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Manchester United clash with West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday, with the Red Devils looking for their second win at Old Trafford this week, having ran out 3-0 winners against Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday night in the Europa League.
The Hammers also come into the game off the back of a victory in continental competition, defeating Silkeborg 1-0 in the Europa Conference League.
Preview: Man Utd vs. West Ham – prediction, team news, lineups
Cristiano Ronaldo was restored to the squad against Tiraspol after being omitted by Erik ten Hag for the trip to Chelsea, and he rewarded his manager with the third goal, putting it beyond all doubt that the Red Devils would qualify for the Europa League knockout stages.
After some shaky performances earlier this season, namely the 4-0 loss at Brentford and a 6-3 defeat against bitter rivals Manchester City, Man United now look to be putting a run together, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in their last Premier League game at Old Trafford, with Fred and Bruno Fernandes bagging second-half goals.
Then came a difficult trip to Stamford Bridge, where United looked to be heading towards a 1-0 loss when Jorginho converted an 87th-minute penalty, but a last-gasp equaliser from Casemiro ensured that Ten Hag’s men took a point from the tricky away fixture.
Now sixth in the Premier League table, the Red Devils will go into this weekend’s round of fixtures just one point off the top four, having also played one game less than both Tottenham and Newcastle United, who occupy third and fourth respectively.
United are undefeated in front of their own fans since their opening day 2-1 defeat against Brighton, and with the impressive victories against Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham all coming on home soil, they will be confident going into the game, particularly considering West Ham have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since 2007.
The Hammers made a slow start in domestic action this season, losing their opening three games, a run that left them bottom of the Premier League table after a 2-0 home defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Since then, there have been signs of recovery for the Irons, now up to 10th in the league standings after notching four wins, the most recent of which coming in controversial fashion against Bournemouth, with the first goal in a 2-0 victory being checked by VAR amid concern that it hit Thilo Kehrer’s hand before Kurt Zouma scored from close range.
Prior to that, David Moyes’s side were unlucky to fall to a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool in their last away fixture, with Jarrod Bowen having his penalty to level the game up saved by Alisson Becker, meaning the Reds held on to the lead provided to them by Darwin Nunez.
It is in Europe that the Irons have really flourished so far this season, winning all five games in their Europa Conference League group, a run that continued on Thursday night when Manuel Lanzini scored a first-half penalty to send his side into the last 16 of the competition.
Although previous Premier League visits to Old Trafford have largely been unsuccessful, the Hammers were victorious in the EFL Cup last season, with Lanzini again the man on the scoresheet, recording the solitary goal in a 1-0 victory, and so they will know that they are capable of taking something from Sunday’s game.
Manchester United Premier League form:
Manchester United form (all competitions):
West Ham United Premier League form:
West Ham United form (all competitions):
Despite Ronaldo getting on the scoresheet on Thursday night, it is more likely that Marcus Rashford will start up top for United, with the Englishman being Ten Hag’s preferred choice in the Premier League.
Raphael Varane had to be withdrawn early after suffering a hamstring injury in the game against Chelsea, and he will not be back until after the World Cup, but Harry Maguire returned against Tiraspol, and the 29-year-old could be in line to make his first Premier League appearance since September.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial are both nearing returns to full fitness, and they could be a part of the squad on Sunday, although they are both unlikely to start.
For the Hammers, Lucas Paqueta is a doubt with a shoulder injury sustained in the 1-1 draw at Southampton, with Flynn Downes more likely to start in the centre of midfield.
Craig Dawson is nearing a recovery from a dead leg and he is in line to be named in the squad, but Thilo Kehrer may keep his place alongside Kurt Zouma after the pair kept a clean sheet against Bournemouth.
Nayef Aguerd getting 75 minutes of action against Silkeborg was a welcome sight for West Ham fans, his first competitive appearance for the Hammers after suffering an ankle injury against Rangers in a July friendly, but Moyes has indicated that he will not play in the Premier League before the World Cup.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Rashford
West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Downes, Benrahma; Scamacca
We say: Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham’s performances have improved in recent matches, but we think that they will fall to a narrow defeat here. United have recorded impressive wins against Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham at Old Trafford, so they should be good enough to get all three points.
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