Monday 2 January 2017

Match preview: West Ham v United

United kick off 2017 with a first ever trip to the London Stadium chasing a seventh successive win.

Less than 48 hours after that dramatic win over Middlesbrough on New Year's Eve, the exacting festive schedule hands United a visit to Slaven Bilic's in-form West Ham outfit.

United will be without Ivorian defender Eric Bailly who is leaving immediately to link up with his country at the AFCON. 
Wayne Rooney has missed the last two matches but could return whilst Luke Shaw is doubtful.

Michael Carrick missed the Boro game but is set to feature against the Hammers, who will be without Diafra Sakho, Arthur Masuaku, Alvaro Arbeloa and Gokhan Tore with Mark Noble also an injury doubt.

Jose said:

"Bailly goes to the national team on the 2nd, we asked Ivory Coast if he could go on the 3rd but he cannot play against West Ham, they are controlling everything so I hope that they will be the champion.
"I have three defenders (Smalling, Rojo and Jones) for the next eight matches so it is a shame to be without Bailly but we have no choice because of the Ivory Coast. 
"For us, it is another tough match but I believe in the players, they have a great spirit and we have won many matches in a row, so I hope we can continue against West Ham.
"Wayne has a little chance to play, Carrick has a bigger chance but we'll have to see what happens - I was pleased with Fellaini against Middlesbrough."

This clash at the Hammers' new home is the third time we've played the East London side this season, following a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the league and then a 4-1 United win in the League Cup quarter-finals.

Bilic led his side to creditable seventh-placed finish last term but things have not gone to plan for them since their big money, high profile move to the Olympic Stadium. 

A run of only three wins in their first 16 league games - all by a 1-0 scoreline - had seen them languishing in 16th place, one point outside the bottom three.
They've fared better recently though, with a narrow reverse at champions Leicester on Saturday having ended a run of three successive wins against sides around them that saw them consolidate a comfortable mid-table position.

The returns of Andy Carroll and summer recruit Andre Ayew have co-incided with the upturn in form, so United will face a tricky test of our credentials in this tea-time kick off. 

Form guide: West Ham L D W W W L United W W W W W W 
Match odds: West Ham 19/5 Draw 11/4 United 7/10
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral) 

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