For Manchester United, the trip to Boleyn Grounds is more than a formality, knowing another slip of points could deter the team from finishing up on a high and compound their so called dream of a record breaking season. One player who has watched his team drop points recently is the Manchester United skipper who was quick to highlight the physical strength in Sam Allardyce’s side.
However, going by the result of the corresponding fixture in April 2011, United have an edge over the Hammers as the 33,545 fans in attendance on that day couldn’t stop the red- hot Wayne Rooney from wrecking havoc on the home team. Mark Noble had put the Hammers up- front by two goals, before a second half hat- trick from Rooney and an 84th minute Javier Hernandez goal ended the fixture 4- 2 in favour of the traveling fans.
In the last ten meetings between both clubs, West Ham has won twice, while united has won eight times; three times at Upton Park. United’s 72 goals so far this season is 44 goals more than West Ham’s making it an average of 2.25 goals per match for the Red Devils.
However, Sir Alex’s men need seven more points to secure a 20th league title, one player that will be expected to fire United to victory is Robin van Persie after his last- gasp equalizer on the same ground in the FA Cup third round forced the match into a replay. While the Dutchman was enjoying a rich vein of form in front of goal at that time, the 29- year- old have only netted once since late February (last week’s goal against Stoke.)
Sir Alex believes the striker has a role to play as the season draws to a close and having gone through a hiatus in front of goal.
“There are always going to be question marks from the press- and particularly from the player himself- when a striker hasn’t scored for a few weeks,” he told MUTV
“I know what strikers are like: when they are scoring they think they are going to score all the time, and when they’re not scoring they wonder when the next goal is going to come along.
“So it was a great goal for Robin (to score against Stoke) in that respect, and hopefully he kicks on from there.”
For Sam Allardyce, tonight is another night to prove a point against a United team that had escaped defeat in recent meetings.
“We have run them close three times so I hope that’s the same Wednesday night, I hope we can give a good performance as we have in the last three.”
West Ham defender James Tomkins is a doubt for tonight’s game with a calf injury; Winston Reid and George McCartney are also struggling for fitness, both with a hip and knee injury respectively. Emmanuel Pogatetz will be standing in for either of the two. Midfielder Mark Noble is close to a return after a shoulder injury has kept him on the sideline, but Joe Cole remains a doubt.
Manchester United has no injury worries coming into this fixture and are likely to field the same crop of players that earned the victory in Stoke last Sunday.
“We have a good strong squad. We took 20 players with us to Stoke and those 20 players will go with us again on Wednesday night,” he said.
Tonight game between West Ham and Manchester United was arranged to be played on Saturday 9 March 2013. Due to United’s participation in the FA Cup 6th Round, it was moved for tonight.