Manchester United Preview vs West Ham (A)

Remember when I said our 3 wins in a row looked to be a turning point in our season?

Yeah, forget about that.

Manchester United travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United in Saturday’s early kick off.

The Red Devils come into the game off the back of two disappointing home performances, with a 1-1 draw against Wolves being followed up by a loss on penalties to Derby in the Carabao Cup.

Add the fact that Paul Pogba has apparently been told he will never captain the side again by Jose Mourinho, and the two having a tense staredown in training into the mix, and it looks as if United have the perfect recipe for disaster.

Pogba’s comments after the Wolves game about wanting to attack more after getting the first goal mirror the sentiments of a growing portion of the United support who are becoming tired of Mourinho’s more defensive style of play. As someone who has always handled criticism with class and has never gone off the deep end in his response to such critcism (not even once, you can fact check it), it was inevitable that Mourinho would respond in his typically over-the-top fashion.

With support in the manager seeming to fade among fans and players alike, Mourinho’s ‘third season syndrome’ looks to be getting into full swing. Only time will tell if the Portuguese boss will face the axe if poor performances and results continue, but with the way we operate nowadays, it’ll probably only happen once we can’t qualify for the Champions League 6 months from now. We are the money club, after all.

The Opposition
West Ham come into the game off the back of three unbeaten games in all competitions. After four consecutive losses to start the Premier League season, Manuel Pellegrini’s side seem to have finally found the formula to get results. A 3-1 win against Everton and a goalless draw with Chelsea were followed up by an 8-0 drubbing of Macclesfield in the Carabao Cup.

One to Watch: Felipe Anderson

The Brazilian made the £35m switch from Lazio in the summer, and of all the Hammers’ arrivals, he’s settled into life in the Premier League the quickest.

Even in their poor early season performances, Anderson looked lively and always seemed a threat on the break when the Irons managed to get possession. As the team’s overall form has improved, he now finds himself with more support going forward, and the likely forward three of Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic has the potential to be deadly, especially against United’s lacklustre backline.

Predictions

These two teams have had extremely contrasting weeks. Everything is beginning to run smoothly in the West Ham camp, but for United, it’s exactly the opposite.

The Reds obviously have the ability to beat any opposition on their day, but with top players out of form and not enjoying the style of play, I can’t see United coming away from this game with all three points. I’m going with a 2-2 draw, as both sides have several dangerous options going forward. The hopeful return of Marcus Rashford should give the Reds a boost as well.

Predicted Man United Line-Up: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Fellaini, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Lingard.

Predicted West Ham Line-Up: Fabianski; Zabaleta; Diop, Balbeuna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Yarmolenko, Anderson, Antonio; Arnautovic.

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