Manchester United travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United that will be played in front of 2,000 supporters, who have not been inside the ground since March. It will be an intriguing contest as both sides are separated by one point and four places in the Premier League.
It has been nine months that football clubs have been waiting to welcome back its supporters and Saturday’s fixture marks a milestone in the journey of returning back to some kind of normality. However, some areas of England remain in the toughest restrictions and so not every Premier League ground will see the return of fans for a while yet.
This match is all the more fascinating given the recent run of league form for both sides, which is identical having drawn, lost and had three wins in a row. United are on a great run of form away from home since the first lockdown having won eight games in succession.
The latest in the away victories came last Sunday at Southampton where we had dramatically come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 thanks to goals from Fernandes and Cavani. Though the league season has had many ups and downs so far, we are only five points off the top of the table and still have a game in hand. A win against the Hammers would see us go into the top four for the first time this season.
If United were to gain the victory, it would be the first time since the 1985/86 season that we have won the first five away games in the league. 12 of those points away from home came from a losing position. If we did concede the first goal at West Ham there would be no panic from us.
United come into this weekend’s fixture having lost on Wednesday night 3-1 against PSG in the UEFA Champions League. We head into the last group stage match needing only a point against RB Leipzig. We will be looking to bounce back and pick up all three points on Saturday evening.
Former United manager David Moyes had led West Ham to three successive victories and only one defeat during the last eight games. They have taken points off current leaders of the league, Tottenham as well as Manchester City, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
West Ham has also scored the opening goal in the last five league games and they will be looking to cause United problems from the offset. A victory for the Hammers would see them rise to third in the table. They will have confidence playing at home having not lost the last six games in all competitions at the London Stadium. The most recent victory came on Monday when they beat Aston Villa 2-1.
West Ham United vs Manchester United Match Details
Teams: West Ham vs Manchester United
Date: December 5th, 2020 (Saturday)
KO Time: 17:30 BST
Competition: Premier League
Stadium: The London Stadium
Referee: Andre Marriner
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and David Moyes
Manchester United Team News
Fred’s red card against PSG means it only counts in Europe and not the Premier League. Axel Tuanzebe will be available again for selection having served his suspension in the Champions League after picking up three yellow cards.
There is a doubt over Marcus Rashford after he came off Wednesday with a shoulder niggle. Ole said after the PSG game that he hopes he will be available against the Hammers but unsure over the extent of the issue. David De Gea had shown some discomfort during the PSG game having picked a knock against Southampton. So there remains a question mark over his availability with Dean Henderson ready to step in.
Saturday’s game will come just too soon for Luke Shaw as he nears his return from a hamstring injury. Other than that, United has a near fit squad to choose from as Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial had all made the matchday squad midweek.
Pre-Match Press Conference
During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked about our struggles with consistency as we will have great results in Europe but not in the Premier League. He said, “It depends on how many games you want to go back. Football is a game with human beings and they live their own lives. We’ve played against some fantastic teams. Go 30 games back, or 40 games back, and I think we’re one of the most consistent teams, performance-wise, in the Premier League. Of course, you’re disappointed when you lose a game. I thought we played really well on Wednesday. It’s fine margins at times that can decide a game, if you win or you lose.“
Ole was asked how much of an achievement would be getting into the top four if we were to secure victory against West Ham. He said, “Of course, it would be good for all sorts of reasons. We know that we’ve got a game less, of course. But we’ll get that back at some stage as well. With the pre-season being short as it was, to be able to move closer to the top would be a great achievement at this point. But, it’s a long season. Of course, we’ve shown some great consistency away from home this season. Hopefully, we can continue that.“
West Ham United Team News
For our opponents, David Moyes will have close to a fully fit squad to pick from. The only doubt for the Hammers is Andriy Yarmolenko, who had tested positive for coronavirus last month. Moyes will have to decide who will lead the line as Michail Antonio who returned against Aston Villa did not look quite fit enough and was replaced at half time. This may result in Sebastien Haller being given the nod to be in the starting eleven.
Manchester United Premier League form: WDLWWW
Manchester United form (all competitions): LWWWWL
West Ham United Premier League form: DDLWWW
- United have won more points from losing positions than any other Premier League side this season.
- Bruno Fernandes could equal Denis Law’s record of scoring in six consecutive away games since 1964.
- Since Bruno Fernandes’ Premier League debut, the Red Devils have earned a league-high 2.09 points per game. (source: BBC Sport)
- West Ham have won their last two home games against United. Manchester United have not beaten West Ham away from home since 2017.
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Van De Beek, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial, and Cavani
United will look to maintain their winning away run that we are currently on. If we do get the win, then it will be the ninth victory away from home, and will head into the top four of the table. We will have to be wary of West Ham especially from their set pieces. This is something our defence has not quite been able to combat so far season as we have conceded a few goals from set pieces. On Wednesday evening, we were getting our chances but just not taking them. Against the Hammers, we will have to take these opportunities and punish the opposition.
West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United