West Ham United-Manchester United Preview


Manchester United will be out to avoid three straight league defeats at Old Trafford for the first time in over 51 years when they meet West Ham United on Saturday in a match-up of League Cup semi-finalists.

David Moyes' side lost 1-0 at home to Everton on Dec. 4 and by the same score to Newcastle United three days later before avoiding a third straight loss at the "Theatre of Dreams" with a 1-0 victory over Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk on Dec. 10 to clinch top spot in their Champions League group. United subsequently avoided a third league defeat in a row and ended a four-match Premier League winless stretch with a 3-0 victory at Aston Villa, but Wayne Rooney left that contest with an unspecified injury and was not in the squad for Wednesday's 2-0 League Cup victory at Stoke City. Rooney could be back Saturday.

"He has got a chance," Moyes told United's official website.

The champions will try to avoid losing three on the trot in the league for the first time since falling to Manchester City, Burnley and Blackburn Rovers in 1962.

West Ham United have gone 512 minutes without scoring at Old Trafford, including a 1-0 loss in an FA Cup third-round replay. The other matches were all in the Premier League, where Manchester United have taken the last five home fixtures with a 13-1 edge in goals.

The Hammers advanced to the League Cup semis on Wednesday by scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to knock out Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at White Hart Lane.

These sides were drawn apart from each other, with Manchester United to face Sunderland and West Ham to meet Manchester City.

Now boss Sam Allardyce must carry on with the business of trying to save a side that sit on 14 points in 17th place - one above the drop. The Hammers have one win and three draws in their last nine league matches.

Allardyce made seven changes on Wednesday from the side he used in last Saturday's scoreless draw with the Black Cats. James Collins, George McCartney, Joe Cole and Matt Jarvis retained their places. The moves paid off as Jarvis scored the equaliser in the 80th minute before Modibo Maiga's tally five minutes later.

It was the Hammers' second win at White Hart Lane this season, with them also winning 3-0 in the Premier League on Oct. 6 before this current nine-match downturn.

"For me, the challenge is to get the players to kick on from this," Allardyce told the Hammers' official website. "When we beat them last time, I thought we'd go on a run of results and pick up more points than we have done. I don't know where we'll go from here but it's just a fantastic result and the lads are absolutely delighted."

Moyes' side sealed their progress with second-half strikes from Ashley Young and Patrice Evra. The boss made three changes from the Villa match, with Young, Chris Smalling, and Anderson coming into the team.

The match had to be stopped in the 29th minute due to hail.

''The conditions were a leveler and it was really difficult to play in tonight. It's some of the worst conditions I've played or managed in," Moyes said. "But once we got the first goal we felt confident. This club is used to winning trophies, it is business as usual.''