Three key battles in Man United v West Ham United

Tom Phillips examines three key battles that should emerge in Man United v West Ham United

Smalling v Carroll

With Diafra Sakho confirmed injured and set for surgery, West Ham may need to look towards Andy Carroll upfront. With Mauro Zarate favoured for more of a midfield role under Slavan Bilic, Carroll may well be the manager’s only option in attack for the game at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling, however, will be the in-form player out of the two. Finding his stride under Louis van Gaal, the defender has been dominating in defence and could be difficult to beat.

Lingard v Jenkinson

Carl Jenkinson is not in the best of form at the moment. The defender played a part in the Irons’ drubbing at Spurs just a few weeks ago and they haven’t kept a clean sheet since September. The defender is currently at a low point in his form which could be punished by new favourite Jesse Lingard. The youngster has been favoured in front of summer signing Memphis Depay by Van Gaal and he certainly has not disappointed. Lingard has been in good form and is showing encouraging signs to the United faithful. He has tbe perfect opportunity to take advantage of Jenkinson’s form if the defender fails to live up to the mark again.

Schweinsteiger v Kouyate

The battle of midfield is always a crucial one in any football match and here we have two competent midfielders. Bastian Schweinsteiger with his wealth of experience is expected to do the simple jobs required from the manager to get three points. His knowledge and reading of the game makes him one of the best in the business so high standard needs to be met by Cheikhou Kouyate on Saturday. The West Ham man has been the heart of Bilic’s midfield so far this season and has started all games bar one in the league – against Man City. The 25-year-old will have to match Schweinsteiger and implement his style of play early on, otherwise he will end up chasing the game away as the United midfield dominate with the help of the German.

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