Two teams in need of points but for very different reasons will lock horns for a vital Premier League encounter on Sunday evening, with Manchester United heading to West Ham United.
Man United are currently fourth in the Premier League table, now only four points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, while West Ham occupy 15th, just four points clear of the relegation zone.
Preview: West Ham vs. Man Utd – prediction, team news, lineups
Seven points from their three league games against Fulham, Arsenal and Bournemouth between April 8 and April 23 appeared to ease any relegation fears for West Ham, but three straight losses to Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Manchester City have pulled them firmly back into the battle.
The Hammers were on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller with Palace last weekend before suffering a 3-0 defeat to the champions Man City on Wednesday evening, with the result leaving them in 15th spot in the table, four points ahead of 18th-placed Nottingham Forest.
David Moyes’s side will face Man United (H), Brentford (A), Leeds United (H) and Leicester City (A) in their final four league games of the season, but they are also in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League, preparing to welcome AZ Alkmaar for the first leg of their last-four contest next Thursday.
West Ham cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball in the league, though, as defeats in their next two would put immense pressure on them heading into games against Leeds and Leicester, who are also both battling to avoid being relegated to the Championship.
Moyes’s side have only picked up 22 points from their 17 home league games this season but will take encouragement from the fact that Man United have lost seven times on their travels in England’s top flight during the 2022-23 campaign, including at Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday.
Man United appeared to have settled for a point against Brighton at the Amex, but the Seagulls had other ideas as they continued to push for a winner. A late Luke Shaw handball inside the penalty box gave the hosts the chance to win it from the penalty spot, and Alexis Mac Allister netted his spot kick in the 99th minute to spark wild celebrations inside the stadium.
Erik ten Hag’s side remain in a strong position to secure a top-four spot, sitting fourth in the table, four points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand, but another defeat in this match would leave them incredibly vulnerable, especially as the gap could be cut to one point on Saturday, with Liverpool welcoming Brentford to Anfield.
The Red Devils have had a knack of bouncing back from poor results, and the club’s supporters will be demanding a response at the London Stadium on Sunday ahead of their final four league games of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers (H), Bournemouth (A), Chelsea (H) and Fulham (H).
Man United, who will face Manchester City in the FA Cup final at the start of June, have been impressive at Old Trafford this season, picking up 39 points from 16 matches, losing just one of their 16 matches, but their away form in the league is a real concern, winning just one of their last five.
The 20-time English champions have won their last three matches against West Ham, though, including two games this season – beating the Hammers 1-0 at Old Trafford in the league back in October before triumphing 3-1 in the same stadium in the FA Cup at the start of March.
West Ham United Premier League form:
West Ham United form (all competitions):
Manchester United Premier League form:
Manchester United form (all competitions):
West Ham will hope to recover Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Nayef Aguerd, with the trio unavailable against Man City last time out through illness; all three were back at the training ground on Friday and are expected to feature in the XI for this game.
However, Vladimir Coufal tweaked a hamstring against the Citizens and will miss out, while Gianluca Scamacca and Kurt Zouma are unavailable for selection against Ten Hag’s side.
There will be changes from the side that started at the Etihad Stadium, with Rice, Soucek and Aguerd all likely to return, while Said Benrahma could also replace Pablo Fornals in an attacking position.
Man United, meanwhile, could welcome Alejandro Garnacho back into their squad for this match, with the talented teenager back in first-team training after recovering from an ankle injury.
Red Devils head coach Ten Hag is expected to make changes to the side that started against Brighton, with Jadon Sancho and Christian Eriksen potentially replacing Anthony Martial and Fred, while Marcel Sabitzer will also be in contention for a midfield role.
Harry Maguire was an unused substitute on Thursday despite the absences of Martinez and Varane, and it is once again expected to be Victor Lindelof and Shaw in the middle of the Man United defence here.
West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Kehrer, Ogbonna, Aguerd, Emerson; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma; Antonio
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Shaw, Dalot; Fernandes, Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Rashford, Sancho
We say: West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United
Man United have not lost to West Ham in the Premier League since September 2019, winning seven of their last eight games against the Hammers in all competitions.
The Red Devils have struggled to play their best football on the road this season, but West Ham are not in good form, and we are tipping Ten Hag’s side to navigate their way to a huge three points this weekend.