How Manchester United Will Line Up Against West Ham United

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How Manchester United Will Line Up Against West Ham United
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

David Moyes was brave with his team selection against Aston Villa on Sunday.

On the back of successive defeats against Everton and Newcastle, it would have been easy to be cautious, to pack the midfield and make sure he didn't lose a third game on the bounce.

The Manchester United manager had an excuse too, with Robin van Persie out for a month with a thigh injury. He could have played Wayne Rooney up front on his own with a five-man midfield and tried to hit Aston Villa on the break.

There would have been a temptation for Moyes to make sure United didn't lose instead of trying to win. But that's not what he did.

His midfield of Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley, Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj was lightweight but creative. And playing with a front two of Rooney and Danny Welbeck was a statement of intent.

In terms of Premier League results, it was Moyes' darkest moment. But ultimately, he picked the right team and left Villa Park with a 3-0 win and plaudits for masterminding an impressive performance.

It came at just the right time.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

On Saturday, he must do it all over again. United's better performances this season—the first half at Fulham, the demolition of Bayer Leverkusen and Aston Villa on Sunday—have come away from Old Trafford.

But if they are going to climb back up the table and into the Champions League places, that will have to change. 

Unlike Everton and Newcastle, West Ham aren't heading to Old Trafford in form. Sam Allardyce's side haven't won away from Upton Park in the league since beating Tottenham in October, and a run of one win in nine in the Premier League has seen them slip towards the relegation places. 

But Moyes' system at Old Trafford will depend on Rooney's availability. If the England striker is passed fit following the injury that kept him out of the Capital One Cup tie with Stoke on Wednesday, Moyes is likely to play with two strikers.

If he doesn't make it, the United manager may be forced to tinker with his formation and play a five-man midfield with just Welbeck up front, as he did at the Britannia Stadium.

It's unlikely Anderson will be given another opportunity after lasting less than an hour against Stoke, but Shinji Kagawa could play in front of Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones.

 

United v West Ham (possible): De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Cleverley, Jones, Kagawa, Januzaj, Valencia, Welbeck.

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