Man Utd recover to overcome Brentford
Manchester United recovered after being rescued by the heroics of goalkeeper David de Gea to run out comfortable 3-1 winners at Brentford on Wednesday night. Ralf Rangnick's side survived a torrid opening 45 minutes as the Spanish stopper made key saves to thwart the Bees with United lacking urgency, aggression and any shred of creativity early on.
However, it was a different story after the break as the Red Devils turned up the intensity and the quality to punish Brentford for their profligacy. Teenager Anthony Elanga headed home before Cristiano Ronaldo's superb chest pass helped Bruno Fernandes set up the second unselfishly for Mason Greenwood. Substitute Marcus Rashford then added a third.
Rangnick was pleased with his team's response in the second-half. He said, "I wouldn't say [we had] a strong conversation but obviously we had to change a few things - in the first half we were not good in almost all aspects. In the second half, we were more urgent, we were attacking them higher, we were taking up the right positions. This was the big difference."
West Ham suffer surprise defeat
West Ham's hopes of achieving a top-four finish were derailed last weekend as the Hammers' three-game winning streak was halted by Leeds at the London Stadium. David Moyes' men were turned over 3-2 in a thrilling encounter with disorganised defending and a less than fluent performance in the final-third combining towards a disappointing display.
Speaking post-match, Moyes suggesting his squad weren't physically ready for the fixture. He said, "I have to give credit to our players as to play Leeds one Sunday and then the next with the Premier League putting a game in between, it's really difficult. Leeds didn't have a game and we did. Is it an excuse? Yeah, a little but I think it's a fair one."
Without a midweek match, a rested West Ham hope to have midfielder Tomas Soucek available again for Saturday, whilst Kurt Zouma is also making positive progress on the comeback trail. However, no major changes are expected from the Hammers with Angelo Ogbonna and Mark Noble sidelined and Said Benrahma away on international duty.
Manchester United have won 20 of their last 25 home Premier League contests with West Ham (W20-D3-L2) and are unbeaten in 13 league match-ups with the Hammers here since 2007. However, the visitors were 1-0 victors here in the League Cup earlier this season - only three teams have ever won twice away against the Red Devils in the same campaign.
Man Utd 1.981/1 are trading at their biggest-ever price at home to West Ham and it's still difficult to be seduced by the odds on offer. The hosts have won just 48% of Old Trafford tussles since the start of last season and that includes a W3-D3-L7 return when taking on top-half teams. United managed only two clean sheets in that 13-game sample.
West Ham 4.003/1 boast the division's four-best road record (W6-D2-L3), although all three defeats came at top-half teams this term. Nevertheless, the Irons rank above United in terms of Expected Points (xP) and Expected Goals (xG) supremacy, suggesting the market could even be tiered more towards David Moyes' outfit ahead of Saturday's clash.
Surprisingly, since Manchester United trounced Leeds and Newcastle in their opening two home Premier League outings this season, the Red Devils have toiled in the final-third at Old Trafford. United have scored just eight goals in their last eight home league games. Even so, goals are expected this weekend with Both Teams To Score particularly appealing at 1.705/7.
The Red Devils have record only four league clean sheets in 2021/22 - including just one at home - as both sides have obliged in 62% of United's Premier League matches. West Ham have found the back of the net in all bar four of their league dates, whilst four of their five shutouts arrived against bottom-half dwellers. The Hammers boast a 68% BTTS success-rate.