It has been a bit of a baptism of fire for David Moyes and his Manchester United side this season. They are some 12 points away from the top four and are in real danger of missing out on Champions League football next season.
This weekend’s fixture represents the best chance West Ham have had in a long time to beat United, even though we have failed to pick up any points in March, there are still very obvious chinks in the Red Devils’ armour. It has been a record breaking season for the Red Devils already, with a number of teams picking up their first wins for decades over David Moyes’ side. West Ham should, therefore, be looking to go one better than the impressive 2-2 draw the Hammers picked up at the Boleyn last season against United
The defeat at Stoke means the Hammers still require another three wins to be 100 per cent safe, with Hull to come on Wednesday this is a chance to pick up some bonus points ahead of that very winnable fixture. This piece may come across as me being somewhat overconfident, especially as the Irons have lost two on the spin, but United are definitely there for the taking.
At home with a boisterous home crowd behind them there is no reason why the Hammers can’t claim a memorable home win. Defensively Manchester United have been breachable, and it is a game that Downing, Jarvis and Carroll must believe they have a chance to make an impression.
Carroll must throw his weight around and get involved, the Hammers have to make the most of their possession as even a struggling United side keep the ball very well. I remember being confident ahead of the clash at Old Trafford this season, but that day we were poor in possession and played off the park in truth.
Keeping the ball in any proximity is something Allardyce and his players must work on in training and we must cut out the sloppiness that has crept into our game this month. There are, after all, only so many chances you can gift to teams like Manchester United, especially with Rooney and Van Persie up front.
The last two fixtures at the Boleyn against the Red Devils have seen the Hammers push Manchester United all the way, and both have finished 2-2 with late Van Persie strikes, albeit the league game last season you can’t help but feel we were “robbed” due to the Dutchman standing in an offside position. You would like to think the players would enter this clash with confidence as well as a sense of wanting revenge for that result. The Hammers deserved to win that day and will be looking to go one better this weekend.
We must look to capitalise on United’s “weak areas”. It seems odd writing that about a Manchester United side but the Hammers must look to bully Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. I watched the West Brom game which the Red Devils won 3-0 but the Baggies could easily have picked up a point because they got in the faces of United and had they taken their chances, it could have been a very different scoreline.
It really is a game in which Carroll can throw his hat back into the ring for a World Cup place. Should he impress against two centre backs that could well be on the plane to Brazil, it could well put him back ahead of Rickie Lambert in the race to Brazil. The Hammers faithful will just hope he can find a little form and go on a bit of a run after his first goal of the season against Stoke last week.
I believe Carroll will have the beating of Jones and Smalling should he be at the races. It is his big chance and I’m sure he will want to grab it with both hands.