West Ham v Manchester United: Enjoy a Stratford spectacular

West Ham v Manchester United: Enjoy a Stratford spectacular

Hammers boosted by European success

As opening night displays go, West Ham’s European curtain-raiser was a command performance, as they won 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb in the Croatian capital. They could have been forgiven for having some jitters in their first foray into the Europa League’s group stage, but David Moyes’s men played with control, panache and confidence. Michail Antonio seized on a poor back-pass from ex-Cardiff defender Kevin Theophile-Catherine to open the scoring, and Declan Rice scored the kind of individual goal that gets replayed over and over again.

The Hammers will be without the talismanic Antonio for their clash with Manchester United, as he got himself sent off in rather silly fashion at the end of the goalless draw at Southampton. However, although he is very important to the way West Ham play, they still have plenty of attacking talent. Spanish star Pablo Fornals has recently found the net for club and country, Said Benrahma has racked up two goals and two assists, and while Jarrod Bowen isn’t as good an attacking focal point as Antonio is, he’s still make a strong start to the season.

It’s taken a while, but it now seems like the Hammers’ fanbase has truly settled in at the London Stadium, and Moyes’ men have picked up eight wins in their last 13 PL games there. Overall, West Ham have made an unbeaten start to the campaign, with two league wins and two draws.

Angelo Ogbonna, Craig Dawson, Vladimir Coufal and Benrahma could all come in for starts, although new signing Kurt Zouma will hope to keep his place after a find performance in Zagreb.

United reeling after feeling the Berne

Before his side tumbled to an embarrassing and potentially damaging Champions League reverse at Young Boys of Berne, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had pointed out that there can no longer be any excuses for his team not to challenge for trophies. The Norwegian is right – after a transfer window that delivered Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, there is nowhere to hide for a coach that is yet to win a major trophy as United boss.

Yes, United were reduced to 10 men in the first half after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s clumsy lunge, but what followed has sparked a debate about Solskjaer’s coaching ability. His supporters will point to the red card and the dreadful back-pass from Jesse Lingard that gifted Young Boys their winner, but his detractors will criticise the switch to a five-man back line, and the inability to pose a threat in attack despite a clear technical superiority.

Ronaldo has made a perfect start from a personal standpoint, whacking in three goals in two games, but it remains to be seen how powerful a figure he will be in the dressing room. Even by accident, the Portuguese icon may erode Solskjaer’s authority. If Ronaldo wants to start a game, regardless of his fitness levels and Solskjaer’s plans, is the Norwegian really going to say no?

Scott McTominay and Alex Telles are back in training, but it remains to be seen if they are fit enough for this game. Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford are definitely out.

Visitors are a bit too short

Although Manchester United have put together an English record of 28 away league games without defeat, I’m not sure I can get on board with them as winners at 1.865/6. The Red Devils were below par at Southampton and Wolves, and although they took four points from those games, they could have lost either or both.

Even though West Ham are without Antonio, they’ll be pumped up by their performance against Dinamo Zagreb, and I think they are capable of grabbing at least a point here. You can back Home and Draw in the Double Chance market at 2.1411/10.

Both teams can find the net

West Ham have scored in 15 of their last 19 PL matches, and they have found the net in 18 of their last 20 top-flight games at the London Stadium. 16 of their last 24 PL matches have seen both teams find the net.

You can back BTTS at 1.748/11, but I’ll go slightly bigger and go for Over 2.5 Goals at 1.84/5.

If you want to combine a bet that gets BTTS and West Ham to avoid defeat onside, use the Sportsbook’s Bet Builder to back Both Teams To Score and West Ham/Draw Double Chance at 2.77/4.

Ronaldo to extend his streak?

If you think Ronaldo’s rip-roaring start will continue, you can back him to score at 10/11 on the Sportsbook, or go for the ever-dangerous Bruno Fernandes at 7/5.

On the West Ham side of things, the tricky Benrahma is 9/2, and set-piece threat Tomas Soucek (getting on the end of them, not taking them) is 4/1.