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Match Preview

United Look To Hammer The Hammers

Manchester United welcome West Ham to Old Trafford on Wednesday night looking to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.The Red Devils head into the game off the back of Saturday’s 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers, a win that sent them top of the table after Manchester City were held to a 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Once again United had to come from behind to take all three points, the ninth time in all competitions this season that they have come from behind to win. Coincidentally, the last time these two sides met, United had to come from 2-0 down to eventually win 4-2, but Sir Alex Ferguson will be keen for his side to stop falling behind and giving themselves an uphill task.

West Ham were beaten 3-1 at White Hart Lane by Tottenham last time out but have made a steady start to life in the Premier League and currently sit eight in the league standings.

Paul Scholes is suspended for this match so Anderson is likely to start. Antonio Valencia has a hip problem but has an outside chance of being fit.

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble is banned, while left-back George McCartney is a doubt after suffering an ankle injury against Tottenham. Yossi Benayoun remains out of action with a thigh problem. Midfielder Jack Collison (knee) and forward Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) are also ruled out.

The match is not on TV in the UK so watch it live on (Works worldwide)



  1. Stephen

    28 November 2012 at 16:54

    Can I be the first to say, can we please not go a goal down for a change, we as fans deserve a convincing win.

    • Stephen is gay

      28 November 2012 at 17:08

      No – go and boil you bollo’s you glory hunter.

      • Stephen

        29 November 2012 at 09:57


    • jos

      28 November 2012 at 18:09

      @Stephen: I’d rather say we concede in the very first min. These days only that seems to wake the players up!

  2. jos

    28 November 2012 at 18:10

    The special one makes very special money (12m per year) as per daily mail.

    There go Moscow’s dreams of landing him in Old Trafford hot seat!!! Surely Glazers are never gonna pay that much!

  3. Jay wire

    28 November 2012 at 18:53

    Why would a Premier League match, being played in England, which last time I checked is in the United Kingdom, not being broadcast on UK televisions? If it’s being broadcast elsewhere, then whoever has the TV rights has no respect whatsoever for the British. I know business goes where the money is but really, what’s the justification for not showing it there? It’s amazing how when you love something and are prepared to part with your hard earned money for it, you get screwed over. The way football has been commercialized has resulted in the average football fan suffering at every corner. Now you have to get on a laptop to watch a game being played in your own country. Maybe I’m overreacting but I’d be mad if it were me.

    Anyway, I have been thinking about what would be the best system to incorporate all our best players. I’m thinking, 4-2-3-1. 2 being Carrick and Anderson. 3 being from left to right, Rooney,Kagawa and Nani. 1 being RVP. Very similar to the system Arsenal applied last season but closer to Chelsea’s beginning of this season, when they had Hazard inside left, Mata in the hole and Oscar right with Torres upfront. The reason I’d have Rooney left is because he has been quite poor centrally and does not have the skillset to link the attack fluidly ala Silva,Iniesta,Mata,Carzola. This is right up Kagawa’s alley. Nani is the only other player capable of cutting in effectively and linking up witi the attack. RVP has been disadvantaged in one major way. Too much responsibility. Because of the lack of creativity from Rooney and co behind him, he has had to drop deep to get the ball and in many cases, initiate attacks. This is where Kagawa comes in. His close ball control, and movement with the ball at feet, coupled with incisive and inventive passing,gives the players around him the opportunity to run into dangerous spaces. The kind of run and pass that Anderson did for the 3rd goal is an attacking midfielder’s play, the type Kagawa did for Dortmund, same as Mata,Carzola etc. It disorients the defensive structure and opens up spaces for goal threats like Rooney,Rvp,Nani and even Kagawa himself. Anderson and Carrick simply glue the team together by providing an outlet for defence and attack. Pressing obviously is a must, particularly from the 3 attackers behind Robin. Will this system work or should we continue playing wide? What do you guys think?

    • Opti

      28 November 2012 at 19:10

      @Jay wire: I’ll try it in FIFA, because you know the chance of seeing this anywhere else is 0% 😀

    • Racs

      28 November 2012 at 19:40

      @Jay wire:

      Jay, agree with you with regards to the system of play. I’ve always felt that 4-2-3-1 is the way forward for sure however SAF doesn’t seem to fancy this system. I remember back in 2008 when we had Tevez, Rooney, Ronaldo and Nani and we played this system. The fluidity and interchanging of positions between the front 4 was insane at times as a I seem to remember we scored some breathtaking goals in the league which involved passing combinations and movement into space which, as you say, disorientated the defensive structure of teams! I definitely think that Kagawa’s best position is behind the 1, there is no doubt about it, which would mean Rooney on the left, but why can’t we seem to implement the system of play from 2008 which would involve Kagawa, Rooney, RVP and Nani interchanging positions in attack? Carlos Queiroz was our assistant back then and his tactical contributions were pretty clear. Nowadays we just seem to revert back to what we have been used to for the past few seasons which has been direct and wide play. Don’t get me wrong, its definitely one of our strengths and always has been and as long as SAF and his management team are at the helm, we will continue to play with width most of the time. The problem is that nowadays teams are setting up against us with emphasis on stifling our wing play by doubling up on our wingers which is why we are getting awful games form the likes of Young and Valencia recently, because they are one dimensional players with no plan B. Welbeck and Nani try to offer something different by coming inside as they are slightly more unpredictable.

      But i completely agree that we need to keep up with the times and at least put in an effort of implementing a more fluid system such as the 4-2-3-1 which encourages possession and build up play, solidity in defence and unpredictability in attack. I think we have the right players to do it. Perhaps SAF and management think its a risk moving away from our direct wide play?

