Red Devils’ welcome the Hammers at the Old Trafford, which offers to be an exciting battle for the Top 4 position. West Ham although currently are fourth in the table, are just two points adrift from Manchester United. A win for West Ham will take them to 40 points to make them clear of 4 points from Tottenham Hotspur. Not only do Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have their respective games on Sunday, but they also have games in hand. So a win for Manchester United will take them to fourth place, but only temporarily.
West Ham United has impressed everyone in this season of the Premier League. Even though they have beaten some decent teams their inconsistent form has certainly reduced the points gap for the fourth spot. Manchester United has also been inconsistent throughout this campaign. Even though Rangnick has lost just one game in seven matches, the way Man United has dropped points has been frustrating for them and the fans. West Ham will overlook their last result and would want to get back to winning ways. For Man United, they will look to build momentum from their last result.
West Ham has some concerns over the availability of some of its key players. Moyes will be optimistic over Tomas Soucek’s return from COVID-19. Mark Noble remains an absentee due to his knee injury. Said Benrahma remains unavailable due to his participation at the Africa Cup of Nations duty. Meanwhile, center-back duo Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma remain unavailable for the weekend clash as well.
For Manchester United, Edinson Cavani & Luke Shaw are likely to miss out after suffering issues in training. Jadon Sancho is still doubtful due to personal issues and Aaron Wan Bissaka’s illness is set to keep him sidelined again. Paul Pogba is set to be out as Rangnick will not look to rush the French superstar into the playing XI. Eric Bailly’s representation in the Africa Cup of Nations is set to keep him out as well. The rest of the squad looks to be available for the matchday.
Predicted Line Up
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
Defense: Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles
Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Elanga
Attack: Cristiano Ronaldo
Injuries: Luke Shaw, Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba, Aaron Wan Bissaka
West Ham United
Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski
Defense: Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Issa Dipp, Aaron Cresswell
Midfield: Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Manuel Lanzini, Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals
Attack: Michail Antonio
Players to watch
West Ham United
The Jamaican forward is having a decent season so far. Antonio has scored 8 goals this season in 21 appearances. Man United’s backline will certainly be wary of Antonio’s movements on and off the ball. If given proper service, expect Antonio to bag a goal or two.
In Mark Noble’s absence, Declan Rice has certainly stepped up as a club captain and is West Ham’s most consistent player. Declan Rice has the ability to control the tempo of the game. Rice who is on the radar of many clubs including Man United, will be the key player to watch out for in the heart of the midfield at Old Trafford.
Bruno Fernandes found himself struggling in midst of changing systems. The Portuguese attacking midfielder, however, has found his form off late and was involved in 4 G/A in the last two games. This means that Ralf Rangnick will be tempted to draft Fernandes in playing XI once again. Be it scoring goals or providing assists, Bruno Fernandes can single-handedly change the dynamic of the game.
You cannot leave a star man out in a crucial game. Even though Ronaldo has had few dry spells in between this PL campaign, he has still managed to bag 8 goals and 3 assists. Ronaldo has already scored against the Hammers in the reverse fixture earlier this season. He will certainly look to repeat the same, this time at Old Trafford.
Manchester United struggles in the middle of the park and defensive frailties at times, means we do not expect a dead rubber. Moreover, West Ham’s prowess upfront leaves plenty of concerns for Ralf Rangnick in organizing the defensive shape of the team. Even though the hosts have had their issues defensively, expect another stellar performance from David De Gea between the sticks. The Red Devils also appear to be growing in confidence in the final third. We expect an entertaining battle at the Theatre of Dreams in this crucial match for the fourth spot.
Our Prediction: Manchester United 2 – West Ham 2
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