), James; Rashford (Lingard 61′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Tuanzebe; Chong

Bookings: Angelo Ogbonna 14′, Mark Noble 74′; Juan Mata 48′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford, Pereira, Mata and James lead the attack against West Ham United

Manchester United travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United this afternoon, seeking their first away win in the Premier League this season. Manuel Pellegrini’s side is 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 need 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.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young;

McTominay, Matic;

Pereira, Mata, James;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Rojo, Tuanzebe; Lingard, Fred, Gomes; Chong

West Ham United:

Fabianski;

Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell;

Rice;

Yarmolenko, Noble, Fornals, Anderson;

Haller

Substitutes:

Roberto; Balbuena, Zabaleta; Snodgrass, Sanchez, Wilshere; Ajeti

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 only goal coming from Marcus Rashford.

Key Players and Battles: Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Harry Maguire to challenge Issa Diop, Declan Rice and Sebastien Haller in Hammers clash?

Manchester United will be pitted against West Ham United at the London Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to get some consistency into his team in order to press on and achieve which may seem the impossible at the end of the season, achieving a UEFA Champions League group stage place for next season.

United and the Hammers are in similar form this season, losing one match, drawing twice and winning three times in all competitions. The Hammers have done well to overcome that 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in the opening weekend. For United, this will be a tough match after overcoming both Leicester City and Astana in the past week.

The key battles will be tough for both teams as they look to find ways to get the better of each other and aim to grasp all three points that this match has to offer. I have picked three United players and the three West Ham players that they may need to battle against in order to get the much-needed result from this game.

Key Players: United and the Hammers have key players in all areas of the pitch who could all make the difference in the battle to win this match.

Manchester United: David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Marcus Rashford

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop, Declan Rice, Andriy Yarmolenko, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson, Sébastien Haller

Key Battles: Harry Maguire tasked with nullifying Sébastien Haller, Jesse Lingard aiming to get the better of Declan Rice and Marcus Rashford to teach Issa Diop a lesson he may never forget?

Key Battle One: Harry Maguire versus Sébastien Haller

Harry Maguire has really helped United find some solidity in their defence this season. Last season a total of 54 goals were conceded in the Premier League alone. This season, just four goals have been conceded so far. Maguire is an experienced player who will be seen as one of the leaders in the team, something needed at the club which lack leadership.

Maguire will need to be at his best, which after his break in the week could well see him there. Sébastien Haller, the French striker who signed for the Hammers from Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer already has three goals to his name this season and will be seeking more, especially keeping in mind his side won this fixture 3-1 last season.

Key Battle Two: Jesse Lingard versus Declan Rice

Jesse Lingard has not achieved much for United, in terms of goalscoring or creating goals. The player will turn 27 in December, and should really be in the peak of his career as a footballer, despite the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson stated that he would be a late developer. In order to be part of the club going forward, creating and scoring goals is needed from him.

Lingard could be targeted by Declan Rice, who played the defensive midfield role with the Hammers, which could pose problems for Lingard and United, if he is at the top of his game, which may or may not be the case. United need to find the channels that will feed those forward players seeking goals, either direct to Rashford or wide to Daniel James.

Key Battle Three: Marcus Rashford versus Issa Diop

Marcus Rashford will have the weight of the world on his shoulders when United face West Ham on Sunday. Not only is he on the cusp of reaching a milestone, 50 goals for United, he knows that he is the driving force of the team with the expectation of his performance being to score goals. This will not be easy for him, or United to follow through with, based on form.

Rashford may have a fight against Issa Diop, who was linked to the Old Trafford club in the summer for an extortionate fee, a fee the player is not worth, in my opinion. The Hammers have kept three clean sheets this season, all in their last three matches. Rashford could aim to score a brace, then set the target of reaching 100 goals for United.

Marcus Rashford to lead the line, flanked by Daniel James and Andreas Pereira with Jesse Lingard in behind in 4-2-3-1 formation against the Hammers?

