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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

Ratings: Pogba scored much-needed goals (penalties) against West Ham; Rashford and Fred also MOTM contenders

Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Both goals came from penalties, which Paul Pogba scored, taking his goal tally this season to 13, also having nine assists to his name. It was a win United needed to get, no onwards to Barcelona.

West Ham had a goal in the opening minutes of the game but it was offside. It was a let-off for United though, who did not start all that well. United won a penalty in the 18th minute of the match after Juan Mata was seemingly fouled by Robert Snodgrass. After a short delay, Paul Pogba took the penalty and put United 1-0 up in the 19th minute.

West Ham equalised within five minutes into the second half with Felipe Anderson putting the ball into the back of the net. David De Gea and Pogba were both culpable for the goal as between them, they did not make the clearance of the ball with allowed Declan Rice and Manuel Lanzini to put the Hammers in a good position with Anderson scoring.

Marcus Rashford replaced Mata in the 56th minute of the match and within three minutes, had an impact in the game by firing a goalbound effort, which was deflected by Lukasz Fabianski, then deflected by the defence. Minutes later, he had the opportunity to head an effort, clearing the crossbar instead of burying his effort into the back of the net.

United won a second penalty in the 80th minute after Anthony Martial was fouled in the box by Ryan Fredericks. Pogba once again took the spot kick and buried his effort to see United ahead in the game for the second time. United need to start finding ways to beat teams as that seems to be something that is lacking. Also, stop conceding goals; it has been 13 matches since their last clean sheet.

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Man of the Match: Paul Pogba

The Frenchman may not have scored the goal during open play but they were the difference between United winning and losing at Old Trafford today. Pogba has been criticised a lot recently and most of that criticism has been warranted. It seems that he is flirting with another club ahead of the summer transfer window. That will not win him much support. But that aside, he showed his class with two good penalties which carved a good win for United and kept their top four hopes alive.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one made a huge save to deny the Hammers at 1-1, which kept United in the game. United still seem a long way away from keeping clean sheets again though, which is worrying. De Gea made a massive mistake with his distribution of the ball, which led to Anderson finding an equaliser for West Ham.

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Diogo Dalot

Dalot needs a lot of experience in the game to become the player many hope that he will. He was one of the better players against West Ham but needs to be more decisive at times. He gave his all though, which was good to see.

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Chris Smalling

Smalling was the better composed central defender in this game. He had an opportunity at the other end of the pitch to score, but blazed his effort over the crossbar. Did what was needed in and around his own box though.

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4 Phil Jones

It was a performance of chaos for Jones, but that is what is expected and what is served up most of the time. He did perform a great clearance, which denied West Ham a chance on goal. Came off the pitch with a wound, which could keep him out for the Barcelona match on Tuesday.

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16 Marcos Rojo

Four months since his last start, the Argentinian was back in the team. I was not overly impressed with his defending or provision of width, in an attacking sense. It will be better when Luke Shaw is back, which won't be until the Manchester derby. Maybe he will be sold in the summer, it needs to happen.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian had a good game for United. He was involved in breaking up play during the match and got the ball forward the majority of the time. Good to see him raise his confidence during his first season at the club. He should be included in the team to face Barcelona on Tuesday.

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6 Paul Pogba

The midfielder needs to raise his game for United. I feel that he's riding the momentum rather than creating it, at times. Some will slate me for slating their legend but at least I am being honest with my thoughts. Pogba scored two penalties, making it 13 goals and nine assists this season, six of those goals were not from the penalty spot. He needs to step up against Barcelona and bring that leadership role he clearly has with France, into this squad. If not, questions will be asked more frequently.

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8 Juan Mata

I like Juan Mata but I just do not think he is a player that can bring anything to the club now. Fair enough, he won the penalty, which Pogba scored but he's not a player that United have used in the right way and probably never will. He started on the right and played in the centre more often than not, which is not working. He could well be nearing an end to his United career.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Since returning from a period of injury, Lingard has done very little to justify a place in the squad, let alone a place in the starting XI. He needs to buck up his ideas and get stuck into achieving something, otherwise his opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in world football will end with him playing elsewhere at a level that suits him. I've defended Lingard many times, but he's had enough chances to make something of himself now.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman won a penalty for United, which turned into the winning goal, scored by Pogba. Aside of that, Martial was slow and sloppy with both possession of the ball and passing it. I wonder who Martial FC will blame for his inability to reach the dizzy heights playing for Manchester United should demand.

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Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian was poor once again for United on his 249th Premier League appearance. United scored twice, both from the penalty spot. Lukaku had little impact in the game, 69% according to the United app, most of which was for passing the ball. He needs to find some form, and fast, if he is to save his career at the club. I think it is clear he will ask to leave though.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Mata 56'. Made an almost instant impact in the game with a shot on goal within three minutes, which was deflected and cleared. Had involvement in the game which helped his teammates. Will be grateful of the slight rest he had today. Perhaps in view of him starting on Tuesday in Barcelona.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Lukaku 75'. The 17-year-old made his second Premier League appearance in just over a month. Got stuck into the game and helped United on the attack at times. Good to see him get more opportunities and hope to see him get more before the end of the season.

