Mar 22, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT
Can Manchester United carry forward the momentum sustained by advancing in the Champions League, riding it to a win over West Ham at Upton Park? (Watch live on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra).
Leaving aside the highly unlikely prospect of the Champions League trophy, all United have left to play for this year is a spot in next season’s Europa League. Currently they’re in seventh place, three points back of Everton and with one more game played. Last week’s 3-0 loss to Liverpool (complete with three penalties) must have rattled the Red Devils, but after beating Olympiakos midweek, they head to East London in much better spirits.
West Ham look solidly safe in 12th, but that’s just six points off the drop zone, and doesn’t include all those pesky make up games that Sunderland still have to play. Will Sam Allardyce play this one cautiously, not wanting his side to slip to their third straight defeat? Or will we see the Irons side that stormed to four consecutive victories (conceding just one goal in the process) before being stopped by Everton?
The visitors are without Robin van Persie up top, but rather than introducing Danny Welbeck in his place, David Moyes is keeping Wayne Rooney alone up top. He’s also using Michael Carrick at center-back. All in all, Moyes made six changes to the side that beat Olympiakos 3-0. Will they pay off?
Allardyce hasn’t made many changes to the side that lost to Stoke last time out. The attack remains the same, with Andy Carroll up top and Mohamed Diamé, Kevin Nolan and Stewart Downing supporting. Antonio Nocerino and Winston Reid drop to the bench, with Jameses Tomkins and Collins replacing.
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Collins, Taylor, McCartney, Noble, Tomkins, Diame, Nolan, Downing, Carroll
Subs: Reid, Jarvis, Armero, Jaaskelainen, C.Cole, J.Cole, Nocerino
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Carrick, Buttner; Mata, Fletcher, Fellaini, Young; Kagawa; Rooney
Subs: Evra, Lindegaard, Chicharito, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley, Januzaj
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