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WEST HAM VS MANCHESTER UNITED MATCH PREVIEW

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West Ham vs Manchester United — Premier League 2019/20

Venue : London Stadium

Date : Sunday, 22 September 2019

Kick-off : 14:00 PM BST

Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham will brace themselves yet for a solid test of their season aspirations come Sunday at the London Stadium as Manchester United come to town, with both teams tied on eight points.

Having watched as his second string XI beat Astana by a solitary goal courtesy of a late effort from teenage attacker Mason Greenwood to kick start their Europa League campaign last week Thursday, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will have the luxury of welcoming back most of his regular faces for an away clash which has increasingly looked arduous for the Red Devils to navigate.

The visitors have failed to record any victory in their last six topflight games on the road (D3, L3) and squaring up against a Hammers outfit who are currently enjoying somewhat of a purple patch on their own turf — only twice had visiting teams (to Manchester City and Everton) got the better of them here since losing to Watford in December 2018; surely makes for one of the most interesting EPL Sunday fixtures, right?

What can we expect?

West Ham could term themselves lucky to escape Villa Park with a point last timeout, particularly after Arthur Masuaku saw red for two bookable offences, thus becoming the first Hammers player to be sent off in the Premier League since Noble against Leicester City in October 2018.

Pellegrini has largely stuck with the same shape and defensive back line which has noticeably tightened up since shipping five goals against Manchester City in their first league game of the new season, letting in just two goals

in five games and none in the most recent three.

However, the absence of Masuaku here would most definitely push him into tinkering with his choice XI, and it could yet be Pablo Zabaleta who tucks in to go with the trio of Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna and Ryan Fredericks in a defence which would square up against a goal-shy Red Devils attack.

Their visitors have actually managed to find the net more than once in only three of their last 18 matches in all competitions, scoring just four times in six league games on the road since March.

As expected, the hosts favoured 4-2-3-1 formation will be tailored to curtail their opponent’s fast approach in transitioning from defence to attack, with the two defensive midfield pivot Declan Rice and Mark Noble helping out the full backs when ever either of Daniel James and Marcus Rashford are on the break — it must be said that those latter two are most likely to cause their opposition a lot of problems on their day, with their pace, finesse and direct running.

Head-to-Head

These two teams have met a marquee 126 times in the

Premier League with United winning on 59 occasions, including four of the last six.

With 28 draws played out between them, West Ham have a lesser 39 victories to their name though it was the hosts that ran out comfortable winners the last time the two sides met here, with a Victor Lindelof’s own goal sandwiched between strikes from Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic ensuring Rashford’s effort was scant consolation.

TEAM NEWS

West Ham

Michail Antonio and Winston Reid are both long-term injury absentees, while as it has been already said, Masuaku will serve a one-match ban for his sending off versus Aston Villa, and is thus not available for selection.

Out of favour full-back Aaron Cresswell last featured for the Hammers in the first game of the season and alongside Jack Wilshere have seen first-team opportunities difficult to come by this season and the duo could settle for places on the bench.

Man United

United have a number of key injury worries with the unavailability of Paul Pogba (ankle), Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw (both hamstring) who are all ruled out of the trip to East London leaving Solksjaer desperately shorthanded.

Defenders Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu Mensah (both knee) still remain sidelined for the foreseeable future and are not in contention for this one.

These circumstances could hand Greenwood who starred over their European Kazakhstan opponents a chance to stake more claim in the first team for Solksjaer, particularly with his well taken goal to hand his team victory last time out.

Player form

Sebastien Haller definitely should be getting a look-in here, after scoring three goals in his first four games since swapping the German Bundesliga for the English topflight. The 25-year-old clearly proved to be a handful against Watford who he scored twice against and watching him dovetail with Anderson makes for some scintillating combination upfront for West Ham. Though the Brazilian is yet to open his goal account for the season but what better way to do so,.should he pop up with a decisive moment here?

Throw in the fact that Andriy Yarmolenko who forced an own goal from Lindelof the last time West Ham beat United have already hit the ground running with a goal and then the favourites could be in for a really tricky afternoon here.

The goalscoring exploits for the Red Devils would expectedly fall on James and Rashford, both of who have scored thrice apiece. James particularly have looked sharp when running at opposing defenders and his clinical edge at hitting the target with his shots — six of his 13 shots in the Premier League has found the target, so one will fancy his chances of getting a goal here.

Betting odds:

Sebastien Haller to score anytime @15/8

Felipe Anderson to score anytime @13/5

Andriy Yarmolenko to score anytime @3/1

Marcus Rashford to score anytime @7/4

Daniel James to score anytime @14/5

Team form

Since the opening day loss Manchester City, West Ham have noticeably improved in all facets, picking up important victories against Norwich and Watford to sit eighth, with their points haul (eight) only bettered by the two topmost teams in the division.

They have also kept a clean sheet in each of their last two league games and will surely want to continue such compactness at the rear when they entertain their visitors.

Manchester United on their part, have flattered to deceive. After scoring four unreplied goals against Chelsea in their first game of the season, the Red Devils were expected to easily blow opponents away but that has not been the case for much of it. The visitors have not scored more than once (in nearly half a dozen games) and the 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace and draws to Wolves and Southampton laid bare the lingering deficiencies they harbour in killing off games and further exacerbated the situation they find themselves in after that dazzling start.

Betting odds

Over 1.5 goals @2/9

Under 1.5 goals @7/2

Over 2.5 goals @8/11

Under 2.5 goals @5/4

Predictions

This is a close one to call but with Manchester United having picked up two consecutive wins in a row for the first time this season, will be eager to get all three points here and assert their ambitions for the new campaign. If they string together enough of creativity and directness in the final third, they surely do have what it takes to if they yet manage to strike first.

West Ham themselves lie down for no one, and will look to create an upset at the very least in what promises to be a thrilling affair.

We will however, not be bowled over at the mouthwatering odds on a West Ham victory but punters can take the safest option of a United win or draw.

Betting odds

West Ham to win @13/4

Draw @27/10

Manchester United to win @5/4

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