Manchester United and West Ham United face off at 4pm on Sunday, September 3rd on the hallowed turf of Old Trafford as both sides look to get off to a winning start to the Premier League 2017-18 edition. Both clubs have made “significant shall we say sensational “moves in the transfer market with Jose and United adding Belgian sensation Romelu Lukaku, “Iceman” Swede Victor Lindelof and the title winning classy serb Nemanja Matic who Mou knows so well with more arrivals heavily rumoured in many media reports.
Imminent possible arrivals appear as though they could come from Spurs if “reports” are to be believed like the recent story about Luke Shaw being offered as part of deal for Danny Rose which just seems so strange to want to give up on a real talent in Shaw. The former Southampton man was a £29million left-back a short time ago who is still working his way back from a terrible leg break especially when you have the awesome Daley Blind who is worth his weight in gold already there to cover for Shaw. Look how long it took Aaron Ramsey to come back to full fitness. Moving Luke Shaw could be a big mistake but Jose is his own man and it is hard to criticise his judgement – his record speaks for itself.
West Ham for their part under Slaven Bilic have added Premier League winner Pablo Zabaleta, England keeper Joe Hart, the dangerous Marko Arnautovic and to top it off former red-devil goal machine Chicharito has joined the Hammers as their major signings.
The match promises to be a tasty encounter and I think Jose will not want to lose so Matic will play and United will try to hit them on the break with the raw pace of Rashford, Micki and Lukaku while hoping Smalling and likely Blind can keep Chicharito off the score-sheet.
Set pieces could play a big part particularly for the Hammers as 5 of West Ham’s last 6 Premier League goals against Man United have come from set pieces (1 corner, 4 free-kicks). Manuel Lanzini could be a key player and might be worth a bet as the first goal scorer.
Three of the last five Premier League games between these two clubs have ended in a draw, with one win a piece in this run but that win was the victory that sent United through to the next round of the League Cup which they of course went on to win as Jose Mourinho’s first major trophy with the club.
United are unbeaten in their 9 previous Premier League home games with West Ham United winning 7 while drawing 2 games. United’s last home league defeat against the Hammers was on the final day of the 2006-07 season when United had already wrapped up the title but West Ham needed a win to avoid relegation and Carlos Tevez scored to save the day and condemn a luckless Sheffield United to relegation.
No team has won more opening day fixtures in the Premier League than Manchester United (16, level with Chelsea).
What does not bode well for the game for the East Londoners is that West Ham have lost more opening day fixtures than any other Premier League club (10).
Jose Mourinho is unbeaten in opening fixtures – he has won seven of his previous eight opening day Premier League fixtures as a manager only drawing 1 game.
Mourinho has never lost a home match on a Sunday in all competitions in his managerial career, winning 86 and drawing 26 of 112 games.
Romelu Lukaku scored in seven straight Premier League matches for Everton against West Ham between 2013 and 2016, but failed to find the net in his last match against them in April at the London Stadium. The powerful Belgian has been looking hungry in preseason and it is likely to be who comes off better in front of goal between Chicharito and Lukaku who will win the game for their team.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored 37 goals in 103 Premier League games for Manchester United, netting a goal every 130 minutes for the club and Jose Mourinho recently went on record saying that had he been the United boss at the time then he would never have sold Hernandez.
On a slightly different tip, Joe Hart could become the first away goalkeeper to keep three Premier League clean sheets at Old Trafford, having previously kept two with Manchester City in March 2014 and October 2015. Lukaku, Pogba and Rashford will be doing their damndest to make sure Hart does not get his hat-trick of clean sheets.
Of course United will be wary of taking their opponents too lightly especially after seeing Chelsea deservedly beaten on Saturday by a good Burnley team who were well worth their 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge but Jose is unlikely to let such complacency creep into the United camp.
We think it is going to be a lively encounter played at pace with lots of chances. We think United will go ahead quite early calming nerves but West Ham will grow into the game before equalising just before the half time whistle. The second half will start with United attacking at pace relentlessly before the likes of Lukaku or Rashford will strike a decisive blow putting Man United 2-1 up and then the game will be full of chances but Jose’s charges will go on to add gloss with a third goal winning 3-1.
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