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Premier League preview: West Ham - Manchester United

Red Devils look to extend lead at the top of the table against a home side hoping to continue their rich vein of form and move a step closer to safety

By Andrew Kennedy

Sir Alex Ferguson and Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United(Getty Images)


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PROBABLE LINE-UPS
West Ham United: Green; Jacobsen, Upson, Da Costa, Bridge; Noble, Parker, Hitzlsperger, O’Neil; Cole, Ba.

Manchester United: Van der Sar; Brown, Smalling, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Giggs, Carrick, Valencia; Rooney, Berbatov.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester United have gone over 450 minutes since last conceding against West Ham in the Premier League, winning all five clashes in the process.
  • Yet in their most recent meeting, the East London club ran out comfortable 4-0 winners at Upton Park, in November’s League Cup quarter-final.
  • In August’s reverse fixture at Old Trafford, United eased to a 3-0 victory, with Rooney’s opening penalty one of five goals the striker has scored in eight games against West Ham.
  • The England international is currently two goals short of 100 for United, while Mexican Javier Hernandez has also been in fine form so far this season, scoring 10 goals from just 39 attempts.
  • West Ham have lost just one game in their last seven, a 1-0 home defeat to Birmingham City, an improvement in form which has seen them climb out of the relegation zone in recent weeks.
  • Current Premier League leaders United have only won four of their last 15 Premier League away fixtures.
  • Carlton Cole could make his 250th appearance if he starts against Manchester United, while defeat will bring the Hammers' 250th loss in the league.
  • Despite their poor away form, Manchester United have only lost three times this season, compared to West Ham’s 12 defeats and 11 draws.
  • Manchester United look set to welcome back captain Nemanja Vidic to the centre of defence, a timely return with Rio Ferdinand, Rafael da Silva, John O’Shea injured along with long-term absentee Owen Hargreaves, while Paul Scholes and Jonny Evans miss out through suspension. 
  • Frederic Piquionne leads the goal scoring charts at Upton Park this season, having scored six goals so far this campaign, with Carlton Cole close behind on five strikes.
LAST MEETING


August 28th 2010, Manchester United 3-0 West Ham

A first-half Wayne Rooney penalty set the tone for this encounter, as second half goals from Nani five minutes after the break and Dimitar Berbatov twenty minutes from time, condemned a dismal West Ham to their third defeat in the opening month of the Premier League season.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
England - Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ Mar 22, 2014 West Ham 0 - Man Utd. 2
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England - Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ Dec 21, 2013 Man Utd. 3 - West Ham 1
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England - Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ Apr 17, 2013 West Ham 2 - Man Utd. 2
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England - FA Cup ‎(FA)‎ Jan 16, 2013 Man Utd. 1 - West Ham 0
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England - FA Cup ‎(FA)‎ Jan 5, 2013 West Ham 2 - Man Utd. 2
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Robert GreenGoalkeeper
2Lars JacobsenDefender
22Manuel Da Costa TrindadeDefender
20Matthew UpsonDefender
3Wayne BridgeDefender
26Gary O'NeilMidfielder
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
16Mark NobleMidfielder
10Thomas HitzlspergerMidfielder
9Carlton ColeStriker
19Demba BaStriker
-Ruud BoffinGoalkeeper
2Winston ReidDefender
5James TomkinsDefender
23Jonathan SpectorMidfielder
9Frédéric PiquionneStriker
33Victor Nsofor ObinnaStriker
7Robbie KeaneStriker
29Tomasz KuszczakGoalkeeper
35Fabio Da SilvaDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
15Nemanja VidicDefender
3Patrice EvraDefender
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
4Darron Gibson Midfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
11Ryan GiggsMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
40Ben AmosGoalkeeper
45Oliver GillDefender
8AndersonMidfielder
17NaniMidfielder
10Michael OwenStriker
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
14Javier 'Chicharito' HernandezStriker
Players to Watch
Thomas Hitzlsperger
Thomas Hitzlsperger
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The German midfielder has made a big impact on his return to first team action, with an end to his injury woes bringing an improvement in form to the Hammers, who have lost only once in seven games.

The former Aston Villa man's belated debut came in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth round victory against Burnley, a game in which he scored his first goal for his new club, while he opened his Premier League account in March’s 3-0 victory over Stoke City at Upton Park.

Expect the 28-year-old to cause problems for a weakened Manchester United midfield, with his shots from range a constant threat, while his industrious performances have lessened the burden on fellow midfield man Scott Parker.
Nani
Nani
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 17
Games Goals YC RC
10 0 0 0
The 24-year-old winger has been in fine form this season, having scored nine goals along with laying on 15 assists so far, a feat which has already surpassed the total number of goals he had scored in his each of his last three seasons at Old Trafford.

Despite the Portuguese international sustaining a flesh wound at the hands of Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher in last month’s 3-1 away defeat, he quickly returned to a less than convincing United side that remains top of the league and is through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

With Wayne Rooney still yet to fully kick start this season, and Ferguson still undecided as to whether he prefers Chicharito or Dimitar Berbatov as his foil, Nani has provided the creativity that United have at times been lacking, and could shine in a tight contest at Upton Park.
Prediction
This could be a tight affair at Upton Park with both sides having inflicted defeat upon each other already this season.

Manchester United have looked suspect defensively at times since the turn of the year, and with West Ham’s January additions Demba Ba and Wayne Bridge beginning to come to life, this could be a close encounter in which I expect both sides to score, with the points shared at Upton Park.

Editor's Prediction
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man Utd.
15 2