We don’t always get to say this, but Jose Mourinho is entitled to feel hard done-by. The match against Arsenal was yet another occasion when his United team didn’t get what they deserved.
The system and execution were almost perfect against the Gunners, and the game looked destined to end 1-0 until injury time, when Arsenal scored with their only effort on target of the half. Even worse, Giroud’s goal dashed our predicition of a home win.
There was a similar pattern to the draw against Burnley last month, with United doing everything but score the winning goal. Any tipsters watching the Red Devils closely will know that they’ve found the right mix in midfield and are starting to play well.
This will soon translate to results, starting with West Ham. Mourinho may need to organise the schedule carefully, but he seems to have struck gold with Carrick, Pogba and Herrera.
Schneiderlin or out?
The ongoing injury to Fellaini has opened up a spot for Schneiderlin in the squad. For a good couple of years the Frenchman was rated as one of the best holding midfielders in the league, so it’s strange to see him so far out of the picture.
But now, if there’s one more injury, or if Mourinho feels he needs to rest Carrick, Schneiderlin will finally get the chance to prove himself to his new boss.
Back Ibra to Return
Pogba looked imperious, Herrera was stylish and Mata scored the opener, but United’s forwards Rashford and Martial didn’t take their opportunity against Arsenal.
So you can bet that Mourinho will return to his tried and trusted formula, and stick Ibrahimović back up front. Despite his age he’s still the most likely to make a difference and should be fresh after his suspension last week.
Rashford or Martial will have to settle for that left wing role, one of the few positions still to be nailed down by any single player.
There’s only one stat to lead with: West Ham have lost six of their last seven away matches in the League. And in six of those last seven matches they’ve also conceded two or more goals.
In a season that seemed like a bright new dawn for the East London club, the Hammers have been meek at their home ground, but also wretched on the road.
And now their defensive linchpin Winston Reid is out of the frame thanks to his late red on Saturday. It means the ageing Collins or disappointing Nordtveit will step in, which doesn’t bode well.
Ray of Light
If there’s any optimism to take from their loss at White Hart Lane it’s that they were the better team for most of the match. With Ayew back from long-term injury and Lanzini improving there is now loads of creativity in the attack to combine with Payet.
But the drawback is that they don’t have the players to take these chances. Several times in the second half at Spurs the Hammers worked the ball into dangerous areas and could have killed the game off.
But even with Sakho fit there isn’t enough goalscoring ability up front, and let’s not forget that Zaza has yet to score in eight appearances.
Bet on them to Stay up
OK, we know that everyone said West Ham were to too good to go down before they were relegated in 2003, but this time they really are too good.
They’ve had injuries and moving to a strange new stadium was never going to be a walk in the park. But with Ayew, Payet and Lanzini in the side they can open up most teams. Just don’t put money on it happening at Old Trafford.
Manchester United vs West Ham Match Prediction
On paper neither team has been in great form, but there’s a big difference between United struggling to mount a title push and West Ham one place above the relegation zone. With injuries healing things are about to start looking up for both teams.
But for now United look more like a team that actually works. Even with a depleted backline the Red Devils will cope with that weak West ham attack, while the likes of Mata and Pogba are capable of punishing any team at the moment.
We’re tipping United to take this one 2-0.