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CONFIRMED: Mkhitaryan, Pogba and Ibrahimovic start against West Ham

Manchester United face West Ham United in the Premier League at the London Stadium this evening. United are unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions, winning their last five Premier League matches in their chance to break into the top four this season, which is still looking very likely at this moment in time. United and the Hammers have met twice already this season – both at Old Trafford. Their league encounter finished 1-1 with the Hammers taking the lead inside the first two minutes of the match and Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalising to rescue a point for United. The two teams then faced each other three days later at Old Trafford again, this time in the EFL Cup with United winning 4-1 – taking the lead inside the first two minutes themselves, with an equaliser coming ten minutes before the break through former United Academy striker Ashley Fletcher. In the second half, United ended the London club’s hopes of earning a semi-final place in the cup with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial both scoring twice in the victory. Jose Mourinho will be looking for more of the same in the first match against the Hammers at the London Stadium with a sixth Premier League win on the cards.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian;

Carrick, Herrera;

Mkhitaryan, Pogba, Lingard;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Romero; Smalling; Mata, Martial, Young, Fellaini; Rashford

West Ham United:

Randolph;

Nordveit, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell;

Obiang, Kouyate;

Feghouli, Lanzini, Payet;

Antonio

Substitutes:

Adrian; Noble, Ayew, Fernandes, Quina; Carroll, Fletcher

Preview: Manchester United to continue resurgence against the Hammers

London Stadium, London

Premier League 2016/17

Monday 2nd January 2017 – KO 17:15 [Live on Sky Sports]

Referee: Mike Dean

Assistant Referees: Simon Long and Adrian Holmes

Fourth Official: Paul Tierney

Manchester United face West Ham United for the third time this season, but the first time at the London Stadium. United drew 1-1 with Slaven Bilic’s side just over a month ago in the Premier League, facing them again just three days later in the EFL Cup, with United romping to a 4-1 victory with a great performance, which should really have been in the bag three days previously. United’s display against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve will show their rivals what they are made of and how determined they are to make this season a success ensuring they earn a UEFA Champions League place for next season.

Jose Mourinho has a near enough full squad to travel to London but Eric Bailly will miss the match and the rest of January and possible some of February’s fixtures to meet with the Ivory Coast squad ahead of the African Cup of Nations. Mourinho said;

“Bailly is leaving – he goes to the national team. He has to be with them on 2 January. We asked them for him to be on 3 January but they refused, so he cannot play against West Ham.

“I know that I lose Bailly for a month and I’m going to have Smalling, Rojo and Jones for, I think, eight matches. So I decided to play Eric [against Middlesbrough] and it was good to have him on the pitch because, one-on-one at the back, he’s the best because he’s very fast.”

Mourinho also gave a heads up on the rest of his squad with Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, who both missed the 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough on New Year’s Eve, the Portuguese manager said:

“[Wayne] Rooney has a little chance and Michael [Carrick] has a bigger chance than Rooney. Let’s see how he is tomorrow.

“I’m really happy with Fellaini and the way he played. I’m really happy with his connection with the fans. I think they realised how useful he is and how much he is with the team.”

Manchester United Form: WWWWW

Middlesbrough 2-1 W, Sunderland 3-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 2-0 W, Crystal Palace 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W

Manchester United are in resurgent form at this stage of the season. Twelve matches unbeaten in all competitions, a five match winning streak in the Premier League, which currently puts United in a great position, despite still sitting in sixth place at this stage of the season. Tottenham Hotspur, who still need to play their 19th match of the season are level on points with United, with Manchester City just three points ahead after their defeat to Liverpool on New Year’s Eve. Jose Mourinho’s could be about to expose Pep Guardiola’s over-praised side who just do not have any cutting edge at this point in the season.

