That went about as well as expected. The tiredness of this Manchester United team came to the fore once again against Brighton as a late, late goal condemned the Red Devils to a 1-0 defeat.
While the destiny of a top-4 spot is still very much in their own hands, another loss or two could turn the Champions League race into squeaky bum time. Brighton have proved their run of form is not a flash in the pan, and Liverpool are relentless.
Therefore this fixture against West Ham United away from home, on May 7, 7 PM BST takes utmost importance. With games against Wolves, Bournemouth, Chelsea and Fulham remaining before the marquee clash against Manchester City in the FA Cup final, Manchester United will look to take advantage of a forgiving fixture list to secure their top-4 spot before the season ends.
Manchester United vs West Ham United lineups
Man Utd predicted lineup
Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, and Scott McTominay are long-term injuries but the status of Alejandro Garnacho should be one to keep an eye on.
The teenager, fresh off signing a new contract, has returned to first-team training. The game against Brighton came too soon for him but an appearance off the bench shouldn’t be ruled out in this one.
Elsewhere, the slate is clearing up for Erik ten Hag. Maguire might come back into the team to rest the capable duo of Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw. Tyrell Malacia might return as well, giving a much-needed rest to Diogo Dalot. Aaron Wan-Bissaka should keep his place.
The midfield picks itself with Casemiro to partner with Christian Eriksen in the double pivot in a 4-2-3-1. Fred should make way after failing to impress against Brighton. Bruno will return to his No 10 spot, with Antony and Jadon Sancho on either side of him and Marcus Rashford as the striker.
It remains to be seen if Erik ten Hag trusts Anthony Martial with two starts in three days.
Starting XI- David de Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford
West Ham United predicted lineup
A poor start to the season has been rectified by David Moyes’ West Ham who look safe from relegation this season. However, due to their status still not being safe mathematically, David Moyes would look to his strongest side to make an impact at his old home.
Unlike Manchester United, West Ham United have to contend with a European semifinal next midweek as they face AZ Alkmaar in a historic Conference League tie.
A much-needed side should arrive at The London Stadium than the one which got mauled at Etihad Stadium. Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice should return from their health issues to form the Hammers’ first-choice midfield. Joining them will be Nayef Aguerd, who has been a revelation this season. Kurt Zouma remains sidelines.
In attack, Rice and Soucek’s return means Lucas Paqueta will be restored to his preferred spot as the No 10. Ever-present Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma will be the trio behind Michael Antonio.
Starting XI- Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Thilo Kehrer, Nayef Aguerd, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen, Lucas Paqueta, Said Benrahma, Michael Antonio.
Manchester United vs West Ham United prediction
Manchester United are tired. Running on empty tanks, it is no surprise to see the players huff and puff through the latter stages of every game now. Therefore, it is imperative that the players start quickly, and quieten the home crowd by getting an early goal or two.
West Ham United will look to counter-attack with their tricky and pacy wingers. Their aerial threat from set-pieces will worry Manchester United.
Still, with a fast start and some astute time management, Manchester United should have more than enough to put away West Ham United as they seek to solidify their top-4 spot after a wobble against Brighton.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 West Ham