West Ham United welcome supporters back to London Stadium for the first time since 29 February for Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Manchester United.
Some 279 days after a capacity crowd cheered David Moyes’ side to a 3-1 win over Southampton, 2,000 fans will be present to watch the in-form Hammers take on the Red Devils. If you are attending Saturday’s game, please click here to visit our matchday Hammers Hub.
Since then, West Ham have played ten Premier League matches at London Stadium behind-closed-doors as the world came to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic and followed its associated guidelines, winning five, drawing two and losing three.
The Irons go into Saturday’s 5.30pm kick-off in good form, having won their last three Premier League matches and lost just one of their last eight. Manchester United, meanwhile, are on a record run of eight straight away Premier League wins dating back to January.
West Ham begin the weekend fifth in the table and a win over Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side would take them as high as third, just a point behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur and second-place Chelsea, who each play later in the weekend.
The Hammers will be supporting the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign at Saturday’s game, with a variety of activations around London Stadium, while the two captains will wear rainbow armbands.
You can order a copy of the 116-page Official Programme for your collection here. Cashless sellers will be at London Stadium on Saturday, situated on the Stadium island between Bridge 1 and the turnstiles, so please buy your Programme before entering the Stadium bowl. A FREE digital edition is available to read online on whufc.com from 7pm on Friday.
Live from London Stadium
Don't miss the launch of our new matchday show on Saturday - Live from London Stadium!
Starting with the visit of Manchester United, we'll guide you through all the build-up live and direct from pitchside.
Joining our hosts Chris Scull, YouTuber JaackMaate and Carlton Cole on Saturday, is James Collins as we kick-off your matchday in perfect style.
The panel will be discussing all things West Ham United, bringing you interviews, pre-match build-up, team news and more to get you in the mood for the game.
The Premier League and its clubs have worked in partnership with the lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT+) charity Stonewall since 2017, with the overall aim of increasing inclusivity in sport.
While the Premier League holds a week of action every season, the work to encourage LGBT+ acceptance across football continues all year round.
Education programmes such as Premier League Primary Stars and Premier League Kicks work with young people, as do club’s individual Academies.
LGBT+ inclusion is also a key element of player care and support programmes, available for all team age groups across all 20 Premier League clubs.
This week, all clubs will show their support for Rainbow Laces at their home matches using Rainbow Laces ball plinths, handshake boards and substitutes’ boards, digital screens and LED perimeter boards.
There will also be rainbow armbands for captains, rainbow laces and pin badges to let everyone present show their support.
For more information about Rainbow Laces, visit stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/rainbow-laces
West Ham United’s only concern is Ukrainian forward Andriy Yarmolenko , who tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Ukraine in November.
Manchester United are sweating on the fitness of England forward Marcus Rashford, who suffered a shoulder injury in UEFA Champions League action against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.
Left-back Luke Shaw is hoping to recover from a thigh injury, but centre-back Phil Jones is out until after Christmas with a knee problem.
The opposition – Manchester United
It used to be the case that Manchester United were simply unbeatable at Old Trafford in the Premier League, but now it is the case that Manchester United are simply unbeatable away from home in the Premier League.
The Red Devils have won each of their last eight top-flight games on their travels dating back to a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on 19 June – their first fixture following the Premier League’s restart – and have not lost on the road since a 2-0 defeat at Liverpool on 19 January, nearly eleven months ago!
Since that reverse, Manchester United have played eleven away Premier League matches, winning nine, including the last eight in a row.
During that eight-game run, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side has scored 23 goals, with Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes netting nine of them.
To put the visitors’ away form into context, the 26-year-old was not even a Manchester United player the last time they lost on the road, having signed from Sporting Lisbon on 30 January. Since then, he has played 36 times in all competitions and scored 22 goals.
Fernandes has been joined in attack by the experienced Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, who joined the club on a one-year contract at the start of October.
At 33, the former Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain forward still has plenty to offer, as he showed with two predatory finishes in the come-from-behind 3-2 win at Southampton last weekend.
With England international Marcus Rashford also in good form, West Ham United will need to be at their best to prevent Manchester United making it nine away Premier League wins in a row.
