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Manchester United vs West Ham United – Predicted starting XI

by Tom Newbold

Sandwiched in between two tough Premier League encounters against Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur is Manchester United’s FA Cup replay with West Ham. At Old Trafford, even against a team with terrible away form, Manchester United must not be complacent. However, there is certain to be widespread rotation for the tie.


David de Gea – Despite having played every game since the before the Christmas period, de Gea will probably start on Wednesday with the absence of Anders Lindegaard.

Rafael – The young Brazilian shows little need to rest and with limited defensive options for this replay will likely start again at right-back.

Chris Smalling – Smalling is a certainty to start as he did in the initial tie. If deployed in his preferred centre-back position, expect a more assured performance from the young Englishman.

Phil Jones – With injuries to Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic, and the need to rest Rio Ferdinand, it may well be Phil Jones that comes in at centre-back.

Alexander Büttner – Another opportunity for the Dutchman to prove his worth if Patrice Evra is rested for this match.

Nani – Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the Portuguese winger will make his return against West Ham. He could be vital in the coming weeks with Ashley Young’s injury and Antonio Valencia’ downturn in form.

Anderson – With Carrick and Cleverley likely to be rested, the Brazilian may be in line to come back from injury to start this game.

Paul Scholes – Scholes is the other obvious option in central midfield to come in.

Ryan Giggs – The Welsh winger showed his quality with a wonderful assist last time Manchester United played West Ham and his experience may again be utilised in this tie.

Wayne Rooney – Another returning from injury, Rooney will feature against West Ham as he looks to gain match fitness before the game against Spurs.

Javier Hernandez – Having sat out the weekend’s encounter with Liverpool, Hernandez is likely to be given a nod ahead of van Persie and Welbeck who both started last weekend.


The diamond formation has featured often in other competitions than the Premier League this year but mostly away from home. At Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson likes to play expansively with width, and will probably opt to do that against West Ham with a 4-4-1-1 formation.

The team could be slightly disjointed with players coming back from injury but if United play with their usual expansiveness, they should dismantle West Ham. Anderson and Paul Scholes in central midfield may be able to expose West Ham through their running and passing ability, but will almost certainly need replacing as their legs begin to tire, a concern Ferguson will need to consider. Wayne Rooney is a contender to drop back in midfield should United need more energy in that area.


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