West Ham United Form: LWWWD

Leicester City 1-0 L, Swansea City 4-1 W, Hull City 1-0 W, Burnley 1-0 W, Liverpool 2-2 D

West Ham United had a disastrous start to the season, but their recent form has seen them finish a bit stronger. The Hammers have won their last two matches at home, but to United that won’t mean all that much as they look to continue their good form into 2017 which has seen them play catch up with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester City. Slaven Bilic will be up for beating United, but I just don’t think he will be able to do anything to stop their resurgence at this stage of the season.

Manchester United Top Scorers:

17 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Wayne Rooney, 1 – Daley Blind, Michael Carrick, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling

West Ham United Top Scorers:

8 – Michail Antonio, 3 – Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Payet, 2 – Andy Carroll, Mark Noble, Winston Reid, 1 – André Ayew, James Collins, Edimilson Fernandes, Ashley Fletcher, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Diafra Sakho

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Luke Shaw (groin), Wayne Rooney (thigh), Michael Carrick (illness)

West Ham United Squad:

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Adrián, Raphael Spiegel

Defenders: Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Álvaro Arbeloa, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Sam Byram, Doneil Henry, Arthur Masuaku, Reece Oxford, Declan Rice

Midfielders: Håvard Nordtveit, Sofiane Feghouli, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Gökhan Töre, Dimitri Payet, Michail Antonio, Domingos Quina, Djair Parfitt-Williams, Marcus Browne, Moses Makasi

Forwards: Andy Carroll, Simone Zaza, Diafra Sakho, André Ayew, Ashley Fletcher, Jonathan Calleri, Antonio Martinez

Injuries and Suspensions: Reece Oxford (ankle), Álvaro Arbeloa (leg), Sam Byram (hamstring), James Collins (hamstring), Gökhan Töre (knee), Arthur Masuaku (knee), Simone Zaza (knee), Diafra Sakho (back), Mark Noble (knee)

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United

Mourinho pleased with the result and the performance against West Ham

Manchester United beat West Ham United 4-1 in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, earning a semi-final clash with Hull City in January, a two-legged clash. United will be dreaming of another visit to Wembley, which could become a reality by the end of January, which looks to be a busy month for the Red Devils as their defence in the Emirates FA Cup will also start that month. United played well against the Hammers, a team they battered from the start of the match, but by half-time, found themselves level, coming straight out in the second half and regaining the lead inside three minutes. Both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial scored braces, Henrikh Mkhitaryan assisted twice with Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera assisting the other goals for the evening. Former Manchester United Academy striker Ashley Fletcher put the Hammers back into the match ten minutes before half-time, but that meant nothing after the break.

Jose Mourinho was suspended for this match, watched it in a ‘secret’ location with Old Trafford, spoke to Sky Sports after seeing his side do him proud, saying:

“I’m pleased with the result, because the performance is something that we’re used to. We are playing very, very well at home and today was more of the same.”

Mourinho praised Henrikh Mkhitaryan for his display in the victory over the Hammers, saying how happy he was about his evolution at the club. Mourinho said:

“I’m so happy today because today was against a Premier League team with Premier League qualities and characteristics. That really showed his evolution because against Feyenoord we could think that it was a different profile, but today was against a proper and typical Premier League team. We are really happy, because we know the reason why we bought him; we were waiting for his adaptation and it looks like it’s coming.”

Mourinho speaks about his lack of concern at the break with the two side drawing 1-1 at the time. He said:

“The performance is something we are used to. We are playing very, very well at home and I think today was more of the same, that we had 10 minutes where we felt it deeply and the players on the pitch, they couldn’t hide that, because West Ham’s first shot they equalised.

“But in the second-half, the team got the confidence to play and to win comfortably playing beautiful attacking football, which is something the fans like but we needed the result.

“I told them forget the goal, 1-1, we are playing so well that we have to keep confidence, so forget the undeserved goal, forget at half-time we should be winning and we aren’t, so let’s go from here with confidence.

“And in the second-half we had the goals, so goals plus performance means the real happiness.”

Manchester United were drawn against Hull City in the semi-final of the EFL Cup this season, avoiding Liverpool, who were drawn against their feeder club, Southampton. Speaking of the draw, Mourinho said:

“I was calm with the draw. If the teams arrive here, it’s because they put a lot on the competition. The two legs take a little bit out of the draw with the situation you play at home or away – it doesn’t exist any more as you play both home and away.

