Predicted Manchester United XI vs West Ham
Whenever you feel that Manchester United have taken a step forward, try to keep those feelings to yourself. Because whenever the Red Devils do take a step forward, they go two steps backwards, somehow. They’ll beat 3-4 teams consecutively but will end up messing a must win game at Old Trafford, making the task of making it to the next round of the Champions League tough. But before they do that, Louis van Gaal’s men, who have been slaughtered by the fans and the media for playing unattractive football, that yields a limited amount of opportunities.
West Ham have overcome the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City already, but their latest game against a top six opposition was a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Spurs, in a game where they were completely outplayed in Dimitri Payet’s absence. And that was away from home, much like the clash on Saturday at the Theatre of Dreams. And here’s how Manchester United may line up against Slaven Bilic’s struggling Hammers.
GK: David de Gea
Someone who saves United in almost every single game, talk of their games against Watford or Crystal Palace, he does win games for United. And is very crucial for this side, if the defense breaks down, which it rarely does. And Louis van Gaal won’t rest him, considering Sergio Romero has been struggling ever since signing.
RB: Matteo Darmian
The Italian has witnessed a slight dip in form after hitting top gear early on and needs some game time under his belt to reach that level again. After Antonio Valencia’s injury, Ashley Young took his place at right back and the former Torino man made appearances from the bench due to it. And this could be the beginning of him getting back in shape again.
CB: Chris Smalling
The Englishman is a vital cog in the wheel at United right now, being the best defender in the league right now. His contributions have been used as a foundation by the United side to do well and without him, United will look shaky at the back.
CB: Phil Jones
If fit for the game, the youngster is likely to feature with Marcos Rojo out due to a reported dislocated shoulder. Daley Blind will play at left-back in that case, allowing Blind to slot in alongside Smalling keeping Paddy McNair on the bench.
LB: Daley Blind
The Dutchman happens to be United’s only choice at left back, with both Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo facing a lengthy period out. Cameron Borthwick Jackson isn’t good enough for starting yet and the intelligent Dutch skipper is likely to start.
CDM: Morgan Schneiderlin
United would need someone more dynamism than Carrick against a pacy West Ham side and Schneiderlin provides just that. He can intercept and win balls back, pass it short or long and conduct play will some real swagger.
CDM: Bastian Schweinsteiger
The experienced German midfielder got his first United goal against Leicester last week and looked in good nick too. He was winning his headers and passing it well, but sometimes lost it cheaply too. With Ander Herrera out, the 31-year-old is expected to feature.
RM: Juan Mata
The United player who can create things in a blink of an eye, even if you under-estimate him, Mata can pull the strings from his area to very good effect. And he’s played there throughout this season and will do the same against the Hammers too.
CAM: Wayne Rooney
With Ander Herrera currently injured, Rooney has to start in his best position. The position is which he has been the most impressive this season, linking up play very well and spraying passes out wide to very good effect. And the 30-year-old will play, no matter what.
LM: Jesse Lingard
The emergence of the youngster has taken place when United needed someone with pace the most. Memphis has been a bit of a disappointment, but it’s Lingard who has stolen the show recently. And irrespective of position, the starlet will start somewhere.
ST: Anthony Martial
A bright spot in what has been a disappointing season, when it comes to getting goals, Martial has often carried the load of the whole United attack, despite of being just 19. And he’s performed that job very well too. His pace has provided United with a much-needed impetus in the attack and his composure and impressive finishing attributes have rightly drawn the comparison of him with Thierry Henry.