Sir Alex has confirmed Anderson has played his way into the team after his energetic cameo against QPR dragged the side back into the game. Paul Scholes is suspended so will be the man replaced whilst Darren Fletcher may be rested after completing 90 minutes on Saturday, Michael Carrick should take his place after himself being rested.
Antonio Valencia’s recent poor form may have been down to a hip injury that he has been carrying and said injury may keep him out of tomorrow’s tie.
Mark Noble, like Scholes, is banned and George McCartney is out after picking up an ankle injury against Tottenham on Sunday. Beyond that West Ham have no new concerns with Benayoun, Vaz Te and Collison all still out.
Despite getting results, United are still looking far from their best. Their stagnant performance against Norwich sticks in mind and whilst things improved slightly against QPR, prior to Mackie giving QPR the lead United were frustrating. With 3 defeats in the league already, United can count themselves lucky to still be atop the table. Had Man City been sharper, Sir Alex’s side could have found themselves in a worrisome position.
West Ham come into the game off the back of an away defeat to rivals Tottenham, but their 8th position is a reflection of the impressive results the have chalked up under Sam Allardyce, holding champions Man City to a draw at Upton Park and winning away against Newcastle. But wth just 1 win in their last 5, a trip to Old Trafford won’t be easy.
Head to Head
Their have been some memorable encounters between these sides; the last will be remembered for Wayne Rooney’s ‘What? F**king what?’ outburst as United came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 but no one will forget Paolo Di Canio’s goal against Fabian Barthez in the FA Cup in 2001 or West Ham hammering United 4-0 in the Carling Cup on a cold November night in 2010, or a rampant United side putting 7 past West Ham in 2000 with Paul Scholes getting a hat trick.
But without doubt the most famous meeting came on the final day of the 1994/1995 season when a resilient West Ham side, inspired by keeper Ludek Miklosko, kept United at bay to prevent Sir Alex’s side from winning the Premier League.
Manchester United haven’t lost to West Ham in the Premier League since December 2007 so will be optimistic, having won every meeting between the two sides since including back to back 3-0 wins in each of West Ham’s last two visits to Old Trafford.
What to watch for
Big Sam loves a big man and some route one football so with Andy Carroll successfully being employed against us from set pieces by Liverpool, Allardyce will try to replicate this. He got his first goal for West Ham on the weekend against Spurs and with United’s defence still shaky he may have some joy tomorrow.
The threat of Carroll could also have an effect on Sir Alex’s team selection. The goalkeeper merry go round seems to be back in effect and whilst De Gea is fit, Lindegaard was selected for QPR. I expect him to keep his place as Sir Alex will protect his Spanish keeper who can be vulnerable under aerial pressure.
Whilst his overall play is as good as ever, buzzing around the box, in deeper positions and on the flanks, Robin Van Persie has gone 3 games without a goal. 4 would match his worst goal scoring run in 3 years as last year Everton, QPR, Manchester City, and Aston Villa kept him at bay. West Ham won’t be so lucky, expect him to find the net against the Hammers.
Rafael, Ferdiand, Evans, Evra
Young, Carrick, Anderson, Welbeck
2-1 (United will actually take the lead this time!)