“I’m sure Hull City have an amazing memory from Wembley last season [the Championship play-off final win over Sheffield Wednesday] and I’m sure they are going to try everything to be there again. Manchester United, we were there last season, and in August, and it’s something a club like United is used to – going back to Wembley on a regular basis.

“So we’re going to try but it’s in January so we now we forget the semi-final that we have to play when hopefully we can reach the final.”

What We Learned: Mkhitaryan and Martial running the show, Zlatan bagging goals

Manchester United sorted themselves out in their second match against West Ham United in fours days, knocking the Londoner’s out of the EFL Cup with a 4-1 scoreline. It was the same old story for United, who this time took the lead in the first two minutes with Henrikh Mkhitaryan back-heeling Zlatan Ibrahimovic a great ball inside the box with the Swede finding the back of the net, before receiving a studs-up challenge from Adrian right on his knee, which kept his down for a while, recovering to continue the match. United had some great chances with Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney coming close to scoring, the latter from a neatly placed free-kick, which did not beat the keeper. United then found themselves being pegged back by the Hammers, who equalised in the 35th minute through Ashley Fletcher after David De Gea could not keep hold of Dimitri Payet’s shot, putting it straight into the path of United’s former youth player, who left in the summer. United struck back in the second half though with Anthony Martial putting United back in the lead three minutes into the second half, assisted by Mkhitaryan, then scoring his second of the night, which was assisted by Antonio Valencia. United scored their fourth in the dying seconds of the match through Ibrahimovic, assisted by Ander Herrera. Great result for United, who face Hull City in the semi-finals of the competition.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Two assists for the Armenian, who was also named the EFL Cup Man of the Match. It is a great comeback for Mkhitaryan, who initially looking like he would not play for United again, but Jose Mourinho knew what he was doing, it was the media putting these differing stories out there, with many supporters opting to go with the media’s side of the story. Mourinho and Mkhitaryan knew the full story, that is all that matters. The Armenian is on fire, assisting twice in the match, his first since April, which was whilst he was at Borussia Dortmund. Mkhitaryan is a great player and now seeing him shine is great. He will be confident ahead of United’s busy period, where him being fully fit, settled and in form is going to be good for United, his teammates, his manager and more importantly, the fans.

Anthony Martial

Another success story under Jose Mourinho this season. Only days ago he was criticised for not taking his chances, with Mourinho saying if you do not take your meat, someone else will, or words to that effect. The player obviously listened to that, or the fact he would have heard it from Mourinho first-hand before we did, getting that chance this evening and paying him manager back for it. Martial was on fire, taking the challenge to his man, winning them more often than not, getting himself on the scoresheet twice, which will only fill him with more confidence. United now head into December with seven matches on the cards, a busy period with three or four matches being played over the festive period. Having Martial fit and raring to go will only help United. If they can claw back some of the deficit from the teams above them, playing Tottenham Hotspur early in the month, facing Everton, who are below United, this weekend. December could see United in form, which may see rival teams noticing them.

Chances galore

Manchester United are creating chances, playing well, but it would seem that sometimes, despite dominating in matches, it can go against them. Manchester United are work in progress, doing well in putting the last three years behind them. The fact that Mourinho has his side playing positive football is a turning point – gone are the days of the boring possession rich matches under Louis van Gaal, now we get to see exciting attacking displays. The fact that both Mkhitaryan and Martial are looking good is a great sign, not to great for United’s opposition, though. Winning in the Premier League is the next checkpoint to reach, beating Everton, making up some ground in the league as Manchester City and Chelsea face each other in the league this weekend, with West Ham entertaining Arsenal, so there could be a chance for United to claw back some of the gap come Sunday afternoon. United are playing good football, they look good defensively, despite lacking strength there with the injuries to Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly. The midfield is looking good and the forward like seems to be working right now. Two goals for Anthony Martial and another two for Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks good on paper, and in reality. United may not yet be back fully, but it is coming.

