Manchester United entertain West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday with differing objectives on the line.
David Moyes’ men will be determined to edge closer to the European spots, finding themselves six points adrift of fifth place heading into the weekend, but will be required to do so without some key components.
Meanwhile, the Hammers continue the quest to stave off the drop and will come into the contest buoyed by a dramatic Capital One Cup victory at White Hart Lane, though must do battle with recent history to maintain the positive attitude in the camp at present.
Following are five interesting stats ahead of Saturday’s contest in the North West.
United have dropped two of their last three in the Premier League but are on a three game win streak in all competitions, having conquered Shakhtar Donetsk and Stoke on either side of last weekend’s triumph over Aston Villa.
The champions have emerged victorious in four on the bounce at one other time in their disappointing campaign, between October 23 and November 2, beginning with Real Sociedad at home and concluding with Fulham away.
Establishing consistency is a major concern for Moyes as he looks to stabilise his reign at Old Trafford and defeating West Ham would further boost his squad’s morale amidst the busy holiday stretch.
Prior to April’s 2-2 draw at Upton Park, United had won eight straight top flight fixtures against West Ham to dominate meetings between the two sides.
The Mancunians will be eying a quick return to such business, but Sam Allardyce will do everything possible on the touchline to make sure that a new trend begins in his club’s favour.
United’s last loss to the Hammers came in a November 2010 Capital One Cup tie, with Carlton Cole and Jonathan Spector hitting a brace apiece under the guidance of Avram Grant in a 4-0 result.
Of United’s 25 Premier League goals this term, the pair have combined to have a direct hand in 23, the Englishman racking up eight goals and six assists as the Netherlands international has rippled the net seven times and set up a further two for his team-mates.
Three hundred eighty-two
Modibo Maiga had gone 382 days without a goal for West Ham until his dramatic late winner at White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening, his last strike having come on December 1, 2012 opposite Chelsea in league play.
Carlton Cole was ineffective against Tottenham Hotspur whilst the Malian made the difference off the bench, so the latter looks likely to get a chance from opening whistle on Saturday to prove that he’s exorcised his drought demons fully.
West Ham have dropped three straight on road and only won once away from Upton Park in the Premier League this season, though only just snatched a second straight victory at White Hart Lane midweek.
Such suggests that whilst the Hammers are not consistent on the road, they remain dangerous to the big clubs and have the potential to pull off upsets.
The East London outfit last triumphed at Old Trafford in May 2007, spurred on to a Premier League victory by a lone strike from future Red Devils striker Carlos Tevez.