Manchester United and West Ham United battled to a 2-2 draw during the first game at Upton Park. Both sides will make changes which create some interesting key battles around the pitch.
Nemanja Vidic v Carlton Cole
Vidic was subbed off for United with just over ten minutes of the win against Liverpool remaining. There were fears he’d picked up another knee problem but team news indicates he’ll play and he’s one of the only United defenders physically capable of containing Carlton Cole.
Alexander Buttner v Matt Jarvis
Jarvis can play on either side of the West Ham team and Sam Allardyce could start him on the side of inexperienced left back Alexander Buttner. Buttner is quick but looks a little raw and quick to jump into decisions which means he could leave some space for Jarvis to exploit.
Paul Scholes v Mohamed Diame
Scholes was left out of the squad to play Liverpool last weekend entirely. He should take his place in the midfield and he’ll face a direct battle with Mohamed Diame who may be using the match as a shopping window for himself. Both players are key driving forces behind the attack of their side.
Nani v Gary O’Neil
Nani is expected to start in his first match after injury and Allardyce is the sort of manager who will assign a midfielder to keep him quiet. Gary O’Neil could be the midfielder and the West Ham man will have to try and contain Nani without sacrificing the shape of the side.
Wayne Rooney v James Tomkins
Rooney is expected to return to the Manchester United line up in place of Robin Van Persie. He had an abysmal game away at Swansea City and should be looking to make up for it. James Tomkins has to stay disciplined in defence because Rooney will try and drag him out of his central area to create space for Danny Welbeck or Javier Hernandez to run into.
How do you see these battles and this match going?
image: © Paolo Camera