Manchester United vs West Ham: Where will it be won?


As Manchester United look to shake off their humiliating defeat to Leicester City last week and West Ham look to carry their momentum forward after defeating Liverpool, both sides have a lot to look forward to on match day six.

With plenty of individual battles all over the pitch, we look at the three key match-ups between the two sides that each side will need to win in order to gain 3 very important points.

Marcos Rojo vs Enner Valencia

Both of these players were effectively signed after an incredibly impressive World Cup campaign. Marcos Rojo signed from Sporting CP for £16M although the exact position he was signed for is unsure.

Rojo made his long awaited debut after work permit issues against QPR playing at left-back, where he reached the World Cup final with Argentina. After a fairly solid debut, Rojo endured a horror show at Leicester. He gave away possession 20 times in the 5-3 defeat showing his distribution skills leave much to be desired. He’ll be moved to central defence, his preferred position, for this game however after injuries and suspension mean he’s the only available senior centre half. He’ll be partnered by academy prospects Tom Thorpe or Paddy McNair and he’ll need to watch Valencia as well as guide them through the game.

Valencia will be a handful too. The Ecuadorian scored three times in Brazil and was his nations top scorer at the tournament, as well as scoring in a pre-tournament friendly against England. Sam Allardyce was forced into signing him after Andy Carroll’s injury, but it seems it could prove to be a stroke of genius. Big, strong, physical and quick Valencia will prove a handful for most defenders in the league. An accomplished goalscorer too, United will be wary of the threat he poses on and off the ball.

Angel Di Maria vs Mark Noble

Angel Di Maria has set the Premier League alight since his British record transfer from Real Madrid last month. The winger-cum-central midfielder has added speed to Manchester United’s attacks with his vision, dribbling and killer final ball making him a threat throughout. Two goals and two assists later, Di Maria is regarded as one of the best players in the division. The Argentine will be looking to forge a partnership with Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and captain Wayne Rooney to create one of the most fearsome attacks in world football.

Mark Noble however will have other ideas. The West Ham skipper will have his eyes on the prize once again after leading his side to victory over Liverpool last week. Noble was instrumental in keeping the midfield running in West Ham’s favour and grabbed himself an assist too. Many have been calling for Noble to receive a first England call-up and although that is yet to arrive his form hasn’t declined and he will need to keep Di Maria quiet if West Ham have any chance of taking 3 points away from Old Trafford.

Robin van Persie vs Winston Reid 

Holland’s all-time top goalscorer has shown a bit of rustiness since his return from World Cup duty. van Persie has shown a tendency to disappear from games for large periods this season, which is something that will only improve with game time. After a string of no shows RvP finally opened his account for the new season against Leicester and after admitting that himself, Rooney and Falcao had been working together as a unit in training, there is certainly more to come from this brutal strike force. Despite his decline potentially being on the horizon, he’s still one of the most lethal strikers in world football and West Ham will have a job on their hands.

Winston Reid however, is accomplished. The New Zealand international has gained interest from top clubs after dominating for West Ham for a few seasons now. Reid’s power and pace are essential to his game, however his ability to read the game and intercept before an attack truly takes off stand him in good stead against better technical opposition. Reid will have to lead his defence once again and hope that the rest of the team does their job. West Ham and the player himself will know that their chances are greatly improved if they can prevent the Manchester United attack from scoring as they (and everyone else) will fancy their chances of scoring against a much weakened red defence.