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League Cup

  • 30 November 2010
  • • 19:45
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 33551
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West Ham United - Manchester United Preview: Paul Scholes set to miss out again as Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans could return in defence

West Ham United - Manchester United Preview: Paul Scholes set to miss out again as Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans could return in defence

TEAM NEWS

West Ham United

Avram Grant will be without long term casualties Manuel da Costa (ankle), Jack Collison (knee), Thomas Hitzlsperger (thigh), Anthony Edgar and Peter Kurucz (both knee).

Scott Parker hasn't recovered from a virus and will sit out, while Valon Behrami recovered from a thigh injury in time to play a part.

Possible starting XI: Stech; Spector, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga; Behrami, Kovac, Tomkins, Stanislas; Cole, McCarthy.

Manchester United

Paul Scholes remains a doubt due to a groin problem, while Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves (both hamstring) are still some way from fitness. Antonio Valencia (knee & ankle) is out until February.

Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans could slot in as centre-backs, as manager Sir Alex Ferguson could ring in the changes for this one.

Possible starting XI: Amos; Brown, Smalling, Evans, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Gibson, Giggs, Park; Rooney.

Memories of Pompey

Hammers boss Avram Grant finds himself in an all too familiar situation, as West Ham are currently at the rock bottom of the table. This was the position that he found himself in at Portsmouth last season. And to his credit, Pompey went on a fantastic run in a domestic cup competition by reaching the final of the FA Cup.

Should the home side emerge victorious on the day, comparisons may be inevitable. But unlike the south coast outfit – that were relegated last season - the problems that the Israeli boss faces are more to do with troubles on the pitch than off it.

And with the recently 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic, the east London club will likely look towards this game as a source to build on the confidence received from the win over the weekend.

If nothing else, this game provides the fans with a breath of fresh air, as opposed to the difficulties in the league that their players face week-in week-out.

But with Grant at the helm, the supporters may fancy their chances against their more illustrious visitors, who are currently defending their hold over the League Cup.

Flying high

Manchester United have been doing very well for themselves this season, and are the only team in the top-flight not to have lost a game so far.

And as we slowly approach the halfway point in the season, manager Sir Alex Ferguson will likely fancy some more silverware to add to the club’s brimming trophy cabinet. But he will know that his side will have to get past Grant’s men in order make their way into the semi-finals of the tournament.

But with some of his players having exerted themselves in the roaring 7-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers, a few could be left out in favour of youngsters of fringe players.

However, any side that Ferguson fields on the day will likely be able to match, if not better their opponents in terms of quality. But without home advantage - as United have drawn several away games in the league - Upton Park may prove to be a challenge nonetheless.

But all said and done, the boss will want to keep the undefeated momentum going for as long as possible. And the current game should prove to be another obstacle in the path to adding to the club’s long list of achievements in recent years.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Robert GreenGoalkeeper
18Julien FaubertMidfielder
5James TomkinsDefender
20Matthew UpsonDefender
26Tal Ben HaimDefender
17Pablo Edson BarreraStriker
-Radoslav KovacDefender
23Jonathan SpectorMidfielder
34Boa MorteMidfielder
9Carlton ColeStriker
33Victor Nsofor ObinnaStriker
-Ruud BoffinGoalkeeper
2Winston ReidDefender
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
46Junior StanislasStriker
17Benni McCarthyStriker
41Zavon HinesStriker
39Frédéric PiquionneStriker
29Tomasz KuszczakGoalkeeper
16John O'SheaDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
35Fabio Da SilvaDefender
24Darren FletcherMidfielder
8AndersonMidfielder
11Ryan GiggsManager/Coach
33BebeStriker
14Javier HernándezStriker
25Gabriel ObertanStriker
40Ben AmosGoalkeeper
5Wes BrownDefender
21Rafael SilvaMidfielder
15M. EikremMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
27Federico MachedaStriker
Players to Watch
Scott Parker
Scott Parker
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 28
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Scott Parker only just returned from an illness to score against Wigan Athletic in the Premier League, as the Hammers managed to register a much-needed victory. Now it will be up to the skipper to continue leading by example and ensure that the rest of the team can pull off a surprise.
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Wayne Rooney is likely to get a look in for this game as he is lacking in competitive match practice, as manager Sir Alex Ferguson recently admitted.

Having got a goal – albeit from the spot – since his return from an ankle injury, the striker will likely be looking to get among the chances and grab a goal or two as a means of restoring confidence.
Prediction
West Ham may have been given a confidence boost over the weekend, but the undefeated visitors may be a little too much for them at this point in their recovery process.
Editor's Prediction

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