Manchester United preview

Barclays Premier League
Manchester United v West Ham United
Old Trafford
Wednesday 29 October
Referee: Peter Walton

WHUTV - Full audio commentary


* West Ham United travel to Manchester United for their fifth away fixture of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season. An away win would move the club level with their hosts on 15 points.

* The Hammers go into the game on the back of three straight defeats. Having won two games in a row against Newcastle United and Fulham, the side lost their 100 per cent home record to Bolton Wanderers, before losses at Hull City and, most recently, at home to Arsenal on 26 October.

* After the weekend's games, West Ham United are tenth in the Barclays Premier League with four wins and five defeats and a goal difference of minus two. Champions Manchester United are sixth with four wins and three draws from their first eight games and a goal difference of plus eight.

* West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola said: "It's never a good time to play Manchester United but we have to play them - we respect them but we don't fear them. We are going to go there and play our game and we are going to try to win the game as we always try to. I'll be certainly telling the players that it is a tough match but in football everything is possible. We respect them but we will play our game and then we will see."

* The last meeting between the sides was in May at Old Trafford when the hosts ran out 4-1 winners. In the reverse fixture at the Boleyn Ground last season West Ham United secured a memorable 2-1 victory as Matthew Upson scored the winner - his first goal for the club.

* That result meant the team from east London had beaten the Red Devils three times in a row following 1-0 wins at the Boleyn Ground and Old Trafford - the latter on the 2006/07 final day to ensure the club's Premier League status was secured.

* The guests will be hoping to keep their first clean since the 1-0 win at Fulham in February.

* West Ham United are next in top-flight action on Saturday with another away trip, this time the Riverside to face Middlesbrough. Manchester United play host to Hull City the same day.

Last time out

Sunday 26 October - West Ham United 0-2 Arsenal
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Mullins, Parker (Boa Morte 77), Bowyer (Sears 89), Di Michele (Etherington 78), Bellamy, Cole
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Collison

Saturday 26 October - Everton 1-1 Manchester United
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher (Tevez 78), Giggs, Park (Anderson 67), Berbatov, Rooney (Nani 71)
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Neville, O'Shea, Evans
Goal: Fletcher 22.

Team news

* Valon Behrami is set to return after missing the Arsenal match with a slight groin problem, although Lucas Neill will not travel because of the virus that kept him out of the Arsenal game.

* Carlton Cole starts a three-match ban after his red card in that match, while Mark Noble could be out for at least three more weeks with a calf tear.

* James Collins, Lee Bowyer and Hayden Mullins will be vying to keep their places after impressing against Arsenal, while Matthew Etherington, Luis Boa Morte and Freddie Sears - all used off the bench on Sunday - could be in line to replace Cole.

* Diego Tristan will not feature as he continues to work on his fitness, although Zola has been impressed with his progress in training and he may be in contention for the weekend.

* Jonathan Spector was at the Boleyn Ground for Sunday's match and has resumed training this week. James Tomkins is back in full training after his medial knee ligament injury suffered in the summer.

* Kieron Dyer continues to build up his fitness and is expected to begin full training in three weeks. Danny Gabbidon is working hard at Chadwell Heath as he continues his recovery from an abdominal injury. Dean Ashton has begun his early rehabilitation from his left ankle injury.

* Manchester United will be hoping that midfielder Michael Carrick will be fit to face his former club following an ankle injury. Paul Scholes remains the only long-term absentee.


* The last meeting of the clubs was Manchester United's 4-1 win on 3 May this year.

The lineups were:

Manchester United: Van der Sar, Hargreaves, Brown, Ferdinand, Evra, Nani (sent off 37) Carrick, Scholes (O'Shea, 72), Park (Giggs 61), Ronaldo (Fletcher 64), Tevez
Subs not used: Anderson, Kuszczak

West Ham United: Green, Pantsil, Tomkins, Neill, McCartney, Noble, Parker, Mullins (Sears 75), Boa Morte (Solano 52), Ashton (Cole 56), Zamora
Subs not used: Walker, Collison

* Although not expected to feature, Spector would be facing the club where he began his professional career.

* Manchester United could name three former West Ham United players in their starting XI. Rio Ferdinand played 158 times for the club after graduating from the Academy. Carrick, another homegrown player, made 159 appearances, scoring six goals.

* Former Hammer of the Year Carlos Tevez only spent one season - 2006/07- at the Boleyn Ground but became a firm fans' favourite after scoring seven goals, including the winner at Old Trafford in his last game in a claret and blue jersey.

* West Ham United have enjoyed good form against their hosts in recent seasons - winning three and losing three of the last six, including a 'double' over them in the 2006/07 season.

Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)

3 May 2008 - Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United
29 December 2007 - West Ham United 2-1 Manchester United
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

Overall record v Manchester United (all competitions): W 41, D 24, L 50

Barclays Premier League fixtures

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 (8pm unless stated)

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers (7.45pm)
Bolton Wanderers v Everton
Fulham v Wigan Athletic (7.45pm)
Hull City v Chelsea (7.45pm)
Liverpool v Portsmouth
Middlesbrough v Manchester City
Stoke City v Sunderland (7.45pm)

General information

Tickets for this fixture are now sold out. For details on getting to Old Trafford, here

Weather: The forecast is for a chilly, cloudy night. The top temperature is set to be around 6C.