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Preview: West Ham United vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups
18/09/2021 14:02:03

Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from Champions League disappointment when they continue their 2021-22 Premier League campaign away to West Ham United on Sunday afternoon (2:00PM, 19 Sept).

The Red Devils suffered a 2-1 loss to Young Boys in their opening group-stage fixture on Tuesday, but West Ham started their Europa League challenge with an impressive 2-0 success away to Dinamo Zagreb.

We say: West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United

This is an incredibly difficult match for Man United, but the absence of Antonio for West Ham is a huge boost for Solskjaer's side. It would not be a surprise to see a home victory or a draw at the London Stadium, but we just have a feeling that the Red Devils will do enough to secure a narrow win in the capital, having had longer to prepare for the contest.

Match preview

Goals from Michail Antonio and Declan Rice saw West Ham record a two-goal victory against Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia on Thursday night, and it was a hugely impressive performance from the Hammers, who have developed into an excellent team under the management of David Moyes.

Last season's sixth-place finish, where they were just two points off the top four, has raised exceptions at the London Stadium, and it has also been an encouraging start to the new Premier League campaign, picking up eight points from their opening four matches to occupy eighth position in the table.

The Hammers started their 2021-22 season with back-to-back wins over Newcastle United and Leicester City - scoring four times in each contest - but they were held at home by Crystal Palace at the end of August before playing out an uneventful goalless draw at Southampton last weekend.

West Ham are now preparing to face Man United twice in quick succession, as they will travel to Old Trafford in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night before taking on Leeds United in the Premier League on September 25.

Moyes's side will then welcome Rapid Vienna to the London Stadium in the Europa League on September 30, and it will be fascinating to see how the manager balances the squad amid a busy schedule.

Man United, meanwhile, will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a shock 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in their Champions League group-stage opener on Tuesday; Cristiano Ronaldo sent his side ahead in the early exchanges, but a red card for Aaron Wan-Bissaka turned the match, and Young Boys scored twice in the second half to deliver comfortably the shock result in the opening set of fixtures.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have plenty of time to recover in Group F, though, and they have made a strong start to the 2021-22 Premier League campaign, picking up 10 points from four matches to sit top of the table, boasting a goal difference of plus eight, scoring 11 times in the process.

Ronaldo netted twice on his second debut for the club in a 4-1 success over Newcastle United at Old Trafford last weekend, while the Red Devils have also beaten Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, in addition to drawing with Southampton, in the early stages of the new season.

Like West Ham, Man United have a busy end to the month, following Wednesday's EFL Cup clash between the two sides with a home match against Aston Villa in the Premier League before ending the month of September at home to Villarreal in the Champions League.

The Red Devils are now unbeaten in their last 28 Premier League away matches, which is the longest run without a loss on the road in English league history, but there is no question that they will have a very tough examination by a talented West Ham side on Sunday afternoon.

Team News

West Ham will be without the services of key attacker Antonio on Sunday through suspension, as the 31-year-old received a red card against Southampton last weekend.

Antonio has scored four times and registered three assists in four league appearances for the Hammers this season so will be a huge miss for the hosts, and his absence could see Jarrod Bowen go down the middle.

It would not be a surprise to see a back three for West Ham, with Kurt Zouma joining Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson in a defensive area, while Tomas Soucek and Rice are certain starters in midfield.

Said Benrahma and Pablo Fornals would then likely support Bowen at centre-forward, with Vladimir Coufal and Aaron Cresswell operating in the wing-back areas for Moyes's side.

As for Man United, Marcus Rashford has returned to training following a shoulder injury, but this match will come too soon for the attacker, while Amad Diallo and Edinson Cavani are still unavailable for selection.

Scott McTominay is back in training following groin surgery, though, and Solskjaer hinted that the Scotland international could have been involved against Newcastle last weekend, so it would not be a surprise to see him named in the starting XI for the Red Devils here.

A midfield two of McTominay and Fred would likely see Paul Pogba move to the left, with Mason Greenwood off the right and Bruno Fernandes playing in the position directly behind Ronaldo.

Wan-Bissaka's form in the early stages of the new season has been questioned, and he is under pressure for a starting role from Diogo Dalot, but the 23-year-old should keep his spot alongside Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw at the back.

West Ham United possible starting lineup:

Fabianski; Dawson, Zouma, Ogbonna; Coufal, Rice, Soucek, Cresswell; Fornals, Bowen, Benrahma

Manchester United possible starting lineup:

De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba; Ronaldo

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