Friday, October 20, 2017

Prediction: Manchester United vs West Ham United

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 3/10

Bookmaker: Bet 365

It’s the return of the Premier League this weekend, and after months of pain, we are treated to a great opening round of fixtures. We take a look at the game between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford.

Manchester United

Last season was somewhat saved for Manchester United when they qualified for the Champions League by winning the Europa League, but there will be higher expectations this time around with the club spending over £100 million on transfer fees already. Manager Jose Mourinho has strengthened his squad by bringing in defender Victor Lindelof, striker Romelu Lukaku and, perhaps more surprisingly, Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic. Red Devils fans will be optimistic for an assault on the Premier League title and it could turn into reality, providing they manage to transfer some of their home draws into wins. Old Trafford saw 10 draws last season and surely United will be wary when coming up against West Ham on Sunday. Mourinho’s team was outclassed by Real Madrid mid-week but there were signs the team were starting to gel together and perhaps one more world-class signing will make them a force to be reckoned with again. With none of the top-six to face until September, Manchester United have a great chance to set the early pace and put the pressure on their title rivals.

Team News

Lukaku and Matic look set to get their Premier League debuts.

However, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young are all long-term absentees.

West Ham United

It’s been a relatively busy summer for Hammers boss Slaven Bilic after signing former United striker Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic, Pablo Zabeleta and Sead Haksabanovic. They have focused on strengthening each area of their team and will be looking to improve on their position of eleventh place last campaign. However, their pre-season results may leave a few West Ham fans slightly concerned. Eight goals conceded in their last three games to Werder Bremen, Altona 93 and Manchester City mean there is still work to be done defensively, which will need to be rectified before they face the Red Devils on Sunday. Not only this, but the Hammers conceded 33 goals on the road last year and facing Moruinho’s new-look team may have come slightly too early in the season. Last campaign was full of too many inconsistences and Bilic will know he needs to start picking up points fast if he wants to prevent the exit rumours circulating once more. West Ham may struggle on Sunday but Hernandez will have a point to prove against his former club.

Team News

Hernandez looks set to start United.

Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini, Cheikhou Kouyate, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll are all injured.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Three of the last five Premier League matches between these sides have ended in a draw
  • Manchester United are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League home games against West Ham
  • No team has won more opening day fixtures than United (16, level with Chelsea)
  • West Ham have lost more opening day fixtures than any other team (10)
  • Mourinho have never lost a home match on a Sunday in all competitions in his career, winning 86 and drawing 26 of 112 games

Conclusion

Manchester United will be determined to start winning games more often at Old Trafford and should get off with a victory on Sunday. The Hammers don’t seem to have sorted out their leaky defence and it could turn embarrassing for Bilic’s men.

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 3/10

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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