midfielder Tom Cleverley slots in past Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the English Premier League, December 15. Reuters
Avoid losing three English Premier League games at Old Trafford on the bounce at all costs -- will be the target for Manchester United when they host West Ham on Saturday.
The last two EPL games in the fortress-that-was-a-while-back have not gone according to plan at all, with Everton and Newcastle coming away with 1-0 victories against a then seriously blunt United attack.
However, matters have changed for the better in the last couple of weeks, with United currently on a three-game winning run in all competitions, after victories in the Champions League, Premier League and the Capital One Cup, and David Moyes is keen to bring back the fear factor to Old Trafford.
"I have never found Old Trafford nervy, I have not found it that way at all. In fact I have found it the opposite, I think it's a brilliant place to be," Moyes said.
"I have found that the support from the crowd is fantastic, and they are right behind the team. Obviously we have got to win and score a few more goals, so we will try and do the best we can."
United have scored six goals without conceding in their last three games, with Moyes finally showing glimpses that he just might be finding his feet at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Win at Old Trafford against West Ham and United will cut the gap to leaders Arsenal to seven points - it could also be eight points adrift at the top depending on how Liverpool go in the early game against Cardiff.
As far as Moyes is concerned, the target is pretty simple - score goals and the reigning EPL champions will be fine.
"We want goals to come from everybody," Moyes added. "We keep telling them that we need as many goals as we can from all different areas. Hopefully you get the majority from your strikers throughout the season but it was good the other night that Ashley got himself a goal and Pat scored himself a really nice goal as well."
West Ham will be buoyed by a 2-1 victory at Tottenham in the League Cup in midweek with Sam Allardyce hoping his side can take the confidence from that win and convert it into three points - a three points that the Hammers desperately need, with the side currently just a point adrift of the relegation zone.
"Players play to win and when they win they feel so much better, life is so much better for them," the ever-philosophical Sam Allardyce said. "We've not won as many games as we should have done in the Premier League and that's left everybody a little down.
"When you win such a game [the Spurs victory] as at your local rivals, who are such a big club these days, then it does lift everybody but you must use and take that into the next game and make sure you deliver the same performance again. Whether it gets the result at Old Trafford or not, who knows? Manchester United we all know, if they're on song, on top of their form on that particular day it could be very difficult for us.
"We have to go and deliver that type of performance and resilience again and if we can be as clinical in front of goal as we were on Wednesday night, even though the opposition territorially and possession wise were far better than we were. We had more shots on target than they did and shots on target ultimately lead to goals."
Team news: Manchester United: Michael Carrick and Robin Van Persie remain ruled out and Moyes might also have to do without Wayne Rooney, who missed the 2-0 League Cup win over Stoke with a groin strain. The United manager, though, is hopeful Rooney will be passed fit for Saturday, but Nani will definitely miss out with a hamstring injury, with Marouane Fellaini facing a late test on a back problem.
"Wayne has got a chance," Moyes said on Friday. "So we will see how he is tomorrow. Nani has got a hamstring injury and we were worried about that. It's worse than we hoped so that might well keep him out for a few weeks."
West Ham: Allardyce has a long injury lineup with Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll, Mladen Petric Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te all sidelined, while James Tomkins remains a big doubt.
Key men: Manchester United: Danny Welbeck banged in a couple of nice goals in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend and the home side will want him to continue showing his goalscoring prowess against West Ham.
West Ham: Modibo Maiga, who has missed quite a few sitters this season, finally found the back of the net for the Hammers against Spurs and Allardyce is hopeful the striker can kick on and get more goals for the Londoners. "Goals come in a flurry sometime for forwards and hopefully the next chance that comes his way he'll be as good as was on Wednesday night," Allardyce said.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for an 8.30 pm IST start with live coverage on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD2. To watch the match via live streaming in India click HERE. The match can be watched through live streaming in Australia HERE with the same going for Middle East and North Africa viewers HERE. To watch live stream the match in the U.S. click HERE
Expected lineups: Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Cleverley, Jones; Valencia, Rooney, Young; Welbeck.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen; O'Brien, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Noble, Collison; Taylor, Diame, Jarvis; Maiga.
Prediction: 2-0 to Manchester United
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