CONFIRMED: Mkhitaryan and Rooney start against West Ham

Manchester United face West Ham United in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford this evening. The two teams faced each other in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday, earning a 1-1 draw in what seemed like a struggle for United. United are without both Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini this evening, and Jose Mourinho will be in the stands after being charged by the FA, getting a one-match suspension and a £16,000 fine. United will be looking to return to winning ways, earning a semi-final place in the EFL Cup this season, which could see them head to Wembley once again this season, should they get to the final of course. United will be looking for a performance like they had against Feyenoord last Thursday night, in which they played some very good attacking football, scoring four goals and putting themselves in good stead for a place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League this season, which can be earned with a point against Zorya Luhansk in just over a weeks time. Here are the starting XI and list of substitutes for both clubs this evening:

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Shaw;

Carrick, Herrera;

Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Martial;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Romero; Blind; Mata, Lingard, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Rashford

West Ham United:

Adrian;

Ogbonna, Reid, Kouyate;

Antonio, Feghouli, Obiang, Cresswell;

Fernandez, Fletcher, Payet

Substitutes:

Randolph, Nordtveit, Lanzini, Zaza, Noble, Collins, Masuaku

Slaven Bilic out to beat Manchester United in the EFL Cup

Manchester United and West Ham United last met at Old Trafford just three days ago and they are about to go head to head once again, this time in the EFL Cup. Both teams draw 1-1 in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon after the Hammers found the back of the net, with the help of a free-kick, in the second minute of the match. United equalised less than 20 minutes later through Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a sublime ball from Paul Pogba, who according to the ABU’s is massively failing at United this season, despite some stunning performances. Too many people judge too soon, I guess. United will be looking to get into the semi-final of the EFL Cup, as will the Hammers and that is something Slaven Bilic wants to do. Sky Sports reported the Croatian manager as saying:

“We are going to do everything we can to beat them. Manchester United are probably also going to change their team. What we expect is the same shape from them, same kind of football, just different names.

“It’s a quarter-final, which means if you win you are in semis and that’s a big thing, and only a couple of games to the final.”

Manchester United will be without the services of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, as both received their fifth yellow cards in English competitions this season, therefore being suspended for the next match. Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are still on the sidelines, despite the latter returning to training with the club this week. United are likely to have Michael Carrick back in the squad, after missing the visit of West Ham at the weekend and Bastian Schweinsteiger is expected to be named in the squad again, for the second time in a week. Whether his return has been preempted or is just down to the fact that the midfield has been hit with inconsistencies recently, remains to be seen.

United could bring Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial, and Memphis Depay back into the squad, but in order to beat the Hammers, I feel United need to be using the big guns. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick may all need to be used, just four days ahead of the trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Premier League, another match that United need to turn the screws up on, ensuring they leave Merseyside with three points in the bag – that will be very important, as will beating West Ham United this time. With Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Mata et al in the side, United have the pace, the ability, and the thought in order to attack their opposition. Zlatan needs goals, he got one on Sunday but missed a few chances also. That is the same story with a striker, they always miss more than they score, but it Zlatan scored more, United would be in a much better position, that can be said of any attacking player, though.

The fact that Pogba will miss the match will be a big deal, but with the busy festive period fastly approaching and the fact that United will face a big challenge in December, a rest for the Frenchman was a likely scenario for this match, as players need to be kept fresh. Mkhitaryan has seldom played any football this season, so he is like a new signing in November, heading into December where a run of matches will be important. Jose Mourinho could have played his cards right with the Armenian in that respect. Saving something for when it matters. He did need to adapt after all, but all of those fans who slated the manager, will not thank him for what he has done, as they don’t think he has done anything. That is the sad thing. Fans are willing to associate blame, but not associate praise. That is the fickle nature of modern football though! Will Manchester United prevail, only time will tell!

Preview: Mourinho to instil passion, confidence and fight into his side?

