United ensured that there was no fairytale story for Cambridge in the replay in midweek, now it is back to the bread and butter as Upton Park awaits on Sunday afternoon.
All the talk has been about United not playing near their best, Van Gaal’s philosophy, what is the best system and starting eleven, yet the simple reality is we are third and only 5 points off city at the start of play.
Upton Park has proved to be one of the more challenging grounds to visit this campaign, city and Liverpool have fallen foul of Sam Allardyce’s men earlier in the season. The last team to triumph at the Boleyn Ground was Arsenal, and the Hammers have taken a hugely impressive 23 points from a possible 30 in the last 10 games in front of their home faithful, this will be a challenge for United.
West Ham Last 5 (All Comps)
Liverpool 2-0 WEST HAM
Bristol City 0-1 WEST HAM (FA Cup)
WEST HAM 3-0 Hull
WEST HAM 2-2 Everton (WEST HAM won 9-8 on penalties- FA Cup)
Swansea 1-1 WEST HAM
Diafra Sakho- The summer signing has been the subject of controversy in recent days after featuring and scoring the winner against Bristol City despite not being available for the African Cup of Nations through a supposed injury. West Ham were fined £71,000 but not expelled from the competition. Sakho, with 10 goals in his debut season, has twice as many goals as the next best and is a sharp finisher with bags of pace. With Andy Carroll unlikely to feature through injury, Sakho represents the main threat.
West Ham v United- Last 3:
United 2-1 West Ham: Rooney, Van Persie; Sakho
West Ham 0-2 United: Rooney (2)
United 3-1 West Ham: Welbeck; Januzaj; Young; Carlton Cole
West Ham will have to contend with a few injuries, particularly at the back with Winston Reid and James Collins both out. Diafra Sakho is likely to start as Andy Carroll is touch and go to feature.
Ex-Hammer Michael Carrick is the only definite absentee for the visitors. Van Gaal will monitor Angel di Maria’s well-being after an attempted burglary last weekend. Robin Van Persie has overcome a slight knock, Radamel Falcao is vying to regain his place, as is Ashley Young who returned against Cambridge.
West Ham: Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Kouyate, Cresswell; Nolan, Song, Downing; Amalfitano, Sakho, Valencia.
United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Shaw, Rooney, Blind, di Maria, Januzaj, Van Persie, Falcao.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg