Preview: Manchester United v West Ham United


Against West Ham we could see what would be a welcomed return for two rocks at the central defence. How different this season could have been with a fit Rio and a fit Vidic for at least half our matches we’ll never know. ..

Manchester United’s recent history against West Ham is very good with four consecutive victories. Last season we saw an audacious piece of skill from Berbatov to set up a tap in for Ronaldo for a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.

Earlier this season we beat West Ham 4-0 at Upton Park with goals for Scholes, Gibson, Rooney and Valencia. The result looks comfortable but it doesn’t tell the whole story of the match – with Vidic, Ferdinand, Evans, O’Shea, Rafael, Fabio and Van der Sar already missing for the game our injury crisis really came to a head when both Gary Neville and Wes Brown suffered injuries during the match as we finished the game with a make-shift back four of Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs and Evra.

I find the team selection for the match interesting. Will the Carling Cup Final play a factor in Sir Alex Ferguson’s thought? Will how tired our players looked in the second half against Everton sway Fergie’s thoughts?

Personally, I think there will be changes in team. I think Fergie will want to win a trophy to take a little pressure off the team. I think we’ll see a strongish team on Sunday.

Against West Ham, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rooney on the bench with Owen or Diouf partnering Berbatov up front. I’d also like to see one of Carrick or Fletcher rested, preferably Fletcher as Carrick will miss out against AC Milan in a couple of weeks. With Anderson only playing thirty minutes of football in the last month the likely replacement will probably be Gibson. I really really really (yes three really’s) want Evra to be rested, not even in the final match-day squad, I think he is in desperate need of a rest.

The right-back spot is up for grabs. Gary Neville was okish against Everton while Rafael and Brown were poor in their last outings. I’d like Fergie to pick a right-back now and stick with him until the end of season. Who? I’d probably plump for Brown; I think he is better right back than centre back.

I’d select Valencia and Park on the wings and hopefully if the match is going to plan Obertan comes on for last thirty minutes or so.

I think we’ll beat West Ham on Tuesday but it perhaps won’t be as easy as many think. West Ham had a great result over the weekend beating fellow strugglers Hull City 3-0 so will feel less pressure about the outcome against us. I have feeling West Ham will go for it, will try to attack us and test our defence. However, I think this will work in our advantage as West Ham will leave spaces in midfield.

Score Prediction: 3-1 win for United. Two goals for Berbatov and one for Diouf.

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