Manchester United host West Ham United for the second time in four days on Wednesday, in a EFL Cup quarterfinal which is very much box office.
United and West Ham drew 1-1 on Sunday, a game which the Manchester side should have wrapped up long before the final whistle, which will only spur them on to progress to the final four.
As a result, the hosts at least, will play a fairly strong line-up and while the Hammers may spring a surprise, the Red Devils have enough quality to see them off.
The woes continue for the erstwhile ‘Kings of England’ in the 2016/17 season, as a league position of sixth after 13 games played is certainly not what Jose Mourinho was hired for.
The Portuguese tactician has already been banned by the FA once but on Sunday made things worse for himself, kicking a water bottle on the sidelines, getting sent-off in the process.
His frustration stems from the fact that while United aren’t losing too many games, their number of draws is unacceptably high. The Red Devils simply fail to finish off opponents, despite dominating games.
They did, however, manage a morale-boosting 2-1 win over Manchester City earlier in the EFL Cup, a result which would be rendered meaningless should the fail to win on Wednesday.
Youngsters Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been highly inconsistent while summer signings Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders either. Bastian Schweinteiger may just start
Their 4-2-3-1 formation isn’t going to change, but the likes of Luke Shaw, Mkhitaryan and Wayne Rooney are set to start.
Paul Pobga and Marouane Fellani are unavailable after picking up their fifth bookings of the season, while the defensive duo Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling remain on the casualty list.
With United so short in midfield, outcast Bastian Schweinsteiger may just make a shock start, a move which will warm the hearts of many United fans.
The Hammers have had a troubled second season under talismanic manager Slaven Bilic, flirting rather closely with relegation despite having a talented squad at hand.
Injuries and a lack of form have crippled the Londoners who are winless in their last four games in the Premier League.
Bilic’s 3-4-3 formation has been shipping too many goals and his forward line has disappointed for the most part to further compound his misery.
Michail Antonio and Dimitri Payet are the only players who have been in some semblance of form and the two are the main threats the Hammers posses.
Diafra Sakho scored against United on Sunday but suffered a hamstring injury midway during the game and is certain to miss out on Wednesday’s tie. Andy Carrol is in contention to return to first-team action, in what is a big-boost for the capital club.
Super Stat: The last time the sides met in the League Cup, West Ham ran out 4-0 winners in a fourth-round fixture at West Ham’s old ground, Upton Park!