Manchester United will travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United. When the two teams met last season on the same ground, the Hammers got the better of United by 3-1. Manuel Pellegrini would look to do a similar job on United who have looked far from convincing in the new season. West Ham United have had a full week to prepare for this encounter whereas Ole’s men were busy with European games on Thursday.
What to expect from Pellegrini?
The Chilean manager usually lines up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, but off the ball, they will be compact in midfield. It could very much look like a 4-5-1. West Ham have done well against the top six sides this year. The Hammers picked up seven points against the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool while facing them in 2019.
The London team will look to play in a classic counter-attacking style as they will look to frustrate Manchester United by sitting deep and then they will look to break from the flanks utilising the pace of Felipe Anderson. Sebastien Haller will also allow the Hammers to take a more direct route as he can play as a targetman and he can knock down headers for the likes of Lanzini, Anderson and Yarmolenko/Snodgrass.
What will United look to do?
United are at their best when they play on the break, and their problem has been breaking down sides that sit back and defend in numbers. They have pacey forwards and wingers who are explosive on the counter, but they lack the guile and craft to open up defences. Therefore we could be in a situation where both teams might prefer to play on the counter.
However, we are expecting United to enjoy more possession, and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to break down Pellegrini’s men.
Key Men for West Ham
Declan Rice has emerged as a top defensive midfielder, and he will have to do a lot of hard work and mopping up in the middle to help his side in defence. On the attacking front, Haller and Anderson can trouble the United defence.
Key Men for Manchester United
Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and in form Daniel James are all major doubts for this clash. Therefore, Juan Mata could prove to be a crucial player for United in this encounter as he has the vision and guile to open up defences. Defensively, Harry Maguire will need to show more strength in the air to keep Haller from winning the initial headers.
West Ham Win- 12/5
Manchester United Win- 21/20
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