Contribution by Tom Bell
Saturday’s 12.45 kick-off see’s the Red’s travel to Upton Park to face Avram Grant’s West Ham following the international break.
It’s the first time Manchester United have travelled to Upton Park since the surprise 4-0 defeat in the Carling Cup quarter –final in November, our biggest defeat this season. The game can cause a shift at both ends of the table with West Ham just one place off the bottom three as well as giving the Reds the chance to pull eight points clear.
In terms of team news, Nemanja Vidic is expected back in the team following injury and Rafael Da Silva is also expected to return – a big boost to our defensive injury worries of recent. Johnny Evans starts his three match ban following his dismissal in the 1-0 Premier League win over Bolton at Old Trafford, Paul Scholes is also out through suspension.
Grant’s men have not conceded in 186 minutes of play which include tough games against Stoke and Spurs. In contrast, Man United have won in their last 3 games in all competitions, not failed to score in 9 games and have an impressive run of form against West Ham in the league, winning their last 7 games – home and away, against the east London club.
West Ham are expected to give Frederic Piquionne a run out despite missing the 0-0 draw with Spurs with a foot injury. Piquionne is their top scorer in the league with 6 goals with Carlton Cole close behind on 5 league goals.
Second place Arsenal host Blackburn at the Emirates following their 2-2 draw away at West Brom whilst Chelsea travel to a tough away game at Stoke. Both Arsenal and Chelsea have a game in hand but currently remain five points and eight points behind United. City complete the top four and they face Sunderland at the City of Manchester stadium on Sunday.
It’s a must win game if the Reds are to carry on their campaign of winning the treble and chasing that 19th league win to overtake Liverpool as holders of the most league titles. However West Ham will be sure to give it their all as they attempt to avoid being sucked further into the relegation battle.
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