Manchester United match preview

West Ham United v Manchester United
Barclays Premier League
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

WHUTV - Full audio commentary, plus see Alan Curbishley's pre-match press conference, along with a review of the year by Tony Gale and Tony Cottee. You can also check out the Premier Class Search channel as well to relive last season's two memorable games with United.

Team news

Anton Ferdinand, fit again after a hamstring injury, is in contention for a starting place after being an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw against Reading on Boxing Day, although Jonathan Spector has impressed in the last two games at centre-back alongside Matthew Upson. Carlton Cole and Dean Ashton could continue in attack, although the former had to come off against Reading and had been struggling before that game with illness.

Curbishley has also reported positive progress on Julien Faubert, Calum Davenport, Lee Bowyer and Matthew Etherington with all back in full training, although it is thought Saturday's game and the trip to Arsenal on New Year's Day could be too soon. Danny Gabbidon and James Collins are also in light training after overcoming groin troubles. Bobby Zamora (knee) and Craig Bellamy (abdominal strain) are still working hard with their respective rehabilitations.

United have Ji-sung Park fit again after nine months out with a knee injury. Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to continue with Tomasz Kuszczak in goal because of Edwin van der Sar's groin injury. Owen Hargreaves is also available after a back problem. Patrice Evra, Carlos Tevez, Ryan Giggs and Anderson were rested for the 4-0 victory at Sunderland on 26 December. Sir Alex also expects Wayne Rooney, who struck his first goal in that midweek win since an ankle injury, to get back in the scoring groove.


Having memorably won both games against Manchester United 1-0 last season, the Hammers are hopeful of repeating the trick this time around. The Boleyn Ground fixture on 17 December 2006 was Curbishley's first game in charge and saw Nigel Reo-Coker score a 75th-minute winner.

The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Spector, Ferdinand, Collins, Konchesky, Bowyer, Reo-Coker, Mullins (Benayoun 71), Etherington (McCartney 77), Harewood, Zamora (Sheringham 59)
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Heinze (Park 88), Ronaldo, Carrick (O'Shea 84), Scholes, Giggs (Solskjaer 73), Rooney, Saha.

Curbishley's current side are in fine league form, with four wins and four draws from the last ten fixtures. The only two reverses came against strong opposition in the form of Chelsea and Everton, while the club have taken four points from their last two fixtures. A 2-1 win at Middlesbrough last Saturday was followed by the draw against Reading.

The Hammers have still not lost in all nine league games this season when they have taken the lead while the Boro success was the first comeback win of the campaign. Victory could take the club up to ninth in the table with Blackburn Rovers not playing until Sunday's trip to Derby County. Leaders United are out to end the year as they started it - in first place. The Red Devils have won their last two away fixtures without conceding - namely the 4-0 and 1-0 successes at Sunderland and Liverpool.

George McCartney is bidding to make his 23rd appearance this season in all competitions - and is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every game to date, starting in each one. In terms of the Premier League, only Robert Green and Upson have played every minute of the 18 matches. Ashton, with five goals, is the club's leading scorer in all competitions. Ronaldo is United's leading marksman this season, with 17 goals, of which 12 have come in the top flight.

As a teenage prospect, Jonathan Spector made three appearances for United between 2003 and 2006. United have three players hoping to play against their former club in the shape of Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and, of course, Tevez. Ferdinand played 127 league matches in claret and blue between 1995 and 2001 after coming through the ranks, while another Academy graduate Carrick figured in 136 league outings between 1999 and 2004. Tevez scored seven goals in 26 league games last season, of which he started 19.

Last six league meetings

13 May 2007 - Manchester United 0-1 West Ham United
17 December 2006 - West Ham United 1-0 Manchester United
29 March 2006 - Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
27 November 2005 - West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United
14 December 2002 - Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United
17 November 2002 - West Ham United 1-1 Manchester United

All-time record v Manchester United (all competitions) - W40 D24 L49

Other Saturday fixtures (all 3pm unless stated)

Birmingham City v Fulham
Chelsea v Newcastle United
Everton v Arsenal (5.15pm)
Portsmouth v Middlesbrough
Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers
Tottenham Hotspur v Reading
Wigan Athletic v Aston Villa

General information

Please note this game is SOLD OUT. For more information about ticketing, click here and for details of getting to the Boleyn Ground, click here

Weather: The forecast is for an overcast day in east London with rain expected. The temperature is set to peak at around 10C.