Old Trafford, Manchester

EFL Cup 2016/17

Wednesday 30th November 2016 – KO 20:00 [Live on Sky Sports]

Referee: Michael Jones

Assistant Referees: Richard West and Adrian Holmes

Fourth Official: Graham Scott

Manchester United face West Ham United in the EFL Cup for the second time in three days on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford. Sunday’s match saw United concede a goal inside the first two minutes of the match and Jose Mourinho sent to the stands for the second time at home this month. United once again played well, creating a number of chances and shots on goal with West Ham’s goalkeeper really putting in a performance against the Red Devils, something he really needs to be doing each match for his club, but isn’t. The Hammers fans will be happy with the draw in the league, as it stopped them from falling into the relegation places in the league, really being a different West Ham side this season. It is a shame their players were not funded by the taxpayer, like the rest of the club. What a shambles that is. Not to mention that fact that many of their fans need locking up for their poor behaviour, even within their new ‘funded’ stadium.

United really need to start finding some form as people are suggesting that nothing has changed since Louis van Gaal managed the club, when in actual fact, the football has changed massively. Gone are the day of possession football, not United are keeping the ball, for much of the time at least, and doing something with it, whether that be creating chances, or taking them. Not all chances are goalscoring opportunities, though, with the current problems at the club, few seems to be goalscoring opportunities, that is the only thing that needs to change, in my opinion anyway.  Some players need to be shown the door, with others being given chances from the club’s Academy, or Mourinho bringing some more players to the club in the January transfer window. One thing is for sure, the team Mourinho has is not his team and attempts to make them his team do not seem to be working, so more changes will be in the offing.

West Ham did very little against United on Sunday, they had some chances, but nothing special. Their fans are happy as they avoided defeat at Old Trafford, something that has been the case the last three times in the Premier League and the FA Cup. Winning at Old Trafford is a different kettle of fish, as that has not happened for some years, and in their current form, I doubt they are capable of doing so. West Ham may see themselves as one of the biggest clubs in London, but in terms of success, they are not even on the radar. This season might end up taking them off the Premier League radar altogether, which is something they deserve, but that will mean they will be funded by the taxpayer even more. Slaven Bilic has a great West Ham side last season, but this season, with the same team. United seem to be suffering from similar problems, players bottling out of chances, and that is something that will need to improve.

Manchester United Form:- DWDWL

West Ham United 1-1 D, Feyenoord 4-0 W, Arsenal 1-1 D, Swansea City 3-1 W, Fenerbahçe 2-1 L

Manchester United played some good football against Feyenoord at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, yet when it came to West Ham United in the Premier League, everything gained from that big victory, the biggest under Jose Mourinho, was forgotten. United conceded inside the first two minutes after conceding a free-kick on the edge of the area, then not defending it properly. United then battled to get back into the game, did so through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, then struggled to get ahead, despite the chances being created, but not taken by the players. United need to sort this out. creating chances is all well and good, but when they are not being taken, that is the difference between winning and losing matches.

West Ham United Form:- DLDLW

Manchester United 1-1 D, Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 L, Stoke City 1-1 D, Everton 2-0 L, Chelsea 2-1 W

West Ham United were a team to beat last season, this season, they are a beaten team. The move to the tax-payer funded London Stadium seems to have been the kiss of death to the coin throwers, which is even funnier to watch. Three wins in the Premier League this season show that the only scrap the London side could have this season is a relegation battle, which would not be a huge loss if they ended up back in the Championship. Slaven Bilic’s West Ham just do not seem like they are pushing for anything, which must be frustrating for their fans. West Ham were on top at times against United on Sunday, they need to stay on top of them, of the same thing will happen on Wednesday.

