And then we meet again! Manchester United have gone to London to play West Ham on Sunday, in the Premier League’s fifth round, but now the League Cup match is on the cards between the same teams, but at the different ground. This time, West Ham will be coming to Old Trafford after just three days, as the Wednesday match will be part of the third round of England’s second cup competition.
On Sunday, it was 2-1 for Manchester United, in a very interesting game. West Ham got the lead, Cristiano Ronaldo equalised just five minutes, before the chaos broke lose in the final minutes. Jesse Lingard scored the winning goal, but it became the winning goal only after David de Gea saved Mark Noble’s penalty deep into the stoppage time. Let’s see what the League Cup clash between the same teams could have in store for us.
It is League Cup and thus, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will definitely change most of the starting XI, in order to rest the team leaders ahead of the Aston Villa clash in the Premier League this coming weekend. Therefore, we will see plenty of different faces in the team. Marcus Rashford will still not be there, due to recovering from shoulder surgery, while Amad Diallo will also be sidelined. Alex Telles is an uncertainty, but Edinson Cavani could be back in the fold. The likes of Tom Heaton, Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata could all start this time. Nemanja Matic’s impactful cameo on Sunday should also warrant him a place in the starting XI, while Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial could lead the attack, too.
As for West Ham, they could also make some changes, in order to freshen up the team, but nothing so radical as Man United. Players like Alphonse Areola, Issa Diop and Andriy Yarmolenko might get into the team, while Nikola Vlasic could show why he was brought from CSKA Moscow. Also, Michail Antonio should return to the team following suspension and he might test our central defenders…
Man United’s form in domestic competitions is pretty good, as three consecutive Premier League wins are behind us, but there was a Champions League to Young Boys sitting in between. The 2-1 win in the league against West Ham should be a good medicine for it, while this League Cup encounter could not only get United into the next round, but also lift some of the players who are not regular starters.
West Ham were defeated for the first time this season on Sunday, as they had two wins and two draws in the league prior to meeting Man United. They also got a comfortable away win against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League. They will want to progress further in League Cup, but even if they do not, they will have Europa League challenges to keep them satisfied.
Considering everything, Man United are favourites to win this one, possibly 2-0. It will be a much different Man United on the pitch, but there will be plenty of players hungry to show what they can do and also, this could be a more open affair than the one in London on Sunday.