Date: 4th January 2013 at 7:23pm
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Friends reunited?

Tomorrow brings with it an extension to the festive season as the football season gives us one of its greatest gifts – the FA Cup. Sure there have been two rounds previous but this, the third round, is where it all happens. The footballing romantics, myself included, look forward to this competition as much as any. Will tomorrow’s fixture at Upton Park shower us in the beautiful and sublime?

Team News

Sir Alex welcomes back Vidic and Jones to an impressive looking and fully fit defence on the back of a rare clean sheet in their previous fixture. Nani, although returned to training, is not match fit but does appear to have a future at the club after Ferguson’s festive comments. Rooney continues to rest his sore knee which, according to Ferguson, will see him out until after the Liverpool game next weekend. Other than that United look in good shape.
For the Hammers, captain Kevin Nolan and defender James Collins return from suspensions and Joe Cole is in the squad to play. Carroll and Diame are still out whilst O’Brien is a doubt.

Match Facts
• United has won eight of the last nine fixtures between the two clubs.
• West Ham, however, holds a 4-3 advantage in fixtures between the two in this competition.
• West Ham has won the FA Cup three times.
• Manchester United boasts lifting the trophy eleven times – five of those under Sir Alex’s watch.
• The last six times West Ham has drawn Premiership opposition in the FA Cup they have lost.

The Match
Sir Alex Ferguson has stressed to his players, according to defender Chris Smalling, that it’s time that the club got their hands on the famous cup once more. United’s recent record in the FA Cup is poor but this is at the expense of some league titles and Champions’ League final appearances. It is entirely possible that the heady treble days of 1999 are long gone. Even though Smalling is quoted as saying “The manager has made the point to us that we have not done too well in the last few years [so] we need to make sure we get back on track in the competition,” it cannot be ignored that this fixture will be used as an opportunity to rest several players. Even though Fergie would want, in Smalling’s words, “to do well in this [the FA Cup] as well,” I’m sure he’d sacrifice a good cup run for title number twenty or, for the dreamers amongst us, European title number four. Am I hinting that Ferguson doesn’t care about the FA Cup? Not at all. If popular belief is to be, ahem, believed, then this was the cup that saved him his job and started him towards being the most successful manager these shores have ever produced. What I am alluding to is that Ferguson will use this fixture to rest several players. Near omnipotent players such as Evra, Carrick and Van Persie are sure to be rested tomorrow affording Fletcher, Buttner and Welbeck some game time. Kagawa is likely to start in an attempt to put more footballing miles on his clock, as is Jones, Vidic and maybe Smalling himself.

Match Prediction
This is going to be a tough ask as lots of players who maybe haven’t played for a while will be thrown in at Upton Park in front of a passionate crowd who will expect a result. Depending on the value that Sam Allardyce puts on this cup and, therefore, this fixture I can see this being a very tight affair indeed. United (Manchester!) to nick it 2-1.

Fancy a Flutter? (Odds supplied by WilliamHill)
• Welbeck to score and United to win @6/1
• West Ham winning half time, United to win overall @22/1
• Joe Cole to score first @12/1
• Cleverley to score first and United to win 2-1 @50/1

For more inane drivel from a Welsh Man Utd fan who plays (badly) a lot of FIFA and moans about it, follow me @matthew_james7


One response to “FA Cup Match Preview: West Ham vs Manchester United”

  1. Andrew says:

    Its amazing that we haven’t won the FA Cup since 2004. It has taken less priority over other competitions, but its still a great Cup. We did have a good record in the FA Cup during the 90’s as we won it 4 times, but only once since 1999.

    I think we have been unlucky over the last 10 years. We did win it in 2004, but then we lost the final in 2005 and 2007. I think everyone knows we were robbed by Arsenal, but that’s the risk when you don’t take your chances in games.

    I would love Man Utd to have an FA Cup run this season and go to the final. Honestly I don’t want it at the risk of us winning the Premiership, which has to be the number 1 priority this season. The Champions League is still massive as well, but I don’t know if we can win it this season. The Real Madrid game is massive though.

    In regards to tomorrows game it will be a tough match. I cannot understand how we have been drawn away to Premiership teams in our last three FA Cup games. I mean to play Man City and Liverpool away in the first two rounds last season smacks of a fix up for TV viewing benefits. We then get drawn against West Ham which is another hard match.

    I think considering the run of games we had over Christmas and New Years, we will rotate the team and use our squad. I think we have players then need to play and also players that need a rest, like Evra and Carrick. I would rather Van Perise and Hernandez started on the bench, and rested for the Liverpool and Tottenham match coming up in the Premiership.