Manchester United match preview

Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester United
Boleyn Ground
Sunday 8 February
Referee: Phil Dowd
WHUTV - Full match commentary

• West Ham United welcome Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United for the club's 13th home match of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season.

• United have won six home league matches (Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Stoke City, Fulham and Hull City), drawn one (Portsmouth) and lost five (Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa).

• The Hammers go into Sunday's match on an unbeaten run of eight matches in all competitions. United have not lost since going down 1-0 at home to Aston Villa in the Premier League on 20 December. Since then, Gianfranco Zola's team have beaten Portsmouth (4-1), Stoke City (2-1), Fulham (3-1) and Hull City (2-0), drawn at Newcastle United (2-2) and Arsenal (0-0) and knocked Barnsley (3-0) and Hartlepool United (2-0) out of the FA Cup.

• West Ham United will hope to complete a hat-trick of Premier League victories over Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground. Nigel Reo-Coker's strike secured a 1-0 victory two seasons ago, while headers from Anton Ferdinand and Matthew Upson saw the Hammers recover from a goal down to win 2-1 last term.

• West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola has a strong squad to choose from. Only Danny Gabbidon, Dean Ashton and Kieron Dyer have been unable to train this week.

• Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who has not conceded a goal for an English record 1,122 minutes, and a defence that has not let a goal in in any of the club's last 12 Premier League matches. He said: "[The record] has left Edwin revelling in a personal achievement that seems to be giving him as much pleasure as all the many honours he has won with Ajax and Juventus, as well as winning 123 caps with Holland. It's his great experience, allied to youthful enthusiasm, that marks him out as a very special goalkeeper. The defensive record is remarkable because this is the part of the team that has been most affected in recent weeks by injury Everyone has rallied round."

• Zola's side go into the match in eighth place in the Premier League table. A win could lift the Hammers above Wigan Athletic into seventh position should the Latics fail to beat Fulham on Saturday.

• Sunday's match is the eleventh of West Ham United's 25 Premier League matches to be screened live on television. The fixture will be shown live by Sky Sports.

• This is the 108th league meeting between the two sides. Manchester United have won 47, West Ham United have won 37 and there have been 23 draws.


• Sunday's referee is Phil Dowd. He turned 46 on 26 January.

• Dowd has been refereeing since 1984. He was appointed to the Football League list as an assistant referee in 1992 before becoming a referee at the age of 34 in 1997. This season is Dowd's eighth of officiating in the Premier League.

• Dowd was the fourth official for the 2006 FA Cup final between West Ham United and Liverpool.

• Dowd has taken control of 16 Premier League matches this season, including West Ham's 3-1 win over Newcastle United, the 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal in October and the 3-1 home win over Fulham last month.

• In those 16 matches, Dowd has issued 49 yellow cards and sent-off two players at an average of 3.19 cards per game.

Last time out

Saturday 31 January 2009

Barclays Premier League
Arsenal 0-0 West Ham United
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble (Savio 70), Collison, Cole, Di Michele (Boa Morte 83)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Spector, Tristan, Sears
Booked: Collins, Neill

Saturday 31 January 2009

Barclays Premier League
Manchester United 1-0 Everton
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville (Brown, 56), Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea, Ronaldo, Carrick, Fletcher (Giggs,75), Park, Berbatov, Tevez
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Welbeck, Fabio, Gibson, Eckersley
Goals: Ronaldo 44 (pen)

West Ham United

• West Ham United go into Sunday's match second in the Premier League form table, having won four and drawn two of their last six matches. Only Aston Villa, who have matched that record, and Manchester United, who have won all six, can challenge the Hammers' points total of 14 over the same period.

• Striker Carlton Cole has scored five goals in his last six Premier League matches. He is West Ham United's leading scorer this season with ten goals in all competitions.

• West Ham United's biggest ever home win over Manchester United came in the shape of a 5-1 success at the Boleyn Ground on 11 October 1930. Vivian Gibbins scored a hat-trick, while Jim Barrett and Jimmy Ruffell netted a goal apiece. The Hammers also notched up a 4-0 win on 30 October 1926, with an own goal, Tommy Yews, Vic Watson and Gibbins getting on the scoresheet.

• Midfielder Valon Behrami has won more free-kicks (63) than any other Premier League player this season.

• Goalkeeper Robert Green has not conceded a goal for 338 minutes in all competitions. Green was last beaten by Fulham's Paul Konchesky in the 22nd minute of the 3-1 win at the Boleyn Ground on 18 January. Since then, he has shut out Hartlepool United, Hull City and Arsenal.

• Green is the only West Ham United player to have played every minute of the club's 24 Premier League matches so far this season. Matthew Upson has started all 24 games, but was substituted late in the 3-1 home defeat to Everton on 8 November.

• Cole is West Ham United's statistics leader in a number of categories. The striker has had more shots in total (61), on target (35) and off target (26), more assists (five), been caught offside more times (22) and committed more fouls (52) than any other Hammers player.

• Matthew Upson has made more defensive blocks (22) and clearances (41) than any other West Ham United player.

• Spanish striker Diego Tristan scored twice in Deportivo La Coruna's 3-2 UEFA Champions League Group G win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on 17 October 2001.

