Pundit Paul Merson believes Manchester United will not be able to secure victory over West Ham United this weekend.
Jose Mourinho’s men, having raised spirits with three successive away wins, drew 1-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers and went out of the League Cup to Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the space of four days, reasserting an atmosphere of gloom around the club.
Paul Pogba’s frosty training ground exchange with Mourinho on Wednesday morning, caught on cameras and seen all over the world, has contributed to the idea that Man United are in a spell of chaos.
And Merson, predicting this weekend’s scorelines, noted that he could not envisage United beating Manuel Pellegrini’s side at the Olympic Stadium.
“Man Utd are all over the place. Last week, they drew with Wolves at home and now they’re out of the cup, and West Ham have turned a corner,” he said.
“It’s not working between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho, they don’t look happy. I’ve seen the video of Pogba coming onto the training pitch and Mourinho says something to him, so it isn’t good at all. With the results as well, it just gets blown up even more.
“If they had won their last two games, it wouldn’t be a problem, but they’re out of the title race and out of one of the cups already which they had a chance of winning. For me, it’s worrying times at Man Utd now.”
This prognosis actually makes me feel better, because Merson has never, ever correctly predicted the outcome of a game. Merson is that guy down the pub who has an answer for everything but no factual basis for his arguments. He just comes out with words, basically.
That said, the omens do not look good. This United team is playing miles below its potential and West Ham, having lost their first four games of the season, are encountering an uptick in form, recently winning convincingly at Everton and smashing eight goals past Macclesfield Town last night.
More notably, West Ham, playing a team in something of a crisis, will smell blood.