Manchester United v West Ham, Premier League: Preview, Teams, Injury News
By Chandrashekar Srinivasan | November 28, 2012 10:18 PM EST
Premier League leaders Manchester United welcome newly-promoted West Ham United to Old Trafford for a midweek fixture, with the Hammers a surprisingly high eighth place in the league after the opening third of the season.
Sir Alex Ferguson praised Sam Allardyce's on-loan striker Andy Carroll last week and he may regret boosting the Liverpool forward's confidence; Carroll scored in West Ham's 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane in the weekend, to mark his debut goal for the Upton Park outfit.
United lead champions Manchester City by a single point at the top of the standings, with the Red Devils tallying 30 points so far. West Ham have 19, are two ahead of Swansea City (who face West Brom) and just one point behind Tottenham (who play Liverpool) and the Gunners (who travel to Goodison Park).
The last time these sides played in the Premier League was in the 2010/11 season, when United beat West Ham 3-0 at Old Trafford, courtesy goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Nani and Wayne Rooney.
Where to Watch Live (all times GMT)
Kick-off is set for 8 pm. MU TV will have build-up to the match from 7 pm and will provide updates on scores and match events, as well as round-up, till 10 pm. Catch highlights of the match on Match of the Day at 10.45 pm on BBC One and BBC One HD.
United go into this game on the back of a mixed display against relegation-threatened QPR. The Rangers travelled to Old Trafford without a manager on the sidelines - Mark Hughes was replaced with Harry Redknapp but the former Spurs boss only took charge from Tuesday's night draw against Sunderland.
After a poor first half from both sides, Ferguson's side, not for the first time this season, found themselves a goal down. QPR's Jamie Mackie put the visitors in front after the re-start. The 70 year old Scot responded by bringing Brazilian midfielder Anderson and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez on... and the two combined to pull a 3-1 win out of the bag, with Hernandez scoring the third goal.
The win is the second on the trot for Ferguson, following a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road. The good news, though, is that defeat aside, United have not lost a game since the thrilling 5-4 defeat to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, back in October. In the Premier League, worryingly for Allardyce, United have only lost once at home this season (to Spurs) and have won all five other games.
The Hammers, meanwhile, started the season with a fantastic run of results, winning three of the first four games (including a Capital One Cup match against Crewe Alexandra). Since then, though, there have been very few highlights - the 4-1 home defeat of Southampton and the win at St James' Park are really the only big results that come to mind. Allardyce did hold the champions to a goalless draw at home.
Their last game was a disappointing 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane, in which England international Jermain Defoe scored twice. And with another England striker in Wayne Rooney to plan for, Allardyce may have something to worry about.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W L W W
- Last Match: Manchester United 3 - 1 QPR
West Ham United
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L D W D L
- Last Match: Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 1 West Ham
Ferguson could have Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa ready to play, after the summer signing's knee injury. The setback seems to have recovered better than expected, although it is highly unlikely the former Borussia Dortmund star will be used unless absolutely necessary.
Meanwhile, captain Nemanja Vidic and Portuguese winger Nani are both unavailable, with no specific return date set as yet. United may also have to do without Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia, after he suffered a hip injury. The South American faces a late fitness test but fortunately midfield options are fairly numerous for the home side.
Ferguson has confirmed Anderson, who was brilliant against QPR, will start his first league start in three months. However, veteran Paul Scholes will be unavailable, after he collected his fifth yellow card of the season against the Rangers.
The best news, though, may be that the long-running defensive crisis may be over. The club has four centre backs ready to play, in Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all ready to play. Evans scored the equaliser against QPR and earned praise from his manager, so expect him to start this game. Up front, Rooney and ex-Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie pick themselves and young Mexican, Hernandez, is also likely to get a start, following his cameo in the last game.
Probable Line-Up: Lindegaard; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Anderson, Carrick, Cleverly; Hernandez, Rooney, van Persie
West Ham continue to miss midfielders Alou Diarra and Ricardo Vaz Te, with neither expected to return before the end of December, at least. However, former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder Yossi Benayoun has recovered from a knee problem and should start this game. Defender George McCartney faces a late test for an ankle injury, while midfielder Jack Collison is also ruled out.
Probable Line-Up: Jaaskelainen; O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Taylor, O'Neil, Diame, Jarvis; Nolan; Carroll
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