Down The Wings

Manchester United Fan Blog

Match Preview: Manchester United vs West Ham United

Manchester United vs West Ham

Manchester United vs West Ham | Premier League | Old Trafford| KO: 18:00 22/07/2020 | Sky Sports

Following their FA Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea, Manchester United must regroup and refocus on the task at hand- qualifying for next seasons UEFA Champions League. 

David Moyes’ West Ham United travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, on the back of an impressive run of form that has pulled them three points clear of the drop zone. It is most likely that this run of form has led them to safety due to their superior goal difference, but a point against The Reds would mathematically secure their Premier League status for another season.

As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, their fate is well and truly in their own hands. Should they win or draw against West Ham, United will move into fourth place, ahead of Leicester City, the side they face in the final league match of the season. 

It would have been hard to envisage United finishing in the top four when the Premier League was suspended, however their recent run of form (and Leicester’s lack of form) has opened the door for an impressive league finish.

How do Manchester United look?

Embed from Getty Images

David De Gea was at fault for two of Chelsea’s three goals at Wembley on Sunday, and the biggest question surrounding Solskjaer’s chosen line-up has been whether he will stick with the Spaniard, or opt with Sergio Romero between the sticks come Wednesday evening.

Refusing to be drawn into the speculation, the boss said “We’ve got two games and we need to just focus on that. David is mentally strong enough to know that his job is to perform in training the next day and then be ready for the games.”

A major concern for United following the match against Chelsea was the health of Eric Bailly. The centre back received two head injuries in a matter of minutes, and was stretchered off and taken to hospital. 

Providing an update on the condition of Bailly, Solskjaer said “Eric stayed down in London for all the checks. I didn’t see him yesterday. He’s following the protocols that are needed. I don’t think he’ll be ready for this game.”

Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe both remain side-lined for the fixture, meaning Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf will be the only two fit centre backs available to face West Ham. The partnership of the pair has been Solskjaer’s preferred option at the back this season, meaning the unavailability of others should not to be too much of a concern for the club.

Assessing United’s unbeaten run, that came to an end against Chelsea, the boss said ““I think we’ve grown over the whole season. The additions of Odion, Bruno and Paul coming back, Marcus coming back, is a strength for us. We are better as a group and more robust and resilient. The proof is in the pudding and we’ll have to see on Wednesday how they perform.”

Opposition: West Ham United

Embed from Getty Images

Former Manchester United boss David Moyes bring his West Ham side to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening with very little to lose, and will likely be playing with more freedom than they usually would.

Speaking on his time at The Theatre of Dreams, Moyes compared his experience to that of which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going through, the Scotsman said “the difference between Ole and me is that he’s being given time”.

Moyes took the champions of England down to seventh place within ten months, and the club has been trying to recover from his mistakes ever since. David Moyes never showed any promise of a successful future at United; the side were declining week on week, whereas there has been clear progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, so it is unfair for him to criticise the club for not giving him time.

Time is earnt, not just handed out.

The Irons top scorer this season is Michail Antonio, who has nine league goals this campaign, although four of those came in a 4-0 victory over relegated Norwich city a couple of weeks ago.

Key Stats

Should United avoid defeat in their final two league matches of the season, they will qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

If they avoid defeat, it will be the first time since September that United have finished a match in the top four.

The last time an ex-Manchester United manager beat The Reds at Old Trafford was in 1982, when Coventry City’s Dave Sexton achieved the feat. United will be desperate to ensure David Moyes does not rewrite the history books.

Prediction

Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United. Goals from Anthony Martial (2) and Paul Pogba.

Match Preview Writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.