Key battles to watch out for: West Ham vs Manchester United

Manchester United travel to London on Sunday as they attempt to extend their promising start to their league campaign. With three victories and one draw in the bank so far, a win against David Moyes’ side could see them keep their place at the top of the table.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his side came away from the midweek trip to Switzerland unscathed and have been boosted by the news of Scott McTominay and Alex Telles returning to full training. Whether either player takes part in the game at the London Stadium remains to be seen, however.

Last year’s affair at the Hammers’ home was controversial, with Paul Pogba’s second-half equaliser protested by Moyes after the game. Ahead of this week’s encounter, Stretty News takes a look at a select few key battles.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Craig Dawson
It might sound funny if you say it aloud, but Ronaldo’s battle with the West Ham defender could determine the outcome of the game on Sunday. The 36-year-old forward second coming at United has been impressive so far, with Ronaldo scoring three goals in his first two appearances.

Meanwhile, Dawson remains West Ham’s leader at the heart of their defence and will relish the opportunity of coming up against the greatest player of all time. Dawson’s aerial prowess is matched by Ronaldo but should the first two games count for anything, the former Real Madrid and Juventus striker will back himself to continue his goalscoring start.

Read more: Three players in danger of being axed by Solskjaer – opinion

Jadon Sancho vs Vladimir Coufal
After joining the club with high expectations, Sancho has endured a rather slow start to life at Manchester United. Albeit, he has started just two league games. It would be unfair to judge his output just yet but he is set for another tough test this weekend.

Coufal has quickly established himself as one of the most consistent defenders in the division – a robust, no-nonsense, get on with it type of guy. Any fancy tricks from Sancho won’t be appreciated.

Sancho is unlikely to be given an easy ride if he, as expected, starts on the left side. A goal, a good performance or perhaps playing 90 minutes could do the 21-year-old the world of good after a tough first month.

Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane vs Jarrod Bowen
Manchester United are expected to dominate the ball against West Ham and with Michail Antonio suspended, the Hammers are likely to rely on counter-attacks to break up the play.

Bowen will almost certainly replace Antonio in the line-up and much like in the same fixture last year, will play on the final shoulder of United’s defence. Varane, who has been impressive since he signed, will be tasked with disrupting those moves. The 28-year-old’s pace allows United to play higher up the pitch and Moyes will be looking to exploit that.

Maguire is susceptible to fast forwards but with the security of Varane next to him, the United skipper is likely to have the ball more than his partner.

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