Three days after renewing hostilities in the Premier League, Manchester United and West Ham United prepare for battle in the third round of the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
Bouncing back from their Champions League disappointment to Young Boys in ideal fashion, United have now taken 13 points from 15 on offer in the 2021-22 Premier League season, although they remain behind Chelsea and Liverpool on goal difference at this early stage.
The Red Devils have also chalked up nine goals in their two home victories over Newcastle United and Leeds United, although their last two defeats in the EFL Cup – both against Manchester City – came at Old Trafford in the semi-finals of 2019-20 and 2020-21.
While ending a five-year EFL Cup drought may be tempting to some, United’s incredibly daunting run in the league and Champions League will take precedence in the coming weeks, so West Ham’s prospects of avenging their weekend defeat are not all that unrealistic.
West Ham have only gleaned two points from their last three Premier League matches to drop to eighth in the rankings, although a trip to an under-performing Leeds United side could prove to be a prime opportunity to kickstart a revival of sorts.
The Hammers’ two most recent runs in the EFL Cup have seen them suffer crushing away defeats to Oxford United and Everton in the third and fourth rounds respectively, and they have failed to make it past round four since the 2017-18 campaign, where Arsenal sent them packing in the quarter-finals.
West Ham’s 2-1 defeat at the weekend represented their fourth consecutive defeat against the Red Devils in all competitions, and it has been 14 years since they last won at Old Trafford with that memorable Carlos Tevez winner on the final day of the 2006-07 Premier League season.
Manchester United Team News
United continue to make do without attackers Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo, but Edinson Cavani is in with a chance of featuring after a disrupted start to the new season.
Alex Telles is more of an uncertainty, while it will likely be too soon for Phil Jones to return to first-team action, so Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly could earn recalls to the defense.
The likes of Donny van de Beek, Diogo Dalot and Anthony Martial should all earn starts here, while Tom Heaton may be given the nod in between the sticks as Dean Henderson builds up his fitness.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Heaton; Dalot, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Van de Beek, Matic; Sancho, Mata, Lingard; Martial