Manchester United host West Ham United on Saturday knowing they need to return to winning ways as soon as possible. Their 5-3 defeat to Leicester City undid all the good work from the previous weekend, when a new-look United side beat Queens Park Rangers 4-0.
But questions remain about the club’s defence and those questions will not go away in the face of an injury crisis that shows no signs of abating.
While United were suffering the ignominy of defeat last week, West Ham were getting the better of Liverpool. Coupled with their 2-2 draw away to Hull City it is clear the Hammers are on something of a roll and they will not want that to stop on Saturday.
Diafra Sakho is in fine goal-scoring form and he and Enner Valencia are likely to cause United’s depleted back-line plenty of problems.
United injury concerns: United could be missing Chris Smalling after the England international suffered a thigh injury in training.
United absences: Jonny Evans has become the latest injury absentee following his setback against Leicester. He joins a whole host of names on the side-lines in the form of Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, James Wilson and Michael Carrick. Tyler Blackett is suspended following his red card against the Foxes.
West Ham injury concerns: Allardyce does not have any new injury concerns going into this match, however he is without a number of players.
West Ham absences: Joey O’Brien remains out with a knee injury while Andy Carroll is a long-term absentee with an ankle problem. Kevin Nolan’s shoulder injury means he is unlikely to feature until early October, while Matt Jarvis is lacking match fitness. Cheikhou Kouyate is out for six weeks with a groin injury.
Predicted starting line-ups:
United – De Gea, Valencia, Blind, Rojo, Shaw, Fletcher, Herrera, Di Maria, Mata, Rooney, Falcao
West Ham – Adrian, Reid, Tomkins, Cresswell, Demel, Downing, Noble, Song, Amilfitano, Sakho, Valencia