Manchester United vs West Ham United: Things to look out for
Image courtesy of Chloe Knott / Danehouse / Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United begin their 2021/22 Carabao Cup campaign on Wednesday evening as they look to lift a trophy for the first time under the current United manager.

However, the third round match will be no easy game, with United coming up against David Moyes' West Ham – a strong, resolute side that The Red Devils narrowly defeated on Sunday afternoon thanks to a last-minute David de Gea penalty save.

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Moyes' men will be seeking vengeance on Wednesday evening after coming so close to getting a point at weekend, so Solskjaer's side will have to be fully focused if they want to avoid an upset.

The Carabao Cup has seen United fall short in the previous two semi-finals , losing to rivals Manchester City on both occasions – the team who have lifted the trophy across the past three years consecutively.

Is this the year that The Reds can finally avenge their Carabao Cup misfortunes?

Let's take a look at what United fans should be looking out for ahead of Wednesday's game:

Solskjaer confirmed on Tuesday that Jesse Lingard will be starting Wednesday evening's match against The Hammers.

Everyone will be focusing on the 28-year-old across this match due to his extremely successful loan spell at West Ham last season – a five month period in which he successfully found the back of the net nine times in a mere 16 games.

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The West Ham faithful understandably grew to love Lingard and were desperate for their club to sign the Warrington-born man in this summer's transfer window.

Unfortunately for them, Lingard was keen to stay in Manchester and get his Old Trafford career back on track.

Despite this, The London Stadium gave him an outstanding reception when he entered the fray on Sunday, only for him to break their hearts with a phenomenal winner in the 89th minute.

In fairness to Lingard, he held back his celebrations despite the goal bearing massive importance to United's season, highlighting how he developed a strong admiration for the club and the fans after they provided him with a platform to revive his career.

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The West Ham faithful will always want Lingard to be successful apart from when he comes up against their beloved team, so it will be fascinating to see what happens should he have a direct impact on Wednesday evening's result.

  • A much-changed United

Solskjaer is expected to field a much-changed side from the team that faced The Hammers on Sunday, with wholesale changes becoming a recurring theme in his side's starting XI's for cup games.

Luckily for the United boss, his squad has strength in depth and he has a vast array of talent at his disposal – and the Norwegian has already confirmed that three new faces will feature.

Having already announced that Lingard  will start on Wednesday evening, he has now also claimed that Alex Telles and Anthony Elanga will also feature, although it may not be in the starting XI.

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Both players will definitely be in the squad and are likely to play some role after they have both suffered from injury problems in recent weeks.

When speaking about Elanga in a recent interview, Solskjaer said:

"Anthony was terrific in pre-season – his attitude, his enthusiasm, his directness. I love to see players like this.

"He was disappointed not to travel down to West Ham [for Sunday's Premier League game] but he scored for the Under-23s and now he’s ready. He’ll be involved in the squad."

Wednesday's match could also see Jadon Sancho in the starting XI after he was benched for Sunday's league game, with this match looking like an ideal occasion to allow the 21-year-old to find his form in a United shirt.

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There could also be more minutes given to Donny van de Beek after he was unfortunate to be brought off against Young Boys after Aaron Wan-Bissaka's dismissal last week.

And despite the fact that we are expecting to see a different United side to the one that has been successful in the league this season, Solskjaer's men will favour their chances of progressing as they seek their first silverware under Solskjaer.

 

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