A tame first half of football in the first FA Cup quarter final game between the sides at Old Trafford came to life late in the second half, as a cup hungry Manchester United side came from a goal down against West Ham United to equal the tie at 1-1; forcing a replay to decide the final outcome.
With the first game forgotten, the two Premier League sides go head to head once more on Wednesday night as they battle for a place in the semi finals at Wembley. The spotlight will be on West Ham as the FA Cup bids its final farewell to the Boleyn Ground, and the Hammers look to maintain their superb run of form.
It’s rare to describe a cup tie as lifeless, but that’s just what the first half was for the two teams as they fought at Old Trafford. The first half seemed to be a period for both teams to get to grips with the game, as both resisted from taking the reins to control it.
Deep within the second half, Dimitri Payet stepped up to take a free kick, the Frenchman made no mistake, as expected, as he placed the ball in the top corner from 30 yards out, too far from David De Gea’s reach.
The wonder strike brought the game to life, as Manchester United stepped up their game and looked for a lifeline to provide their home support with. Anthony Martial was the man to do so, scoring in the 83rd minute of play with United’s first shot on target. Both the Hammers and the home team came close to scoring again, but the referee blew his whistle at 1-1, taking the replay to the Boleyn Ground.
The final battle
Taking the game to a replay was not all bad for Slaven Bilic’s team. West Ham are unbeaten in their last sixteen home games, winning nine and drawing seven. With the home support in full voice for the final time in the FA Cup, you’d expect the Hammers to be favourites to progress to the semi finals.
Manchester United go into the game with a sense of revenge after their recent trip to London last weekend, as they were assassinated in six minutes by a rampant Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. West Ham return to the Boleyn Ground after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal, coming from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 before a late Arsenal equaliser shared the points. West Ham have fallen just twice in their last twenty four games in all competitions, winning ten of them.
After his heroics against Arsenal in the Premier League, Andy Carroll looks certain to lead the line as Diafra Sakho is sidelined once more. James Collins will miss the game due to injury, despite recently returning to training. Sam Byram also returns from injury, but will also miss the game due to being cup tied.
Louis Van Gaal’s injury woes continue, as budding full-back Timothy Fosu-Mensah was injured in United’s away defeat to Tottenham last weekend. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luke Shaw and Adnan Januzaj will all miss the game due to injury; however captain Wayne Rooney may be in contention for the visitors, as will Phil Jones.
West Ham United: Randolph; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble; Valenica, Lanzini, Payet; Carroll.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rojo, Blind, Smalling, Varela; Martial, Fellaini, Carrick, Herrera, Lingard; Rashford.
The FA Cup is the only chance of silverware for both West Ham and Manchester United; West Ham look to complete their fantastic season with a Europa League spot and a cup run, Manchester United look to do the same after their below average campaign. Kick is at 19:00 BST.