The key advantage West Ham have over Manchester United

West Ham Tube Sign

There is one statistic which illustrates where West Ham have a clear advantage over Manchester United heading into their match this weekend.

Louis van Gaal's Manchester United side have come in for a lot of criticism of late for their defending, but there is another area of their game seriously lacking in quality too.

United's crossing accuracy is among the five worst teams in the Premier League, while Saturday's opponents West Ham can boast the best.

  Crossing AccuracyCrossing Accuracy (excl. Corners)
West Ham 27% 24%
Man Utd 18% 13%

This does not bode well for United, who have a serious lack of depth in defence, and while they may be relieved Andy Carroll remains injured, Enner Valencia is likely to be a huge threat from West Ham's deliveries.

For United it is a part of their game which is seriously under-utilised, in terms of providing service to their world class strikers.

Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie thrive on good crosses from out wide, but Louis van Gaal is preferring to play a narrower game through a central playmaker, in either Juan Mata or Wayne Rooney.

The Premier League record addition of Angel di Maria should have helped with this, but due to a lack of numbers and quality alternatives in midfield, the Argentine is being played as part of a midfield three, reducing his opportunities to get out wide and cross the ball.

Meanwhile Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have been poor in this regard, and with Wilfried Zaha and Nani loaned out, there aren't a huge number of go-to options.

Instead it will be down to Rafael and Luke Shaw, potentially playing for the first time together in tandem at wing-back this weekend, to begin showing what they can do. 

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch