West Ham V Man Utd - Head-to-head

Paolo Di Canio Ole Gunnar Solskjaer APPEARANCESMinutes on pitch1947 1502 GOAL ATTEMPTSGoals7 12 Goals/Shots ratio15% 28% SHOOTINGShots On Target28 24 Shooting Accuracy61% 56% PASSINGGoal Assists4 7 Passing Accuracy74% 78% DISCIPLINEFouls29 19 Offsides17 11 Yellow Cards5 1 Red Cards1 0 OPTA INDEX SCORE1,064 1,214 First Goalscorer Odds15/2 4/1 Secure, tax-free online betting with www.surreySPORTS.co.uk Paolo Di Canio Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

It's a case of what might have been when Paolo Di Canio lines up against the champions at the weekend, following a 'will he, won't he' type transfer saga earlier in the campaign.

However, the enigmatic Italian is set to continue his love affair with the Hammers and was the first to dispel any romantic notions he might have been secretly harboring on Saturday: "I am very happy to play with my armband and my claret and blue shirt AGAINST Manchester United and do my best for my supporters and my team. I feel part of this squad with the shirt and I don't see why I have to change", he stated. No ambiguity there then.

By the end of December the Red Devils had off-loaded Andy Cole to Blackburn for £8 million and virtually the entire month of January was rife with rumours concerning Di Canio's proposed move to Old Trafford. But while all this was taking place off the field, on it, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made a genuine claim for a regular starting slot for United.

Between 8th December and 3rd March the Norwegian marksman featured in no fewer than 14 of the club's 16 Premiership outings - playing more than half of these fixtures in their entirety. More importantly, Solskjaer bagged nine goals during this period taking his season tally to a cool dozen. Charlton and Derby were both on the receiving end of a brace, while he also claimed half of United's magnificent six against Southampton.

Di Canio has netted five fewer than the Red Devil despite playing in excess of seven hours more football this season - although a superior 61% shooting accuracy demonstrates his potential in and around the box. Those who feel Di Canio can do what he has done four times in the last two seasons and score against the champions can get around 15/8 for their money. 

Solskjaer undoubtedly profits greater from the precision of David Beckham and Roy Keane, who have weighed in with 11 assists between them this term. However, the Norwegian international is actually the chief creator at Old Trafford to date, having set up seven strikes for his goal-hungry team-mates - three more than the Hammer.

But his maverick style is what the punters pay to see and the former Celtic hitman has not disappointed the Upton Park faithful with 131 forward forays - twice as many as Solskjaer - retaining possession 63% of the time. Saturday should dish up an intriguing clash of techniques that will leave both sets of fans enthralled - although not necessarily happy come the final whistle.

Mark Willis