Manchester United

• Manchester United go into Sunday's game on a run of 12 Premier League matches without defeat - the last seven of them being wins.

• During that time, Sir Alex Ferguson's side have not conceded a single goal - a Premier League record. Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has not had to pick the ball out of his net for 1,122 minutes since allowing Samir Nasri to score for Arsenal on 8 November. The Dutchman's streak is an English league record.

• Manchester United have had more shots on target (255) than any other Premier League team. West Ham United have had 162 shots on target this season.

• Cristiano Ronaldo has had more shots (72) than any other Premier League player. Ronaldo, with eleven, is the league's joint second highest scorer this season.

• Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has kept 16 clean sheets in the Premier League this season - three more than any other goalkeeper. Liverpool's Jose Reina has kept 13, while West Ham United's Robert Green has kept five clean sheets in the Premier League and three in his last three matches in all competitions.

• Manchester United have failed to score in just two of their previous 23 Premier League matches.

• Manchester United signed two new players in the January transfer window, bringing in Serbian youngsters Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from Partizan Belgrade. Sir Alex Ferguson also allowed Angolan forward Manucho to join Hull City on loan.

• Youngster Lee Martin celebrates his 22nd birthday tomorrow.

Team News

• Gianfranco Zola has no fresh injury concerns and could name an unchanged starting XI for the fourth consecutive Premier League match.

• January transfer window signings Savio Nsereko and Radoslav Kovac have been in training this week and are pushing for their first starts in a West Ham United shirt.

• Czech Republic international Kovac, 29, has arrived at the Boleyn Ground from Russian side Spartak Moscow on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move. The versatile former Spartak captain, who can play in defensive midfield or at the centre of defence, has been named in the Czech squad for Wednesday's friendly international in Morocco.

• Only Dean Ashton (ankle), Danny Gabbidon (stomach) and Kieron Dyer (calf) have not been in full training this week. There is no date set yet for Ashton or Gabbidon's return while it is hoped Dyer could be back in a month.

• England Under-19 James Tomkins has been troubled by a minor hamstring injury which saw him miss out on last week's draw at Arsenal.

• Sir Alex Ferguson could have Wayne Rooney at his disposal after the England striker recovered from a hamstring injury.

• Manchester United could also welcome groin strain victim Nani back from injury this afternoon, while France left-back Patrice Evra could also be back in contention following an ankle problem.

• The Red Devils will definitely be without Brazilian full-back Rafael (hamstring), defender Jonny Evans (ankle), Anderson (ankle) and England midfielder Owen Hargreaves (knee).

Last Meeting

• The teams met at Old Trafford on Wednesday 29 October 2008, with two first half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo proving to be the difference between the two sides.

• The line-ups were:

Manchester United: Kuszczak, Rafael (Neville, 81), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher (Carrick, 69), Anderson, Nani (Rooney, 70), Tevez, Berbatov
Subs not used: Foster, Giggs, Park, O'Shea
Goals: Ronaldo 14, 30

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami (Boa Morte, 44), Bowyer (Sears, 69), Mullins, Etherington (Collison, 46), Di Michele, Bellamy
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Reid

Attendance: 75,397

Old Boys

• West Ham United defender Jonathan Spector joined Manchester United as a 17-year-old in 2003. The United States international, who has a German passport, spent two seasons at Old Trafford - making eight appearances for the first team - before moving to Charlton Athletic on a season-long loan in the summer of 2005. Spector left Manchester United for West Ham United in June 2006 for an initial fee of £500,000.

• Manchester United have three former West Ham United players in their squad. England defender Rio Ferdinand made 158 appearances for the club between May 1996 and November 2000, scoring two goals. Midfielder Michael Carrick scored six goals in 159 appearances between July 1999 and May 2004. Argentina forward Carlos Tevez scored seven goals in 30 league and cup appearances during the 2006/07 season.

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Roy Carroll, Noel Cantwell, Luke Chadwick, Billy Grassam, Paul Ince, Ralph Milne, Frederick Milnes, Frank O'Farrell, Stuart Pearson, Dave Sexton, Teddy Sheringham and Raimond van der Gouw.

Head to head

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)

29 October 2008 - Manchester United 2-0 West Ham United
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

Overall record v Manchester United (all competitions) W 41 D 24 L 51

Next Up:

• West Ham United will host Middlesbrough at the Boleyn Ground in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday 14 February, kick-off 3pm

• Manchester United will travel to Derby County in the FA Cup fifth round next Saturday, kick-off 3pm

General Information

• Tickets for this fixture are now sold out. For details on getting to the Boleyn Ground click here.

• The London Underground District Line is closed between Embankment and Upminster in both directions, the Circle line is completely closed and the Jubilee Line is closed between Stratford and Green Park in both directions until 12.30pm, meaning the Hammersmith and City Line is the only line running to the Boleyn Ground.

• Any fans travelling from London Euston will need to walk from the main line station to Euston Square Underground Station and get the Hammersmith and City line direct to the stadium.

• Sunday's weather forecast is for sunny intervals, with a maximum daytime temperature of 3C.