West Ham United - Manchester United Preview: United must capitalise on City slip

Manchester United can break into the top four with a victory over West Ham United in the final ever match at the Boleyn Ground.

West Ham United - Manchester United Preview: United must capitalise on City slip
Image credit: VAVEL

Manchester United travel to Upton Park to face West Ham United in a match they must win to overtake Manchester City and break into the top four.

It will be the last ever game at the Boleyn Ground as United’s opponents prepare to move to the Olympic stadium next season, which is sure to make the tie even more difficult for Louis van Gaal’s side.

Despite some questionable results and form throughout the season the reds do in fact have the race for a Champions League spot in their own hands, after Manchester City opened the door wide open for LVG’s men to capitalise.

After beating Norwich and City drawing with Arsenal at the weekend United are now two points behind their neighbours and will leapfrog them if they can take all three points away from East London.

Van Gaal respectful but needs points

Van Gaal knows the value of gaining three points on Tuesday night and will be hoping to burst the West Ham bubble by replicating the kind of result that saw United dump the Hammers out of the FA Cup last month.

Ahead of the tie the Dutchman admitted that he has a lot of respect for West Ham, he said: “We are not trying to spoil their party, but we do need the three points, that is different.”

The United boss thinks that the fact it is the last game at the Boleyn Ground it will make their opponents even more dangerous, twinned with their search for revenge for the 2-1 defeat last time.

Can Van Gaal's side inflict more misery on Manchester City? | Image: Sky Sports
Can Van Gaal's side inflict more misery on Manchester City? | Image: Sky Sports

Bilic wants improvement

West Ham come into their showpiece match after suffering an unusually heavy defeat to Swansea City. The Hammers were torn apart by the Swans as they went down 4-1 leaving manager Slaven Bilic frustrated with his players, who have won many plaudits all season.

With the chance to put things right on Tuesday and get their chase for European football back on track Bilic said: “We have to play much better. I am talking about basic things that were missing against Swansea.

Manchester United have got the class and quality to kill you.”

Team news

United’s class and quality should be added to as the reds look to welcome back Marcus Rashford after he was rested against Norwich at the weekend. Hammers fans will remember the youngster well after his sublime strike made the difference in the earlier cup tie.

Anthony Martial, who missed the weekends game with a muscle injury in the warm up, is a doubt for the match. Matteo Darmian left Carrow Road in a brace after he came off injured and looks set to miss out on the tie. Luke Shaw continues his rehabilitation from a long term injury as well as Bastian Schweinsteiger ​remains absent.

West Ham will have a fully fit squad available for the tie as Bilic has no injury concerns.

Previous meetings

The Hammers haven’t beaten the reds since 2010 in a League Cup tie. Three of the last four matches have ended in draws and United have won five of their last ten meetings.