Manchester United are looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven games against a West Ham side winless in four when the two teams meet at Old Trafford on Saturday.
This week brought fresh criticism of Louis van Gaal and his ‘boring’ methods, with press reports claiming that the players felt like it was “groundhog day” on the training ground due to the repetitive nature of the Dutchman’s work.
Van Gaal will not be concerned about that, however, as long as results on the pitch continue to stay as they are; last weekend’s draw at Leicester kept them in the top three, and they still have the tightest defence in the league having conceded just ten goals so far.
The Red Devils have taken maximum points against the Hammers in the last seven meetings between the two at Old Trafford – last year’s fixtures saw the hosts win 2-1 despite a red card for Wayne Rooney.
West Ham travel north having slipped to eighth in the Premier League after failing to win since their fine 2-1 victory over Chelsea in late-October.
Last weekend, the Hammers were involved in a game of two halves against West Brom and ended up being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw; they remain just three points off the top four, but would have entered this weekend in sixth if they had held on for a win after Mauro Zarate’s fine free-kick put them ahead.
Slaven Bilic has already inspired his side to wins at the Emirates, Anfield and the Etihad this season; another success at Old Trafford will cap a successful first 15 games in charge for the Croatian boss.
The hosts will be without Wayne Rooney because of an ankle injury, while defender Marcos Rojo dislocated his shoulder in training.
Ander Herrera and Phil Jones are also unavailable, but Jesse Lingard is contention after recovering from a minor hamstring problem.
For the Irons, Diafra Sakho will be out for around three months with a thigh injury, meaning Andy Carroll should start up top at Old Trafford.
League Position: Manchester United – 3rd (28 pts); West Ham – 8th (22 pts)
Last Meeting: West Ham 1-1 Manchester United (February 8, 2015)
Form: Manchester United – WDDWWD; West Ham – WWLDWD
Key Players: Manchester United – Anthony Martial; West Ham – Manuel Lanzini
Shoot Says: Manchester United 1-0 West Ham