  4. Opti

    28 November 2012 at 19:22

    Rafael, Evans, Smalling, Evra,
    Anderson, Carrick, Cleverley,
    Hernandez, Rooney, Van Persie.

    Looks like we are doing 433 or 442 with Rooney out wide

    Did they read to RedRants???

    The defense looks a little weak without a CB leader like Rio/Vidic; but hopefully they can handle the 35 million pound muppet.

    • Racs

      28 November 2012 at 19:26


      Looks like we may be playing the diamond mate. Width to be provided by our full backs.

      Maybe SAF has realised that we haven’t been producing the goods from out wide so perhaps he is trying something new to try and play through the centre with quick passing combinations and interchanging of positions? Just a thought

  5. jos

    28 November 2012 at 20:07

    wow. that is a different united team out there.

  6. Opti

    28 November 2012 at 22:02

    What a crappy/scrappy/flappy game… And I only saw last 45 minutes… You lucky ones who watched the opening minute!!!

    • Opti

      28 November 2012 at 22:05

      @Opti: Also, imagine:
      1) If Nani dribbled up as time was running out and lost the ball to West Ham. Welbeck did that.
      2) If Nani tried a back-pass to goalkeeper but fluffed it and, if it wasn’t for Evan’s quick thinking, we have gifted West Ham a 2-on-1 with Lindegaard. Evra did that.

      Also, our passing/crossing is pathetic. What exactly are we training for? I have seen nothing but regression in the last month, but considering the rotation, surely it is not from that 🙄 🙄

      We’ll still win the title if we beat or draw with City.

      Come on you Red Devils!!! Show us your football magic!!!

  7. Jay wire

    28 November 2012 at 23:04

    I think the only major disappointment is we failed to score more. West Ham made zero threats and I applaud MC for his disciplined role covering the excellent defence. The only big concern for me was lack of cohesion upfront. Rooney really sucks as a link for attack due to his incredibly sloppy passing. But he wasn’t as bad rubbish. I thought the passing coming out of midfield into attack was slick. The end product was rather poor. But with mega rotation, we’ll never see fluid football at United. Anderson and Cleverly did well and played with lots of energy and movement. Rafael is our certified number 2. I think if it wasn’t clear how valuable Nani is, this should help. I don’t know what’s happening with Young but he has been unusually poor. Finally, I’m almost glad we played a narrow system, but I think it’s almost certain we’ll drop it at the weekend. Also, the only reason I believe Anderson started was because of Scholes was suspended. Expect him to start on Saturday alongside Giggs

  8. Redrich

    29 November 2012 at 04:34

    I guess I understand the deeper role for Rooney. He wants the ball and he does have the bad instinct of chasing it anyway, but when he has to come all the way back to preserve a meager 1-0 lead, there is clearly a lack of cover. And when I see RVP clearing our lines when we defend a corner, there is something not quite right there either.

    I’m not opposed to the winger-less formation, but when your 2 most potent goal scorers are found on the pass back when we have a breakaway attack, the philosophy has to be “protect your advantage and do not allow them to get at your back 4”.
    What a great result if you were looking to change the tide of early and frequent goals against us. For the forth time in eighteen attempts United have kept a clean sheet and it’s a complete departure from the leaky nature of our defense. It wasn’t by luck either, they had a clear directive and they carried it out.
    So there you have it, we put our mind to it and so it was always possible from the very start.

    To me, this was the dullest game so far. This was a “put the three points in the bank” kind of game. I can almost imagine the pregame build up, with Fergie expecting Big Sam to also play it safe, when he didn’t Ferguson designed the perfect countenance by dropping back his skill players and thus snuffing out any chance of either team scoring.
    Good for us that before any tactics had a chance to take root, Van Persie struck the ball off a defender before he had to charge back into coverage.

  9. The_Philosopher

    29 November 2012 at 07:25

    I will say it again. Rooney should be our first choice midfielder.

    He has everything it takes to do a job in the middle of the park. And don’t we need a box-to-box midfielder of the quality of Wayne Rooney?

    I’m arguing this Rooney-midfield issue from two perspectives.
    1) Ferguson refuses to buy someone so we have to make do with what we have. We have Wayne Rooney.

    2) Rooney is an excellent attacking asset so naturally you would think we need to use him in attack. But again, make do with what you have: RVP, Kagawa, Welbeck and Chicha can all cover the attacking duties. Wayne isn’t that critical to our goal scoring efforts.

    Rooney is an asset all round. If he is needed more desparately in midfield than in attack why not play him in midfield.

    He is full of energy and fight why not employ those qualities in the midfield where he can provide proper cover for the back 4, be a menacing presence in the middle of the park and provide support upfront when the ball bounces out of the 18 area with all our attackers committed in the box.

    Our best attacking setup would be a 4-4-1-1 lead by RVP, Kagawa behind him, Rooney and Anderson in the middle, with Nani And Valencia in the wide positions. Evra, Evans, Vidic, Rafael at the back.

    A more conservative setup would be to partner Rooney with Carrick in midfield and have Ferdinand replace Evans at the back.

    I would have played something like that for the Manchester Derby but Kagawa is still out. I think thats been one of our biggest injury hits this season so far. Him and Vida.

    • Moscow

      29 November 2012 at 13:02

      @The_Philosopher: Rooney will never be a successful midfielder mate.

      • The_Philosopher

        29 November 2012 at 14:28

        @Moscow: he’ll be more successful than Ryan Giggs.

        And look at the amount of games Giggs gets in the middle.

        Did you read what I wrote?

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