Saturday, April 20, 2019

Prediction: Manchester United vs West Ham

Verdict: Manchester United win and under 3.5 goals 

Best Odds: 7/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides struggling at the end of the season, Manchester United will host West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, coming off the back of a 1-0 loss at home to Barcelona in midweek, Manchester United are showing their first signs of a struggle since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival back in December. Losing four of their last five across all competitions and in a real battle to secure a top four finish, the Red Devils currently sit three points adrift of the lucrative Champions League positions. Also suffering defeats in two of their previous three Premier League encounters, another defeat for United on Saturday would see them lose three consecutive league and cup fixtures for the first time since September 2016. Desperate to refind their form since the permanent arrival of the Norweigan icon, Solskjaer will be calling for his side to improve on their recent defensive issues. Looking for their first clean sheet since the 24 of February, a nine-match run, their just two games away from equaling their longest run without a clean sheet since 2012. While the hosts may have continued to struggle defensively they do have one man who really relishes his matchups against the Hammers. Striker Romelu Lukaku has scored in five successive home appearances against West Ham in the Premier League.

Team News

Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are suspended for Manchester United, while Nemanja Matic is a doubt because of illness.

Ander Herrera, Eric Bailly, Alexis Sanchez and Antonio Valencia remain sidelined by injuries.

West Ham

As for the visitors, while West Ham may have shown some late signs of life at Stamford Bridge on Monday, the Hammers slipped to a 2-0 defeat and continued on what is becoming a very worrying run of form. Slipping out of the top half of the Premier League table and now losing three of their last four top-flight appearances, Manuel Pellegrini has been growing more concerned by his sides’ own defensive issues. Recording just two clean sheets in 2019, they have kept just five Premier League clean sheets this season – only an already relegated Fulham have recorded fewer. While the former Manchester City boss may have seen his side pick up a famous 3-1 win over United when the two sides met back in September, a huge part of West Ham’s struggles this season has come down to their performances away from the London Stadium. Losing six of their last seven Premier League matches on the road and still looking for their first away win since the turn of the New Year, the Hammers have lost their last three matches away from the capital and have failed to find the net in any of those defeats.

Team News

West Ham winger Michail Antonio returns after missing the defeat at Chelsea because of an ankle problem.

Samir Nasri is absent with a calf injury sustained in the warm-up at Stamford Bridge.

Jack Wilshere is fit again after an ankle injury but will play a second game for the under-23s before making a first-team return.

Key Factors to Consider

  • West Ham could claim a league double against Manchester United for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
  • However, United are unbeaten in the last 10 meetings at Old Trafford, winning eight and drawing two.
  • United have lost four of their past five matches in all competitions.
  • They could lose three consecutive league and cup fixtures for the first time since September 2016.
  • Felipe Anderson has eight goals this season but has failed to score in his last 13 Premier League matches.

Conclusion

While Manchester United do currently find themselves in a rut, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side should be confident of getting back to winning ways this weekend. With West Ham so publically struggling away from the London Stadium and losing six of their last seven on the road, we’re backing Saturday’s hosts to come away with the victory.

Verdict: Manchester United win and under 3.5 goals 

Best Odds: 7/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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