Manchester United Top Scorers:

9 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 5 – Juan Mata, 4 – Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, 3 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 2 – Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling

West Ham United Top Scorers:

6 – Michail Antonio, 3 – Cheikhou Kouyaté, Manuel Lanzini, 2 – Mark Noble, Dimitri Payet, 1 – James Collins, Sofiane Feghouli, Edimilson Fernandes, Own Goal, Winston Reid, Diafra Sakho

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Eric Bailly (knee), Chris Smalling (foot) – Paul Pogba (one match), Marouane Fellaini (one match)

West Ham United Squad:

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Adrián, Raphael Spiegel

Defenders: Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Álvaro Arbeloa, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Sam Byram, Doneil Henry, Arthur Masuaku, Reece Oxford, Declan Rice

Midfielders: Håvard Nordtveit, Sofiane Feghouli, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Gökhan Töre, Dimitri Payet, Michail Antonio, Domingos Quina, Djair Parfitt-Williams, Marcus Browne, Moses Makasi

Forwards: Andy Carroll, Simone Zaza, Diafra Sakho, André Ayew, Ashley Fletcher, Jonathan Calleri, Antonio Martinez

Injuries and Suspensions: Reece Oxford (ankle), Gökhan Töre (thigh), Sam Byram (hamstring), Arthur Masuaku (knee), Andy Carroll (knee) Daifra Sakho (hamstring)

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United

What We Learned: Drawing is the new winning!

Manchester United draw 1-1 with West Ham United after conceding in the second minute of the match with Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalising in the 21st minute from a Paul Pogba assist. Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands for the second time in the league this season, something which is apparently showing passion for one manager, but displaying stupidity for another? Manchester United fans, or some of them at least, have become a joke. Last season, many were moaning about Louis van Gaal sitting in the dugout, doing very little in the technical area, now we have Mourinho in the technical area, disagreeing with referees, which is something Sir Alex Ferguson used to do, but Mourinho is apparently doing something which embarrasses the club? How is that? Modern football seems to have many double standards, some of which see supposed supporters throwing their pathetic teddy bears out of the pram when they feel things are not up to standard. United are improving, it will take some time to get an end result. If you don’t like it, go watch something you do like!

Jesse Lingard

I am not convinced by Jesse Lingard. Last season he scored some crucial goals, one of which won the Emirates FA Cup for Manchester United and Louis van Gaal. This season, he seems to have been selected by Jose Mourinho as one of the players that he sees as a decent player for the club, but I just do not think Lingard does enough to warrant a place in the team. Yes, he is a product of the Academy. Many others are too. That does not mean they are good enough to continue playing for the club. Tom Cleverley was a product from the Academy, whilst he was given a good shot during his time at United, he just is not good enough. It happens. Lingard is a bright spark, but I feel if he wants to remain a Manchester United player, he needs to grow up, quit with all this immature social media drivel, start learning how to help his team, as today, by going in for an early challenge, he let his side down by conceding the free-kick that scored West Ham the opening goal of the match. United’s defence was not doing their job for the free-kick, but Lingard caused it, so he needs to learn from it. United have some decent players in the team, ones who I think are better than Lingard, so chances are, he will end up being benched, played as a rotation player. I don’t see him being the first name on the team sheet unless he continues to develop.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The Armenian midfielder got up to speed in the 4-0 victory over Feyenoord on Thursday evening, coming on against West Ham just after the hour. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is starting to come good, but today, the frustration of the draw will only add to the players determination to kick-start his career at Manchester United. The guy played well, considering the lack of luck United were having and it did not stop him from trying. United will bounce back from this poor run of form, which has seen United draw four times in the league, at home. Draws are not great, but they sure are better than losing, which could quite easily have been the case, even today. Mkhitaryan is a player that will start for United all the more after being settled at the club and being fired up by the manager. Whether he starts against West Ham on Wednesday though remains the question, as I am sure both teams will change their lineups considerably.

Jose Mourinho

Give the man a break. If Manchester United win, just like last season it is apparently down to the players performing, but if Manchester United lose or draw, this is only down to the manager. Really? Yes, the manager picks the team, so if that team wins, surely that is down to him? That is what you would think using reverse thinking, but not, that is not right apparently! Mourinho does pick the team and today I feel he got most of it right. Jesse Lingard is a player I would like to see learn a bit more before starting, as the likes of Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are both much better than him. Other than that, what else could have ben done, considering United were playing just over two days before? United need to be rotated. Many fans don’t understand that. They expect players to be playing in every match, then when fatigue comes in, as it most likely will throughout December (as there is no international break and for the first time this season, there are matches played each week, in three competitions, for some clubs anyway. Mourinho has come into United and done the business, in the transfer window, seems to have the players happy and has so far, started to turn the club in the right direction.

