West Ham away. Fifteen points clear. Six games left. Seven points shy of title number twenty. There you go, match preview done. Need I say more?
Just in case I do, here goes…
Fergie has no new injury concerns ahead of the trip to the capital as Scholes (knee) and Young (ankle) remain sidelined. Cleverley, Evans, Giggs, Welbeck, Nani and Rafael will all be looking for a recall but, with the league offering United their only fixtures between now and the end of the season rotating the squad will become less and less necessary.
For West Ham Tomkins, Reid and McCartney are all doubtful as are Noble and Joe Cole.
As many of the older readers of this preview will recall, West Ham have previous with regards scuppering United’s Premier League title quest but I can’t really see them having too much of an impact on Wednesday evening. Ferguson showed against Stoke, even though we didn’t really set the world on fire, that he’s going for it now. Kagawa, Rooney, RVP, Valencia and Hernandez all in the same starting line up suggested that we were hunting for goals and I would expect United to line up in much the same manner with maybe a few personnel changes. Rafael could be asked to come back in at right back. This could leave Phil Jones sidelined or, possibly, shifted into midfield – a position that many fans see him making his own in the future. Former Hammer and current United ever-present, Carrick, should start as should Rooney and RVP. Where Rooney plays, however, remains a mystery. Personally, I really enjoyed seeing him deeper and, if repeated tomorrow, it would be interesting to see Welbeck partner RVP.
What They’re Saying
Vidic: Yes, you think you’re almost there but you have to win the games. Now it’s West Ham and we have to play well again. They play in a similar style to Stoke – we’re going to have long balls and set-pieces to deal with.
Allardyce: I think you have to say they are as good as they have ever been because nobody normally wins the title so easily and by so big a margin, or has this much of a margin at this stage of the season.
Rooney: We are in a great position but we have to make sure we move on and push ourselves over that line.
Evra: He said before the Stoke game that the season starts now. He has just told us to win the seven games that are left. That shows you the way he wants to win this 20th title. He told us not to think about the title, just think about winning these seven games.
Ferguson: We took 20 players with us to Stoke and those 20 players will go with us again tomorrow.
Fancy a Flutter? (odds from WilliamHill)
United to win 4-0 @22/1
West Ham to win 2-1 @14/1
West Ham winning half time, United to win by the end @20/1
Van Persie hat-trick @20/1
Rafael to score anytime in a United win @9/1
If you’re at a loose end, follow me @matthew_james7