Flash back nearly 10 years and United fans will remember the sight of Di Canio sliding the ball past Fabien Barthez to knock the Red Devils out of the FA Cup. A shock in every sense of the word. If tonight’s Premier League match follows suit, it will be hard to find a word to sum it up.
West Ham are battling for their Premiership status, while United are up against it and cannot afford to drop anymore points if they hope to challenge Chelsea for the title. Worryingly for Zola’s men, United have a tendency to avenge defeats in a ruthless manner. After their weekend loss at Everton, United will be out to prove a point and will have no sympathy for The Hammers despite their relegation worries. West Ham did themselves no harm with a comfortable win over Hull and will be full of confidence coming into the game.
Rio Ferdinand is set to line up against the team that kick-started his career. He could partner Nemanja Vidic if Sir Alex Ferguson decides the player is fit to start. An interesting decision for the Scot could be whether to rest Wayne Rooney. The player has been in sparkling form but Ferguson may want to give him a chance to recharge his batteries in a match that United should be able to win without him. It could provide Berbatov and Owen with a chance to stretch their legs and ultimately re-gain some much needed confidence.
West Ham midfielder Kieron Dyer will hope to be in contention after returning to training over the weekend. New signing Benni McCarthy is not expected to make his comeback, while Danny Gabbidon has yet to fully recover from a hamstring complaint.
Herita Ilunga is also still sidelined with a tendon injury and Luis Boa Morte, Calum Davenport and Zavon Hines are all long-term absentees.
Probably starting XI’s
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher, Valencia, Berbatov, Rooney.
West Ham: Green, Behrami, Tomkins, Upson, Spector, Kovac, Parker, Faubert, Franco, Diamanti, Cole.
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