Both clubs come into Wednesday’s matchup riding an unusual stretch of games.
For Manchester United, they relied on a comeback effort to pull out a 3-1 victory against lowly Queens Park Rangers. The win ended a two-game slide for the club following losses to Norwich City and Galatasaray. The Red Devils currently top the table with 30 points, one point clear of Manchester City at 10-3-0.
On the other hand, West Ham United seems completely unable to go on any sort of streak. Through 13 fixtures, the club hasn’t won, lost or drawn consecutive games. The up-and-down season currently has the Irons eighth in the table, trailing Manchester United by 11 points at 5-4-4.
For the last time West Ham United prevailed against last season’s league runner-up, you’d have to go all the way back to Dec. 29 2007. Two goals within the last 15 minutes of play led the Irons to a 2-1 victory.
In seven meetings since, West Ham United are 0-7-0. Furthermore, the Red Devils outscored the Irons 22-3 in those contests.
Will West Ham United inch within 10 points of the league lead, or will Manchester United continue their dominance over their London foe?
Where: Old Trafford Stadium, Greater Manchester, England
When: Wednesday, November 28, 3:00 p.m. EST
TV/Live Stream: FOX Soccer Channel/FOX Soccer2go
Manchester United: Will their early-game woes continue?
Here’s some food for thought.
Following their Sept. 23 victory over Liverpool, Manchester United have suffered from early game struggles.
In 13 games since, the Red Devils have been outscored 11-9 in the first half, while outscoring opponents 25-7 in the second half. Furthermore, the club has fallen behind in five straight games, including eight of their last 10.
That’s a style of play that Manchester United can’t afford to utilize against a West Ham United side who have posted a 6-1-0 record after netting the opening goal of the match.
However, no matter the deficit, the Red Devils are a sure bet to score goals in bunches. They currently top the league with 32.
A lot of the credit belongs to the stellar form of striker Javier Hernandez.
In 16 appearances for the club, Hernandez has netted nine goals. That includes 10 goals in his last 11.
Paired with Robin Van Persie—11 goals in 17 appearances—the duo combines to create one formidable attack for Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney should not be forgotten either. The 27-year-old has netted seven goals in his previous four matches against the Irons.
The Red Devils' attack should have no problem against a lesser West Ham United side on Wednesday night.
West Ham United: Can Andy Carroll rediscover his form?
While the majority of West Ham United were disappointed with the 3-1 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday, one particular Iron had reason for optimism.
Liverpool loanee Andy Carroll netted his first goal of the season in the loss. It was his first league goal since April.
The $35 million man has been somewhat of a disappointment for Liverpool ever since his transfer from Newcastle United in 2011. Carroll has only netted nine goals in 58 appearances for the Reds. As a result, the club hoped a loan to another league side might help the 23-year-old rediscover the form that saw him net 19 goals in 42 appearances for the Magpies back in 2009-10.
The goal on Sunday is a positive sign for a club that only has one player on the roster—Kevin Nolan—who has scored more than two goals this season. The Irons currently rank No. 12 in the league with 16 scores on the season.
To keep up with Manchester United on Wednesday, they’re going to need a lot more than the 1.23 goals per game they’re currently averaging.
Prediction: 3-2 Manchester United
The streak of falling behind early will surely come to an end for the Red Devils. However, expect Manchester United's shaky defending to allow West Ham United to keep it close.
You can follow Sebastian on Twitter at @SP7988
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