Manchester United will face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. On Thursday, United beat FC Astana 1-0 with Mason Greenwood scoring the only goal of the game. Based on the travelling party for this match, Greenwood has not travelled, neither have Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw.

The fact that Pogba, Martial and Shaw did not travel is not a surprise as Shaw was ruled out with the other two unlikely to recover in time for this trip. It has also been reported that James Garner and Diogo Dalot have not travelled by Daniel James, who missed the midweek game, has travelled, which is good news.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to retain United winning run, which has lasted two matches so far, also keeping their unbeaten run going, which has lasted three matches since the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace. United will be seeking to get their first away win of the season, previously drawing 1-1 with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton.

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 only goal coming from Marcus Rashford.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has kept two clean sheets this season (Chelsea 4-0 and Leicester City 1-0) with Sergio Romero keeping one with a 1-0 victory against Astana on Thursday. This will be his first appearance after signing his new contract at the club, which has thwarted all the speculation suggesting that he could leave the club as a free agent in the summer.

After signing his new contract, the 28-year-old, who remembers the 301 defeat against West Ham United last season has demanded focus, keeping that result in the back of his mind. United moved into fourth place last weekend and will need to leave London with all three points in the bag to keep their chances breaking into the top four this season.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Ashley Young

United managed to rest three of this back four against Astana so Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will all be fresh for the trip to London. Lindelof will have a bad memory of this fixture last season as he scored an own goal. Ashley Young came off the bench against Astana so should be fresh enough to start with Luke Shaw not fit.

United have kept clean sheets in their last two matches and De Gea and his defence will be seeking to keep that record running as United look to get themselves in much better form ahead of the bigger matches, which will be coming thick and fast soon enough. This defence is a positive defence and will allow supporters to grow in confidence over the season.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred

Scott McTominay was rested against Astana with Fred getting 90 minutes and an assist under his belt in his second season at the club. McTominay has benched Nemanja Matic this season and for a good reason, he’s too slow to play in the high pressing matches that Solskjaer has his team playing. McTominay has had his critics, so far proving them wrong.

Fred will need to be at the top of his game to have on this Hammers side. He has made mistakes but so has Paul Pogba, but the same people praising Pogba seem to be criticising Fred. He’s a good player and will grasp it at United, although it has been tough for him. He is a better option than Matic though, based on the fact he still has his pace.

Attacking Midfield: Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James

Creativity has been lacking at United this season, and before that. It is something that will need to be solved. Daniel James has travelled with his teammates ahead of this match, so he could well be fit enough to start against the Hammers. Jesse Lingard, who returned against Astana should start behind Marcus Rashford, possibly finding a way to create goals.

Andreas Pereira should play in the right-wing role in this match as Mason Greenwood has not travelled, according to reports, possibly to keep him fresh for the Rochdale match on Wednesday. United will need to find inspiration to get the better of this Hammers team, who have lost one match this season and are currently undefeated.

Striker: Marcus Rashford

The 21-year-old is on the cusp of scoring 50 goals for United, having scored 48 in 178 appearances. He did not have the best performance against Astana on Thursday evening, however, the Kazakhstani side were very defensive and rarely got forward in force, meaning that it was always going to be a disappointing match.

Rashford will have learned from that, as he has from other frustrating matches. His critics, though seem to be full of abuse for the striker, who at 21 has achieved a lot in the game. Some of his critics have obviously achieved so much more in the game, probably on FIFA 19 or another virtual game. Bless them.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Marcos Rojo, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Angel Gomes, Nemanja Matic; Tahith Chong

The bench is a way for Solskjaer to aim to get goals or keep a lead, or even add fresh legs to the team late in the game. The likes of Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe, who both played on Thursday would be useful on the bench if needed. Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic’s experience could prove to be useful if they are needed at any point during the match.

The likes of Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong, who both started against Astana will prove to be useful too. Both played a good game against the Kazakhstani side, who were so defensive it proved hard to get anything past them. Some fans have written off both players after one match. Imagine social media in 1995 with the Class of ’92 making their debuts!

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

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

copyright: JW