West Ham welcome Manchester United to the London Stadium this lunchtime, where they will be hoping to record a victory and carry on building momentum.
After a less than impressive start to the Premier League campaign, the Hammers fortunes have changed dramatically since the International break. Manuel Pellegrini’s side have beaten Everton, shut out a so far very impressive Chelsea outfit, and put eight past Macclesfield in the Carabao Cup. They will be coming into this one full of confidence and hungry for yet another positive result.
West Ham team news
The West Ham boss confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Marko Arnautović is fit to feature against United – which will come as a huge boost for the team and fans alike. The forward will more than likely take the place of Michail Antonio, who did a good job of filling the void left in the Austrian’s absence.
Elsewhere, Grady Diangana may be handed a spot on the bench for the Red Devils’ visit, having impressed on his first-team debut against Macclesfield in midweek.
Pellegrini is expected to name a similar line-up to the one that drew with Chelsea last Sunday, with Fabían Balbuena, Arthur Masuaku, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson all likely to start. The experience of Pablo Zabaleta should see him return for United’s visit, however, Ryan Fredericks’ performance against the Silkmen may have given the Chilean manager food for thought.
After suffering from what is believed to be a potentially bad knee injury on Wednesday, Carlos Sánchez joins the list of absentees. Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere all remain on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Chicharito is recovering well from glandular fever, but it is unknown as to when he will make his return to first-team action.
What has the manager had to say?
The Hammers boss talked about the improvement in performances in the last couple of weeks in his press conference but he is now looking for his side to go and get their first home win, as he said:
“We are feeling confident as we prepare to face Manchester United at London Stadium on Saturday. This is the cause, of course, because our mood is always linked with our results but, I think, in our worst moment when we lost our opening four Premier League matches, I always saw the players working hard and believing in what we are doing.
“We improved our results and now we need to win our first game at home in the Premier League on Saturday.”
The Chilean also spoke about the improvements the side have been making defensively and had praised centre-back duo, Issa Diop and Fabían Balbuena:
“I am happy with Issa Diop, but his performances have not come as a surprise to me because I knew him and that’s why he came here. He was also the captain of Toulouse before so he was a very mature player at a very young age. From the beginning, I spoke with him and he played some games, but he needed to know a little bit more about the Premier League.
“I was absolutely sure he was going to be a successful player here and the same goes for Fabian Balbuena as he played for the most important team in Brazil, Corinthians.”
Manchester United team news
It has been a turbulent week at Old Trafford, with United being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Derby County and the relationship between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba seemingly growing more fractious. The Red Devils will be looking to get out on the pitch and make sure that all the post-match talking is about their performance, instead of the unwanted background noise.
The United boss confirmed on Friday that Paul Pogba will be in his starting line-up at the London Stadium, but that nobody is bigger than the club. Will it have an impact on the Frenchman’s performance? We shall see.
The only players unavailable for Mourinho’s side is the injured Marcos Rojo and the suspended Sergio Romero, which means Lee Grant will take his place on the United bench. Marcus Rashford returns following a ban and will be in contention for a starting berth against the Hammers.
United’s key man
Although the Red Devils have a number of talented individuals, Romelu Lukaku has been a huge thorn in the West Ham side in recent years. The Belgian has an unbelievable record when facing the East Londoners, scoring 12 goals and registering three assists in his last 11 matches against them.
The United striker has the potential to demolish the Hammers if he is fit and firing on his day. As well as being a big presence, Lukaku likes to either come short and link up play or play on the last man and use his pace to get in behind. There is no doubt that the West Ham defence will have to stick tight to the striker, as they look to stop him imposing himself on the game. Declan Rice could have an important role in front of the defence, as he will be looking to halt the service into the United number nine.
You can read about the recent meetings between the two sides here.