You cannot expect result to happen instantly. Many say Chelsea are firing, but in all respect, Chelsea were more of a team than United were. The players just stopped playing for Mourinho last season, which after a change of manager, instantly stopped. That does not mean the new manager has fixed anything, as at the end of the day, there was little to be fixed. Chelsea did some good business in the summer, which only added to their team, meaning they were always in a much better position than United. Mourinho has his work cut out to get the club competing again, but many of you only care about results. Most fans don’t watch United play, they just look at the result and moan, knowing nothing about the match, or even how United played. That is not something they care about, winning is the only thing these fans care about, actually I won’t call then fans, than is not what they are. United played well, as they have for the past few weeks. It worked on Thursday night, but the luck just was not there today. It happens. The only thing that needs to happen now is that Manchester United need to react, starting on Wednesday.

CONFIRMED: Herrera, Pogba and Mata start against West Ham

Manchester United face West Ham United in the Premier League at Old Trafford this afternoon. Fresh from a great performance against Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, where four goals were scored in a great team performance. Jose Mourinho will be looking to continue that form into the league, dumping the coin throwers into the relegation places, where they deserve to be this season. Henrikh Mkhitaryan returned to action for United on Thursday, having a great individual performance, showing his class against the Dutch side. United have the key players to get three points against this poor West Ham side, who will probably spend much of the match in their own half, like the Championship club they aspire to be.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian;

Herrera, Pogba;

Lingard, Mata, Rashford;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Romero; Blind; Young, Mkhitaryan, Fellaini, Schweinsteiger; Rooney

West Ham United:

Randolph;

Kouyate, Collins, Ogbonna;

Antonio, Noble, Obiang, Cresswell;

Lanzini, Payet;

Sakho

Substitutes:

Adrian, Nordtveit, Feghouli, Zaza, Ayew, Fletcher, Fernandes

Preview: Mkhitaryan to continue building confidence and form against the hammers?

Old Trafford, Manchester

Premier League 2016/17

Sunday 27th November 2016 – KO 16:30

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Assistant Referees: Andy Halliday and Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor

Manchester United face West Ham United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United have been in good form recently, maybe not getting the results, but putting in some good performances, which seems to have come to fruition against Feyenoord at Old Trafford on Thursday night in the UEFA Europa League. United needed four points to earn a place in the knockout stages of the competition, grinding a convincing 4-0 victory over the team who beat them in Holland at the start of the season. Jose Mourinho made six changes from the Arsenal match, allowing David De Gea and Ander Herrera to rest, getting themselves ready for the visit of West Ham on Sunday. The hammers were a team that always brought a challenge for United, but this season, that might be something that does not happen after their mixed form this season, earning three wins so far.

United have not had a great start to the season either, but sit sixth in the league, six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and nine points from league leaders Chelsea. United might be out of the mix at this moment in time, but the coming weeks could see United play catch up if only to make their top four target a little easier to achieve. A title run may not be fully out of the question, but right now, it does not look likely. Jimmy Greaves once said football was a funny old game, so you never know. West Ham sit in 17th place so far this season, just a point over Hull City who are in the relegation places, so a result at Old Trafford will be something that Slaven Bilic will want in order to break away from the bottom three, which might not happen until his side see some consistency in their performances, consistency for the better at least, as they have been consistently dire this season.

West Ham last beat United at Old Trafford back on the 13th May 2007 with Carlos Tevez scoring the only goal of the game. Since then, the hammers have managed just two draws and eight defeats in ten matches, which is not great, to be honest. United should throw all they can at the Londoners in the early stages of the match, but ensuring their finishing is perfect with them scoring at least two goals, which should all but end the game, unless West Ham fight back, which is what they will be expected to do. United have a great team, with players now starting to gel in the team, which is what makes them even more dangerous. Of course, United could have another bad day and be beaten, but they really need to be in charge of their matches at Old Trafford, as that is something that is needed to turn the Theatre of Dreams into a fortress once again.