West Ham United and Manchester United meet in the Premier League for the 49th time on Saturday evening.
The visitors have had the best of things by far down the years, winning 28 of the 48 previous meetings, while the Hammers have won seven, with 13 draws.
Of those seven wins, two have come in each of the last two meetings here at London Stadium – 3-1 in May 2018 and 2-0 in April 2019.
Should the Irons win tonight, it would be the first time since the 1975/76, 1976/77 and 1977/78 seasons that West Ham have won three straight home top-flight games against the Red Devils and the fourth time overall. It previously happened in 1929/29, 1929/30 and 1930/31 and in 1958/58, 1959/60 and 1960/61.
David Moyes has faced Manchester United 28 times during his managerial career, 24 of them with Everton, two with Sunderland and two with West Ham United, winning four, drawing seven and losing 17.
Moyes also managed Manchester United 51 times during the 2013/14 season, winning 26, drawing ten and losing 15, including home and away Premier League victories over West Ham.
By the numbers
10 Sir Geoff Hurst scored ten of his 249 career goals for West Ham United against Manchester United – more than any other Hammer. Among those ten, Sir Geoff netted in the FA Cup semi-final win over the Red Devils at Hillsborough in March 1964, and twice in a 3-2 First Division win over United at the Boleyn Ground on 30 April 1966 – his final home appearance before winning the FIFA World Cup with England!
5-1 West Ham United scored their biggest-ever Football League or Premier League win over Manchester United on 11 October 1930, when Vivian Gibbins (pictured) netted a hat-trick in a 5-1 First Division victory at the Boleyn Ground. Jim Barrett and Jimmy Ruffell were also on target.
18 No fewer than four players made their West Ham United debuts for against Manchester United at London Stadium on the opening day of the 2017/18 season – Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and former Red Devil Chicharito. In all, 18 players have debuted for the Hammers against the Red Devils, including Boy of ’86 Neil Orr (January 1982), goalkeeper and Hammer of the Year Lawrie Leslie (August 1961), 1964 FA Cup winner Eddie Bovington (April 1960) and, of course, the late, great Bobby Moore OBE in September 1958.
1911 The first-ever meeting between the two clubs was on 25 February 1911, when West Ham United – then of the Southern League First Division – defeated Manchester United of Football League Division One 2-1 in the FA Cup third round. A 27,000-strong crowd were at the Boleyn Ground to see Danny Shea score the winner!
£170,000 Ted MacDougall became West Ham United’s record signing when he was transferred to the Boleyn Ground from Manchester United for £170,000 in the spring of 1973. A prolific scorer with York City and AFC Bournemouth in the lower divisions, Inverness-born MacDougall made just 26 appearances in Claret and Blue, scoring seven goals, before joining Norwich City just before Christmas the same year.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistant Referees: Simon Long and Edward Smart
Fourth Official: Andrew Madley
VAR: Lee Mason
Assistant VAR: Adrian Holmes
Affiliated to the Birmingham County FA, Andre Marriner began refereeing at the age of 21 in 1992, progressing through the Birmingham Amateur Football League and the Southern Football League to become a Football League assistant referee in 2000.
Marriner was appointed to the Football League list of referees in 2003, before making his Premier League debut in November of the following year, in Charlton Athletic’s 4-0 win over Norwich City at The Valley.
Marriner, who turns 50 on New Year’s Day, was added to the Select Group of professional referees in 2005, and FIFA’s list of international officials in 2009.
Marriner has refereed a host of high-profile fixtures, including the 2010 Championship Play-Off final between Blackpool and Cardiff City and the 2013 FA Cup final, sending-off Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta in the latter.
He was also the man with the whistle for Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Southampton in the 2017 EFL Cup final and the 2021 FA Community Shield, in which Arsenal edged out Liverpool on penalties.
He has refereed West Ham United on 38 occasions previously, with the most-recent being the 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Charlton Athletic at London Stadium on 15 September this year.
Marriner’s first Irons appointment was back on Boxing Day 2004, when he officiated the 3-2 home win over Nottingham Forest in the Championship.