West Ham United-Manchester United Preview
LONDON (SE) - Premier League leaders Manchester United will be looking to continue their strong start to the season when they welcome West Ham United to Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
United came from behind to win 3-1 against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, but West Ham are likely to be a tougher test. The Hammers have 19 points on their return to the Premier League to lie in the top half of the table, and striker Andy Carroll scored his first goal for the club in the otherwise disappointing 3-1 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday.
"I'm just grateful to have got off the mark and hopefully there will be more to come this week," said Carroll after the game at White Hart Lane. "I think I've put myself about and been involved in our goals in previous matches. I think I've been doing well so it was about time one went in.
"We have got a tough week with Manchester United and then Chelsea and Liverpool coming up. It'll be tough so we just have to put this behind us now and focus on Wednesday. This game is all gone now so we're going to have to concentrate 100% on Wednesday, which is going to be another tough game."
Carroll has failed to score in six previous games against United, but Sir Alex Ferguson is aware that the striker will be difficult to deal with.
"He'd played not a lot of games for Newcastle and had to deal with a £35m transfer to a club like Liverpool," said Ferguson when asked about the England international. "He was young and it was quite a big jump for him for that kind of money. We've gambled on young players in the past, a couple of million, something like that.
"Now it's up to the boy to improve himself. He's a great header of the ball and very aggressive. He'll be a handful on Wednesday."
Antonio Valencia (thigh) and Nani (hamstring) are doubtful for United, while Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic are both out with knee injuries. United manager Ferguson revealed that he is planning on using Anderson in midfield after praising the Brazilian's impact against QPR.
"I thought Ando won the game for us," said Sir Alex. "His performance was outstanding. He took the game by the scruff of the neck and he was so positive and determined in his play that he picks himself on Wednesday."
West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) and Jack Collison (knee) are out, and the game may come too soon for Yossi Benayoun's return from a knee injury. Allardyce withdrew Modibo Maigi after just 31 minutes in the defeat to Spurs, and his replacement Matt Jarvis will be hopeful of starting at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have gone behind in their last three league games and have gone six games without a clean sheet. However, they have won all of their last seven league meetings with West Ham, and beat the London side 3-0 in this fixture last season. Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals in his last four league games against the Hammers.