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Andreas Pereira

Replaced Rojo 75'. Came on at right-back and played a good part in the game for 15 minutes plus added time. Good to see him putting himself on the line for his team by playing in positions needed by the manager, despite it being for a short period of time.

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Goals: Paul Pogba 19′ (p), 80′ (p); Felipe Anderson 49′

Assists: Manuel Lanzini 49′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Smalling, Jones, Rojo (Pereira 75′); Fred, Pogba; Mata (Rashford 56′), Lingard, Martial; Lukaku (Greenwood 75′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Darmian; McTominay

Bookings: Juan Mata 34′; Ryan Fredericks 79′

Confirmed Starting XI: Lingard, Lukaku and Martial lead the line against the Hammers; Greenwood and Rashford on the bench

Manchester United are back in Premier League action at the Theatre of Dreams this evening as they host West Ham United. In the reverse fixture earlier in the season at the London Stadium, the Hammers beat United 3-1 – one of the worst performances of the season. Revenge is something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will need to serve.

United lost 1-0 to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford, a match they were not outclassed in. With Arsenal falling to a 1-0 defeat away to Everton, it has left United with a chance to get back into the top four this season. However, United will need a winning run.

Solskjaer will be missing Ashley Young (one match) and Luke Shaw (two matches) due to suspension. This will mean that he utilises the likes of Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and even Diogo Dalot in the team for the next two league matches, or he plays a formation, at least for this match, which uses three central defenders.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Dalot, Jones, Smalling, Rojo;

Fred, Pogba;

Mata, Lingard, Martial

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Lindelof, Darmian; Pereira, McTominay; Rashford, Greenwood

United and West Ham have played 140 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 25 February 1911, a 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup. United has won 65 matches, drawn 31 times and lost 44 times. Earlier in the season, at the London Stadium, United lost 3-1, meaning they will be looking for revenge.

United has been beaten four times in their last six matches. It has shown that Solskjaer has overachieved with this team. There are many changes to be made in the summer if the owners are willing to back him; they need to. United needs to get back on winning ways, taking no prisoners against West Ham, who will be looking to do the double over United.

West Ham has not been that consistent, at least for the right reasons of late. Four defeats and two wins in their last six matches. That is not the consistency United will be looking for as teams in the same state have beaten them this season. Ten goals conceded, six scored, one clean sheet in the last six matches. Not great reading for the Hammers.

How Manchester United could look against West Ham United in a 3-2-3-2 formation; Rashford and Lukaku, supported by Dalot, Pogba and Martial

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening as they host West Ham United. In the reverse fixture earlier in the season at the London Stadium, the Hammers beat United 3-1 – one of the worst performances of the season. Revenge is something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will need to serve.

United lost 1-0 to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford, a match they were not outclassed in. With Arsenal falling to a 1-0 defeat away to Everton, it has left United with a chance to get back into the top four this season. However, United will need a winning run.

Solskjaer will be missing Ashley Young (one match) and Luke Shaw (two matches) due to suspension. This will mean that he utilises the likes of Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and even Diogo Dalot in the team for the next two league matches, or he plays a formation, at least for this match, which uses three central defenders.

United and West Ham have played 140 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 25 February 1911, a 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup. United has won 65 matches, drawn 31 times and lost 44 times. Earlier in the season, at the London Stadium, United lost 3-1, meaning they will be looking for revenge.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea is the best option in goal to face West Ham on Saturday but he will need to start looking to regain his form. It is fair to say his form has been questionable this season, especially with rumours suggesting that he could leave the Old Trafford club in the summer, with one year remaining on his contract. A clean sheet would be a good start…

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Defence: Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones

Ashley Young (one match) and Luke Shaw (two matches) are suspended so Solskjaer does not have much experience in the fullback roles. Opting for a three at the back formation could overcome that problem, keeping an experienced defence, which might do the job. Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones could be trusted against the Hammers.

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Midfield: Andreas Pereira, Nemanja Matic

The midfield needs some assurances. They could come in the experienced Nemanja Matic, who could help shield the back three and Andreas Pereira, whose energy could help United, especially in knitting the defence with the attacking midfield. Having Paul Pogba playing in a more attacking role could see this midfield doing what it needs to do.

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Attacking Midfield: Diogo Dalot, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial

Having five players in attacking positions could give United enough firepower against the Hammers on Saturday. Diodo Dalot, who has played a more attacking role under Solskjaer, could play a role on the right-wing, also doing his bit defensively. Anthony Martial on the left could give the attack a boost in the wide areas. Pogba in an advanced role could be key.

