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League Cup

  • 1 December 2010
  • • 01:15
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 33551

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


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 returned from a virus during the recent victory over Wigan Athletic, while Valon Behrami recovered from a thigh injury in time to play a part as well.

Possible starting XI: Stech; Spector, Gabbidon, Upson, Ilunga; Behrami, Kovac, Parker, 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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