Manchester United Form:- WDWLD

Feyenoord 4-0 W, Arsenal 1-1 D, Swansea City 3-1 W, Fenerbahçe 2-1 L, Burnley 0-0 D

Manchester United have seemingly turned a corner with their performances over the past few matches. Against Burnley, United played well, were very attacking and clinical, despite not scoring a goal. They played well against Swansea City and against Arsenal but were unlucky to concede a last-minute equaliser, taking two points away from them. Against Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night at Old Trafford, United managed to put it all together, threatening the Dutch side for almost the entire match. Wayne Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick were all magnificent, as was Sergio Romero, who managed a double save, which kept United in the game early on. If this United continue to perform like this, Mourinho will have started something this season.

West Ham United Form:- LDLWW

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 L, Stoke City 1-1 D, Everton 2-0 L, Chelsea 2-1 W, Sunderland 1-0 W

West Ham United were a team to beat last season, this season, they are a beaten team. The move to the tax-payer funded London Stadium seems to have been the kiss of death to the coin throwers, which is even funnier to watch. Three wins in the Premier League this season show that the only scrap the London side could have this season is a relegation battle, which would not be a huge loss if they ended up back in the Championship. Slaven Bilic’s West Ham just do not seem like they are pushing for anything, which must be frustrating for their fans. Still, some fans reckon the hammers will win 3-2 at Old Trafford. Should United be in the zone, like they were on Thursday evening, good luck with that one!

Manchester United Top Scorers:

8 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 5 – Juan Mata, 4 – Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, 3 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 2 – Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling

West Ham United Top Scorers:

6 – Michail Antonio, 3 – Cheikhou Kouyaté, Manuel Lanzini, 2 – Mark Noble, Dimitri Payet, 1 – James Collins, Sofiane Feghouli, Edimilson Fernandes, Own Goal, Winston Reid

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Eric Bailly (knee), Chris Smalling (foot)

West Ham United Squad:

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Adrián, Raphael Spiegel

Defenders: Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Álvaro Arbeloa, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Sam Byram, Doneil Henry, Arthur Masuaku, Reece Oxford, Declan Rice

Midfielders: Håvard Nordtveit, Sofiane Feghouli, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Gökhan Töre, Dimitri Payet, Michail Antonio, Domingos Quina, Djair Parfitt-Williams, Marcus Browne, Moses Makasi

Forwards: Andy Carroll, Simone Zaza, Diafra Sakho, André Ayew, Ashley Fletcher, Jonathan Calleri, Antonio Martinez

Injuries and Suspensions: Reece Oxford (ankle), Gökhan Töre (thigh), Sam Byram (hamstring), Arthur Masuaku (knee), Andy Carroll (knee)

Predicted Starting XI:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a player who needs to build on his confidence from the performance he put in against Feyenoord on Thursday night, the guy was immense. Fast on the ball, good with the ball, but unlucky in his plight to find the back of the net, which was something he consistently tried to do. United were great against the Dutch side, which if carried into this Premier League game, where United are looking to get back into the mix, it could devastate Slaven Bilic’s side, which would be the signs of a great day. United need to find that ruthless streak, the performances have been growing for the past few weeks or so, picking the team to continue that into this match is important.

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United

West Ham were always a tough team to play over the past few seasons, even under Sir Alex Ferguson. This season, their start to the season makes this look like an easier match, but that is something United have become unstuck from already. If the draws against Stoke City, Burnley, and Arsenal were all wins, United would be up there at the top of the table, getting ready to string a title challenge together. United have not always taken advantage of teams above them slipping up, so if that happens this weekend, it is something United need to do, sending a message to their rivals, as if another performance is made, United season looks set to start, maybe too late, but it could also be the right time.

copyright: JW