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Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku

At this stage of the season, United need to be scoring goals. That will mean getting the best of all players on the pitch. United has played better with two strikers on the pitch. Seeing Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku supported by the likes of Martial, Pogba and even Dalot could be beneficial against the Hammers. Scoring goals galore, maybe.

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Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian; Juan Mata, Fred, James Garner; Alexis Sanchez

Solskjaer will need to have some able players on the bench against the Hammers. The defence may need to be freshened up in the latter stages of the match, also with some experience coming off the bench in the midfield or attacking positions. Solskjaer may look to add youth to the bench if the likes of Alexis Sanchez are not fit enough to play a role.

Preview: Manchester United need to hit the Hammers hard to achieve top four finish this season…

Manchester United -v- West Ham United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 13 April 2019; KO 17:30 BST

Referee: Graham Scott

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening as they host West Ham United. In the reverse fixture earlier in the season at the London Stadium, the Hammers beat United 3-1 – one of the worst performances of the season. Revenge is something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will need to serve.

United lost 1-0 to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford, a match they were not outclassed in. With Arsenal falling to a 1-0 defeat away to Everton, it has left United with a chance to get back into the top four this season. However, United will need a winning run.

Solskjaer will be missing Ashley Young (one match) and Luke Shaw (two matches) due to suspension. This will mean that he utilises the likes of Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and even Diogo Dalot in the team for the next two league matches, or he plays a formation, at least for this match, which uses three central defenders.

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Form: Both United and West Ham has been beaten four times in their last six matches. Both teams will be seeking a victory at Old Trafford

Manchester United: LLWLLW

Barcelona 1-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 L, Watford 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 L, Arsenal 2-0 L, Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 W

United has been beaten four times in their last six matches. It has shown that Solskjaer has overachieved with this team. There are many changes to be made in the summer if the owners are willing to back him; they need to. United needs to get back on winning ways, taking no prisoners against West Ham, who will be looking to do the double over United.

West Ham United: LLWLWL

Chelsea 2-0 L, Everton 2-0 L, Huddersfield Town 4-3 W, Cardiff City 2-0 L, Newcastle United 2-0 W, Manchester City 1-0 L

West Ham has not been that consistent, at least for the right reasons of late. Four defeats and two wins in their last six matches. That is not the consistency United will be looking for as teams in the same state have beaten them this season. Ten goals conceded, six scored, one clean sheet in the last six matches. Not great reading for the Hammers.

Top Scorers: United has more players scoring goals but the Hammers have the ability to get goals themselves, despite poor form

Manchester United: 15 – Romelu Lukaku, 14 – Paul Pogba, 13 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 3 – Ander Herrera, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Fred, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

West Ham United: 9 – Felipe Anderson, 8 – Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernández, 5 – Michail Antonio, Lucas Pérez, 4 – Robert Snodgrass, 3 – Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna, 2 – Grady Diangana, Issa Diop, Declan Rice, Andriy Yarmolenko, 1 – Fabián Balbuena, Andy Carroll, Ryan Fredericks

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Team News: United have injured players returning to fitness whereas West Ham has a problem with players out of action

Injuries could well be coming to an end for United ahead of the West Ham match this weekend. Alexis Sanchez was training ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Barcelona and could be a contender for the squad this weekend. Matteo Darmian was training also. Solskjaer could have a few players ready to come into the team.

Ashley Young is suspended for this match after his red card against Wolverhampton Wanderers, United’s last Premier League match. Luke Shaw will miss this match and the one against Everton on the 21 April after amassing ten yellow cards this season. Diogo Dalot and Darmian could well be in with a chance to face the Hammers.

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini currently has seven players on the sidelines through injury; Winston Reid (knee), Carlos Sanchez (ACL), Andriy Yarmolenko (Achilles), Andy Carroll (ankle), Samir Nasri (calf), Michail Antonio (ankle), Jack Wilshere (fitness). The first four players have been ruled out, the latter three all major doubts for this match.

Predicted Starting XI: Three at the back for United; Dalot playing as a wing-back; Martial on the left covering defence and attack?

Injuries seem to be coming to an end for Solskjaer with both Sanchez and Darmian returning to training this week. With Young (one match) and Shaw (two matches) currently suspended, United has only Dalot and Darmian in the fullback roles. Marcos Rojo could play at left-back as he did for the U23s last week or Solskjaer could use three at the back.

Match Prediction: United to serve a dish which is best served cold at Old Trafford on Saturday evening?

United and West Ham have played 140 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 25 February 1911, a 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup. United has won 65 matches, drawn 31 times and lost 44 times. Earlier in the season, at the London Stadium, United lost 3-1, meaning they will be looking for revenge.

Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United

copyright: JW