Premier League 17/18: West Ham United vs Manchester United – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
David Moyes welcomes his old club to the London Stadium as the Red Devils look to seal second position.
19:45 BST, Thursday 10th May, London stadium (London, England) Sky Sports
David Moyes’ future continues to hog the headlines for the Hammers, something not helped by his side only managing to record two wins from their previous 13 league games.
Their last match did bring victory, however, providing them with enough points to make themselves safe for another season.
Having lost each of his (4) encounters against United by at least a two-goal margin since they parted ways, a victory here would also be the first time Moyes has guided a club to successive wins since November 2016.
A West Ham win would cause back-to-back defeats for the Red Devils for the first time since this time last year, a reality made more plausible given their lacklustre performances of late which have returned two losses from their last four league fixtures.
José Mourinho will demand his players show a marked improvement in their approach and execution of this game but will also have players not wanting to risk injury prior to the club’s FA Cup final and many respective World Cup campaigns this summer.
Last Time Out
Leicester City 0-2 West Ham United (Premier League)
The Hammers struck another blow to the Foxes as they reached 38 points and safety with their third away win of the season.
It was to be their most convincing win on the road too, controlling the game from the first moment to the last.
João Mário opened the scoring after little more than half an hour, just reward for his strongest performance to date while wearing a claret-coloured shirt.
The lead was doubled after the break by a rasping shot from well outside the area, Mark Noble sending the ball fully 30 yards before it beat Ben Hamer and came to rest in the net.
While the Hammers greatly benefited from a captains performance from Noble, it was their collective efforts which won them this game.
The unity shown between the West Ham players meant their individual efforts all added up in the right direction and they proved far too much for a Leicester side lacking exactly this quality.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Manchester United (Premier League)
José Mourinho was left furious by his players application as Manchester United slid to defeat in a game tinged with an end-of-season feeling.
The Friday night game had started promisingly enough, although Marouane Fellaini’s second-minute goal was rightly disallowed for offside.
Rather than provide a jump-off point for the Red Devils, they seemed to become over-confident and it was Brighton who became catalysed by the early action.
David de Gea became United’s hero for much of the first half after that, notably keeping Glenn Murray off the scoresheet with a reaction save that has become his trademark.
There was little he could do about Pascal Groß’s goal in the 57th minute but this did at least spark some life into the visitors.
With most of Manchester United’s shot’s lacking in accuracy, the two which did find their way on target were unable to beat another keeper in good form this season, Matt Ryan.
As the clock ticked down, United failed to build up any significant pressure on the Brighton goal and the Seagulls proved too stubborn to let go of their lead.
West Ham United Lineup
Joe Hart (illness) and Marko Arnautovic (knock) have both missed training sessions this seek but are expected to be fit and ready for this match.
However, Winston Reid (knee), Sam Byram (ankle), James Collins (hamstring), Pedro Obiang (knee) and Michail Antonio (hamstring) all look set to miss out again as they recover from their respective ailments.
Manchester United Lineup
While Romelu Lukaku is reportedly making good progress in his recovery from a foot injury, the striker is not expected to feature just yet for his team.
Sergio Romero (knock) will also miss out while there are doubts over both Phil Jones and Alexis Sánchez who are both suffering knocks but Mourinho is likely to make some changes to his team after their non-showing against Brighton.
Key Battle: Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United) vs Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
In a season pockmarked by injuries, Lanzini has been unable to hit the heights he reached last season.
His dominant performance against Leicester last weekend suggested he’s back to his creative best and was a timely reminder of what he’s capable of following his manager’s criticism after the Manchester City game.
But while he was afforded the time and space to play against Leicester, he’s likely to be more pressured in this game as he looks to carry his form through the end of the season.
Another player who has failed to play to his full potential could well be given a final reprieve in this match.
Martial has been singled out for criticism several times through this campaign and was again too lethargic in his play against Brighton.
While he undoubtedly possesses the talent to be a big star, as his nine goals and six assists in the league suggest, there are still question marks over his attitude.
How he bounces back will be a big reflection of his character and could provide a huge indication as to what the future has in store for him.
The fortunes of West Ham have rapidly deteriorated over the past two seasons.
While the timing can be pinpointed to the loss of Dimitri Payet in January of last year, the club were never just dependent upon that one player. Their move away from the Boleyn ground too played a significant part in their downfall but this also doesn’t fully account for their decline.
However much these two factors have played, neither of them will return to help the Hammers in the future. West Ham now need to look forward and strong leadership is required to paint a new picture of success and glory in East London.
David Moyes remains hopeful of extending his short-term contract of the club while structural changes to the hierarchy are also being proposed behind the scenes. This summer, therefore, will play a pivotal moment in the Hammers future and big decisions need to be made in the coming weeks.
If Moyes can claim a win over his former employers on Thursday, he could provide a strong argument as to why he is the right candidate to lead them through this revolution, despite reports to the contrary.
New year, new problems
The most restrictive aspect of Manchester United’s league campaign last season was a relative inability to score and, more pointedly, an inability to win their fixtures.
Despite setting a new club record of 25 games unbeaten in the top flight, almost half of these results came as draws (W13 D12) which saw them drop too many points to provide any sustained charge up the table.
Going into the penultimate game of this season, Mourinho’s side are the only Premier League side not to have drawn a domestic fixture in 2018. While they have lost four of their 15 league games, they have been picking up points at an improved rate.
The main problem they now face is in losing points to teams they’re expected to win against.
They have lost more points this season to 10th-placed Newcastle United and the teams below them (16 points) than the teams above the Magpies (15). This also includes both of their defeats suffered in the last month against sides who were fighting relegation at the time.
Prediction: West Ham United 1-3 Manchester United
West Ham are now safe in the league thanks to Everton’s late draw against Southampton on Saturday evening.
While Moyes will want to keep building momentum with a team he still hopes to manage next season, Mourinho will demand his players bounce back into form quickly as the FA Cup final looms into view.
With their place in the Wembley starting lineup in jeopardy, Manchester United’s players should react with a performance capable of delivering their manager all three points.