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Premier League

  • 28 November 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 75572
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Manchester United - West Ham Preview: Sir Alex Ferguson looks to cement top spot against high-flying Hammers

The Red Devils made yet another comeback against QPR to go a point clear of rivals Manchester City this weekend, but will face a tough challenge from Sam Allardyce's in-form team

  PROBABLE LINEUPS
MANCHESTER UNITED

Lindegaard
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Anderson, Carrick, Cleverley
Valencia, Van Persie, Rooney
WEST HAM

Jaaskelainen
O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney
Taylor, O'Neil, Diame, Jarvis
Nolan
Carroll

Shinji Kagawa (knee) could be available for Manchester United, although the Japanese playmaker may feature from the bench if he is fit enough for a place in the squad.

Captain Nemanja Vidic (knee) and Nani (hamstring) have no set return dates, and are unlikely to feature for the Red Devils.

Darren Fletcher made his first Premier League start for over 12 months in his goal-scoring performance against QPR on Saturday, and with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones back on the bench, the majority of United's long-term absentees are now fit again.

Smalling may be preferred to Rafael at right-back due to the aerial threat West Ham will pose, with Sir Alex Ferguson using that tactic a number of times last season.

Yossi Benayoun (knee) should be in contention for a midfield role at Old Trafford for West Ham, although Jack Collison (knee) has no return date yet and will miss out.

Alou Diarra (thigh) will be out until December, and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) will definitely be unavailable until January while Mark Noble is suspended.

Barring those five players, Sam Allardyce will have the rest of his squad free to choose from for the visit to Manchester.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester United have not draw any of their opening 13 Premier League games - they have 10 wins and three defeats.
  • Jonny Evans needed 119 games to score his first United goal, but now has three in his last seven matches.
  • United have won their last two league games against West Ham at Old Trafford by a 3-0 margin - the first Premier League tie between the sides in 1993 also ended 3-0.
  • Robin van Persie (pictured) has scored four goals in his last four league starts against the Hammers.
  • The last time West Ham beat United at Old Trafford was in 2007, with a final-day 1-0 victory securing their top-flight survival courtesy of a Carlos Tevez finish.
  • The first ever league match between the sides ended in a 2-1 away win for the Hammers in 1922.
  • There have been four penalties in the last two games between the sides, with three coming in their last meeting, which the Red Devils won 4-2 in April 2011.
  • Sam Allardyce won two of his first three matches against Sir Alex Ferguson, but has not won any of the past 10.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
2RafaelDefender
3Patrice EvraDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
8AndersonMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
23Tom CleverleyMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
14Javier HernándezStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
4Phil JonesDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
28Alexander BüttnerDefender
18Ashley YoungMidfielder
24Darren FletcherMidfielder
19Danny WelbeckStriker
22Jussi JaaskelainenGoalkeeper
2Winston ReidDefender
5James TomkinsDefender
17Joey O'BrienDefender
19James CollinsDefender
20Guy DemelDefender
4Kevin NolanMidfielder
7Matthew JarvisMidfielder
7Matthew TaylorMidfielder
21Mohamed DiameMidfielder
9Andy CarrollStriker
30Raphael SpiegelGoalkeeper
42Jordan SpenceDefender
26Gary O'NeilMidfielder
-George MoncurMidfielder
43Sebastian Francisco LletgetMidfielder
9Carlton ColeStriker
12Ricardo Vaz TeStriker
10Modibo MaigaStriker
Players to Watch
Anderson
Anderson
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Sir Alex Ferguson himself admitted the Brazilian changed the game for the Red Devils after coming on against QPR with 30 minutes to go, and will be given a place against West Ham. Despite Paul Scholes' passing range, the 24-year-old showed his greater mobility to take the game to the relegation strugglers, and vision of his own with a fabulous assist for Javier Hernandez to secure the victory. The next few weeks could be make or break in Anderson's Old Trafford career - with the centre of midfield crying out for a domineering presence, the former Porto player has a chance to make a starting spot his - now he has to step up and take it.
Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The £35 million Liverpool loanee has a lot to prove this season, and while he may never live up to the lofty heights of his price tag, there is nothing to stop him becoming a dangerous player in the Premier League once again. The 23-year-old is at times unplayable in the air, which will certainly worry Sir Alex Ferguson, whose side have looked below par when dealing with strong aerial teams of late. If Carroll can get the deliveries and support he needs at Old Trafford, he could well turn the tide for the Hammers - particularly with dangerman Kevin Nolan ready to run on to any inviting knockdowns from the tall England forward.
Prediction
Despite Manchester United's seemingly perverse desire to gift teams the lead before coming back to win this season, they came unstuck against Norwich at Carrow Road, and almost did so again against QPR last weekend. There are only so many times this carelessness will go unpunished, and West Ham will trouble the hosts as they fully deserve their impressive seventh place in the Premier League table. However, while the Hammers may find the net at Old Trafford through an aerial route, the home side should be too strong on the day with the embarrassment of attacking riches they possess.
Editor's Prediction

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