Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10
Buoyed by the 4-0 hammering of Feyenoord in midweek, Manchester United will attempt to get their Premier League campaign back on track as well. To do this, they need to defeat struggling West Ham, who have shown some signs of improvement of late, but remain in a very difficult situation.
Jury is still out on Jose Mourinho and his reign as the Manchester United boss, as many believe he should be doing much better considering the quality he has at his disposal. The reality is that the Red Devils have struggled to keep up with other title contenders in English Premier League, and they are now five points behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. It is clear that Jose Mourinho is still searching for his strongest side, with the biggest problems clearly in the middle of the park. The Portuguese manager had surprisingly overlooked Michael Carrick in the opening exchanges, and it is clear that the Red Devils look much better with the veteran midfielder in the side. Manchester United have now produced three very good performances in a row, defeating Swansea and Feyenoord, while they were quite unfortunate not to beat Arsenal, and Carrick had a big role to play in each of those matches. Everybody at Old Trafford was also delighted to see Wayne Rooney rediscover his form as the England captain scored and assisted in the 4-0 triumph over Feyenoord, and he is now pushing for a starting berth. It remains to be seen whether the players will feel ill-effects of the midweek game when they take on the Hammers, but they definitely look a good bet to record another victory.
Luke Shaw returned into action in midweek and he should keep his place, while Marcus Rashford should come in for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Marouane Fellaini, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling continue to miss out, but Ander Herrera should be recalled to the side.
West Ham’s performances this season are a far cry from last year’s showings that impressed fans and pundits alike, but even though the Hammers now sit just one point above the relegation zone, we feel that they have what it takes to return to the right track. With his side largely underperforming in the opening exchanges, manager Slaven Bilic took a leaf out of Antonio Conte’s book and switched to a 3-4-3 formation, and the change appears to have brought some improvement. Attacking full-backs Michael Antonio and fit-again Aaron Cresswell can now make even greater impact in the final third, whereas star player Dimitri Payet no longer has too many defensive responsibilities, and is able to work his magic in the opposition half. The Hammers were unable to build on successive wins over Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Chelsea, but they came really close to defeating Tottenham Hotspur at the Lane, and they can take a lot of positives from that performance. Considering the situation they are in, West Ham have no choice but to try and win at Old Trafford, and with their opponents in a similar position, a highly entertaining affair is expected on Sunday afternoon.
Slaven Bilic welcomes back playmaker Mark Noble from suspension, but now key defender Winston Reid is banned.
Turkish footballer Gokhan Tore could return into contention after recovering from a thigh problem, but Andy Carroll, Reece Oxford, Sam Byram and Arthur Masuaku are out injured.
Key Factors to Consider
- A total of 12 goals were scored in Man Utd’s last 3 fixtures
- Both sides have shown improvement up front of late
- Both teams scored in five of their last six meetings
- Man Utd are unbeaten in last ten home games vs West Ham (W8 D2)
- The Hammers lost 6 of 8 away fixtures this season (W1 D1)
Both sides are in problems at the moment, but have shown improvement of late, and they will see the clash at Old Trafford as an opportunity to kick-start their season. Given their respective attacking potential, we fully expect to see goals galore on Sunday afternoon.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10