Kick-off: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 – 20:00 GMT
Old Trafford, Manchester
Old Trafford, Manchester
Having seen Chelsea move four points clear in the Premier League title race following Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Everton, Manchester United take on a recently rejuvenated West Ham United as they look for an immediate recovery.
The Red Devils were on cloud nine following victory over Milan in the Champions League last week, although after the weekend's abject display at Goodison Park, Sir Alex Ferguson will be desperate for his side to get back to winning ways with the League Cup final to come on Sunday.
After a less than impressive start to life under new owners David Gold and David Sullivan, West Ham's results have picked up in recent times as they attempt to beat off the looming threat of relegation to the Championship.
Consecutive victories over Birmingham City and Hull City respectively have afforded under-fire boss Gianfranco Zola brief respite and the Hammers have, if perhaps only temporarily, moved away from the doldrums of the drop zone.
It's been over two years since Manchester United last went three games without a win in the Premier League although considering that West Ham haven't won any of their last 12 matches away from home in the League, Ferguson will undoubtedly be confident of a positive result.
20 Feb: Everton 3-1 Manchester United (Premier League)
16 Feb: Milan 2-3 Manchester United (Champions League)
10 Feb: Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United (Premier League)
6 Feb: Manchester United 5-0 Portsmouth (Premier League)
31 Jan: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United (Premier League)
20 Feb: West Ham 3-0 Hull City (Premier League)
10 Feb: West Ham 2-0 Birmingham City (Premier League)
6 Feb: Burnley 2-1 West Ham (Premier League)
30 Jan: West Ham 0-0 Blackburn Rovers (Premier League)
26 Jan: Portsmouth 1-1 West Ham (Premier League)
Sir Alex Ferguson is able to welcome back Rio Ferdinand to the squad for Tuesday's encounter against his former club, following the completion of the England star's four-match ban.
Nemanja Vidic is also available following a nerve problem and could start alongside Ferdinand at centre-back, although Nani is unavailable as he continues to serve a three-match suspension.
Ryan Giggs remains on the sidelines with an arm injury while Owen Hargreaves (knee) and John O'Shea (thigh) are also long-term injury casualties.
Possible starting XI: Van der Sar; Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rafael; Park, Carrick, Fletcher, Valencia; Rooney, Berbatov.
South African striker Benni McCarthy is a serious doubt for the Hammers' trip to Old Trafford as he continues to struggle with the knee injury he sustained in the 2-1 defeat to Burnley.
Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer are both likely to miss out with hamstring injuries while full-back Herita Ilunga is struggling with a tendon problem.
Zavon Hines (knee), Luis Boa Morte (knee) and Calum Davenport (leg) are all a while off returning and will definitely not feature at the Theatre of Dreams.
Possible starting XI: Green; Spector, Upson, Tomkins, Faubert; Diamanti, Collison, Parker, Noble, Behrami; Cole.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester United - Dimitar Berbatov
Berbatov has seen himself nudged into the shadows by Wayne Rooney's performances this season, although the Bulgarian's strike against Everton on Saturday was one of the only plus points from what was an ultimately dismal performance.
With Ferguson adamant on sticking to his 4-5-1 system, particularly in Europe, Berbatov may have to start upping his game in the coming weeks if he is to avoid becoming an outcast as the Red Devils push for honours this term.
West Ham - Robert Green
West Ham's demise this season has hardly helped goalkeeper Green put himself in the picture with regards to the England set-up although a decent performance against the champions would surely be noted by Three Lions' boss Fabio Capello.
The 30-year-old shot stopper may be determined to be England's No.1 at the World Cup come the summer, but he will need to be maintain a period of consistency at club level too if the Hammers are to remain in the Premier League next season.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side should bounce back against a West Ham side with a woeful away record to avoid the collector's item of two straight defeats.
Manchester United 3-0 West Ham