Manchester United v West Ham United - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 21st December 2013 at 15:00. Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester.

Odds: Manchester United 4/11 Draw 17/4, West Ham United 17/2

Last season: 1-0

Preview & injury news

Have Manchester United got the makings of going on a run and mounting a decent defence to their Premier League title? Well, they go into this game having won three games on the bounce in all competitions and ten points off top spot. Here they have a run of winnable fixtures coming up as they look to improve on their eighth place standing in the Premier League. West Ham could do with picking up some points in though they will have been delighted at managing to turn around their Capital One Cup tie against Spurs to qualify for the semi-finals. The table doesn't make pretty reading for the Hammers at the moment as they currently sit one point above the drop zone. 

On the injury front, the fresh injury worry seems to revolve around Wayne Rooney who picked up a groin injury in the past week but manager David Moyes has said it is not serious and should be able to return to the side. Robin Van Persie and Michael Carrick are still sidelined with thigh and calf injuries respectively, whilst United could welcome back Nemanja Vidic (knock) and Marouane Fellaini (back) to the squad after their respective injuries.

For West Ham, they still have a few injury concerns but they could welcome back James Tomkins to the squad after a groin problem. Stewart Downing is out until February with a calf injury whilst Winston Reid is expected back in late January at the earliest with his ankle injury. Andy Carroll is expected to return for the Hammers early on in the New Year whilst Ricardo Vaz Te continues to recover from a dislocated shoulder. 

Key stats

Wayne Rooney is Manchester United's top scorer in the league this season with eight goals. 

Ravel Morrison is West Ham United's top scorer in the league this season with three goals. 

Manchester United had 56% possession in their last league match, a 3-0 away win against Aston Villa.

West Ham United had 41% possession in their last league match, a 0-0 draw at home against Sunderland.

5 players to watch

Tom Cleverley - He can be used a scapegoat for some of Manchester United's failings this season but in the middle of the park he is going to have a big job if he plays, and a performance similar to that against Aston Villa would go down nicely.

Ravel Morrison - It was no secret that he was rated highly by Manchester United but events off the field meant he left the club for West Ham. This weekend he returns and he will hope to demonstrate that talent at Old Trafford to help the Hammers to a positive result.

Ashley Young - After his impressive strike against Stoke City in the League Cup in midweek to end a barren streak in front of goal, will David Moyes reward him with another opportunity to impress this weekend against the Hammers?

Modibo Maiga - His towering header gave West Ham victory in the Capital One Cup in midweek but up front is an area where they have struggled this season. Old Trafford wouldn't be a bad place for Maiga to find the net and help boost the goals scored column for the Hammers. 

Wayne Rooney - David Moyes has said that Rooney's injury isn't serious and should play against West Ham on Saturday. He has been the star performer for Moyes this season so it's worth keeping an eye on his fitness, and of course he may find himself playing a starring role yet against for the Champions.

Last time they met

West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United, Premier League April 2013

The same scoreline as their FA Cup meeting at Upton Park that season but a different pattern of scoring as United got that little bit closer to winning the League despite dropping points. Ricardo Vaz Te gave the Hammers the lead with a diving header from a Matt Jarvis cross but Antonio Valencia equalised after good work from Shinji Kagawa on the half hour mark. The Hammers restored their lead through Mohamed Diame's low drive before Robin Van Persie equalised by turning on Kagawa's shot on the rebound, after it had two posts and James Collins. However, it was suggested that Van Persie was offside, leaving Sam Allardyce less than happy.

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