Manchester United make the long trip down to Upton Park this weekend hoping to avenge their recent poor record in the FA Cup after not reaching the final of the competition since the 2006/2007 season and not winning it since 2004. West Ham are United’s first opponents in the competition in an all Premier League clash which will no doubt be one of the games of the third round.
West Ham have had a good start to their Premier League season after promotion from the Championship in the summer of 2012. With former Bolton hard man Kevin Nolan leading the team, the Hammers have climbed to 11th in the Premier League after winning seven games out of 20.
They will be bolstered by the acquisitions of former academy star Joe Cole and Arsenal’s out of favour centre forward Marouane Chamakh. Although, Joey O’Brien, Andy Carroll and Mohamed Diame are all unavailable due to injury.
Meanwhile, Manchester United are set to welcome back Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic in defence and have no new major injury worries, although Wayne Rooney has been ruled out for another two weeks due to a knee injury which he picked up in training on Christmas day. Shinji Kagawa is expected to start behind Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck after a hectic Christmas period for United’s players, especially Robin Van Persie who has started in 21 games so far this season.
Out of their 123 meetings, Manchester United have come out on top in no less than 57 matches with West Ham United winning 42 of them and a draw being the end result in just 24 of them. This will be the eighth time the teams have met in the FA Cup.
With United hosting Liverpool in a crucial Premier League game next week in what is set to be an extremely hostile atmosphere at Old Trafford, United may be tempted to use the FA Cup as a stepping stone for the younger players although Sir Alex Ferguson has emphasised the importance of the competition to the reds.
Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United
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