United Host the Hammers for an Old Trafford Season Opener
Last updated: August 11, 2017 by Leon Marshal
|Kick-off:||Sunday, 16:00 pm|
|Home Team Form:||LWWLD|
|Away Team Form:||LWLWD|
|Last Meeting:||Man Utd 2 – 0 West Ham|
With all the teams having taken some much-needed time off, and with a couple of new editions, the Premier League is finally back up and running. This Sunday our attention will turn to Old Trafford as West Ham make the journey to the North of England for the 122nd meeting between the two sides. With both teams coming off the back of disappointing seasons in last year’s campaign, we’re expecting fireworks as the managers look to kick their seasons off on the right foot.
Despite having won United their first cup trophy double since 2009 in his first year at the club, Mourinho will be under pressure to make sure his side finish in the top four come the end of the year. He’s recurited well this season, bringing in Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic and still hoping to secure a few more big signings before the summer transfer window is out. The United squad is looking strong this year, with alot more depth, flair, and pace to burn on the flanks. Despite missing out on a Uefa Super Cup Winner’s medal to Real Madrid earlier this week they’ve had a busy pre-season with International Champions Cup committments and a few overseas friendlies. We suspect that the Red Devils will be raring to go for the season opener in front of their home fans.
West Ham will surely have been disappointed with their inability to secure a top ten finish in last year’s campaign as they struggled to find their feet at their new stadium inside the old Olympic village. The Hammers made an extremely slow start to the season last time round, only managing one win from their first six outings as they suffered frustrating defeats against Watford, West Brom and Southampton. While they did finish a lot stronger than they started, only losing one of their last seven fixtures and securing three wins, they’ve had an indifferent build up to the new campaign, only managing one victory against Fulham while losing to Man City and Werder Bremen in pre-season fixtures.
Billic has, however, recruited very well this summer, welcoming Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic, and ex-United forward, Javier Hernandez, to the ranks in East London and added some much needed experience. He will be expected, at the very least, to keep his side out of the relegation zone, however, if they can settle into their new stadium and get their new editions firing, a top ten finish is well witihin their grasp. An away trip to Old Trafford is the first hurdle.
United were outclassed in the final of the UEFA Super Cup earlier this week as they went down 2-1 to Real Madrid at the Philip II Arena in Skopje, Macedonia. The result proved the Red Devils are still some way off Europe’s best as the defending champions went on to claim their fourth Super Cup.
Rumor has it that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has entered into talks with United over a new deal. The mercurial Swedish forward is still recovering from a serious knee injury but is a free agent, so he will be able to rejoin the Red Devils at any point of the upcoming season.
It looks as though the in-form Argentinian midfielder, Manuel Lanzini, will miss the opening two games of the season for the Hammers. The 24-year-old is still struggling from an injury he sustained during the club’s pre-season tour of Austria and Germany.
Slaven Billic will have some big decisions to make as his side prepare to take on United at the weekend. After having lured Joe Hart, Sead Haksabanovic, Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnuatovic over the summer he’ll be keen to give his new signings some game time.
|Man Utd 3-4-2:||De Gea, Bailly, Lindelof, Samlling, Valencia, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Darmian, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku|
|Subs:||Adrián, Spiegel, Feghouli, Zaza, Byram, Fletcher, Calleri, Noble|
|Injured:||Rojo, Shaw, Young|
|West Ham 4-2-3-1:||Hart, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Fonte, Masuaku, Noble, Obiang, Ayew, Lanzini, Arnautovic, Hernandez|
|Subs:||Caballero, Rüdiger, Kenedy, Costa, Musonda Jr, Piazon, Zouma|
|Injured:||Antonio, Kouyaté, Carroll|
|Manchester United Last Season||Crystal Palace Last Season|
|18 (10)||Wins (away)||12 (7)|
|4-1 vs. Leicester||Biggest Win||4-1 vs. Swansea|
|15 (5)||Draws (away)||9 (4)|
|4-0 vs. Chelsea||Biggest Defeat||5-1 vs. Arsenal|
|Ibrahimovic (17)||Top Goal Scorer||Antonio (9)|
|Y78, R2||Discipline||Y78, R5|
|8||Failures to Score||9|
|50%||Both Teams to Score Games||55%|
|34%||Over 2.5 Goals||58%|
|66%||Under 2.5 Goals||42%|
- United will be disappointed with the amount of games they drew last season, especially at home. They will be looking to kick this year’s campaign off with a resounding win in front of the crowd at Old Trafford and lay down a marker.
- West Ham struggled to get the right results at at their new Stadium in the Oympic Park last season. Hopefully they’ve grown into the new location and can produce some more commanding results.
- It is not yet certain whether United have managed to secure their top scorer from last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, again for the new campaign. New signing of £89million, Romelu Lukaku may be a contender for the golden boot this year.
- The Hammers will play their first four games of the season on the road, with Southampton and Newcastle to follow after United. This may take some of the pressure of the home crowd off of Slaven Billic’s men as they look to make a strong start to the season.
Head to Head
|Last Five Competitive Meetings Between The Sides|
|Date||Game Result||Round||First Goal-scorer|
|02/01/2017||West Ham United 2 – 1 Man Utd||Premier League||S Feghouli 15′|
|30/11/2016||Man Utd 4-1 West Ham||League Cup||A Fletcher 35′|
|27/11/2016||Man Utd 1 – 1 West Ham||Premier League||D Sakho 2′|
|10/05/2016||West Ham 3 – 2 Man Utd||Premier League||D Sakho 10′|
|13/04/2016||West Ham 1 – 2 Man Utd||FA Cup||Ashford 54′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
With both teams looking to kick-start their seasons with confidence boosting wins, this one is set to be a cracker. West Ham’s record against their hosts hasn’t been too bad in recent years; they’ve only managed one win in their last six meetings, but at the same time, they’ve only lost one in the last four at Old Trafford, which suggests that United’s ground is no longer the fortress it once was. We do think, though, that there’s simply too much pace and class in Mourinho’s side for West Ham to deal with, and that they’ll come away with a fairly comfortable win. We also wouldn’t bet against Lukaku finding the net at some point, with the Belgian forward having scored nine goals in his last ten games against the Hammers, the majority of which have come in the last 10 minutes. Head over to Ladbrokes for some of the best value prices on the market.