Sunday, 27 November 2005

West Ham United 1 Manchester United 2

West Ham's goalscorer Marlon Harewood

John O'Shea, unlikely matchwinner for Manchester United

West Ham goalkeeper Roy Carroll is expected to oust Shaka Hislop after recovering from a knee injury. Manager Alan Pardew is without captain Nigel Reo-Coker, who will be out for several weeks with an ankle problem. Manchester United will have Gary Neville and Louis Saha back in their squad after long-term injuries. The pair returned to appear as substitutes against Villarreal in the Champions League and also played in a reserve team game 24 hours later.

West Ham (from): Carroll, Hislop, Repka, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Konchesky, Benayoun, Noble, Dailly, Newton, Mullins, Etherington, Sheringham, Harewood, Zamora, Bellion, Aliadiere, Bywater.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Howard, Brown, Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea, Richardson, Scholes, Smith, Fletcher, Park, Rooney, Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy, Saha, Rossi.

West Ham manager Alan Pardew, who is set to use defender Anton Ferdinand to mark brother Rio: "He is our dominant header, which he proved last Sunday with a great goal. He has to pick up the biggest player, which at United is his brother, so he has a huge responsibility for us."


WEST HAM UNITED will endeavour to maintain their best ever start to a Premiership campaign when going head-to-head with eight times Premiership champions Manchester United, who on Tuesday failed to score for the fourth time in five Champions League encounters this season. The point from the goalless draw with Villarreal leaves their ambitions of progressing in the competition hanging by a thread.

The Hammers are bidding for a third consecutive home League victory and need two goals to total 300 in home Premier League encounters. They're four short of totalling 5,000 regular League goals.

The Upton Park club have never beaten United at home in the Premier League, but seven of their 10 home meetings have been drawn. The Eastenders last managed a League maximum over the Red Devils at Upton Park on 22 April 1992, winning 1-0.

MANCHESTER UNITED go to Upton Park aiming to record three League victories on the spin for the first time since the opening trio of fixtures this season. They've lost only one of the last six in the highest League, and won more Premiership matches on the road this season than the Hammers have managed in front of their home faithful (five to four).

The Red Devils have netted three goals in three of the seven League outings since the goalless draw with Liverpool, and scored one in each of the other four games. The heavy 4-1 reverse at Middlesbrough was their only League defeat on the road this term, but the next loss home or away will be United's 600th post war League defeat.

United beat West Ham 6-0 in their most recent meeting in the fourth round of the FA Cup on 26 January 2003. Their last League win at Upton Park was 3-5 on 16 March 2002. Another of United's three Premiership victories at Upton Park was also high scoring - 2-4 on 18 December 1999. The Old Trafford club have also recorded a 7-1 home victory over the Hammers in the highest League, on April Fools Day, 2000.


Club stats
Going into the weekend: 8th 19 points
(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premiership fixtures)

# The last three League matches have resulted in a loss, a win and a draw in that order.
# The previous best after the first 12 matches of a Premier League season was 19 points in 1998/99 and 1999/2000.
# Won two of the last four top tier skirmishes.
# Failed to score in two of the last seven Premiership matches, and kept clean sheets in two of those last seven.
# Gone eight games since winning by more than one goal (4-0 v Aston Villa on 12 September).
# Not scored earlier than the 25th minute in the Premiership this season.
# The only club not to have scored in the first quarter of a Premiership match.
# Netted more goals in the last five minutes of top division games than any other club - three of their four coming in stoppage time.
# Ahead at half time in only one Premiership game this season (home to Aston Villa - 2-0 at half time, 4-0 at full time).
# Hold the weakest form of any club in the first half of Premiership matches this season. Gone in at the break leading in one, drawing in six, and losing in five, with only two goals scored and five conceded.
# Won one game when behind at half time (3-1 home to Blackburn on the opening day - 0-1 down at the break).
# Completed eight top division tussles since a win by more than one (4-0, home to Aston Villa on 12 September).
# Boast the best disciplinary record in the Premiership (no red cards, 14 yellow).

# Picked up 10 points from the last 12 available at Upton Park.
# Lost only one home Premiership game this term (1-2 to Bolton on 27 August).
# Failed to score in only one home top tier encounter this term (0-0 with Arsenal on 24 September).
# Kept clean sheets in three of the last four home League matches, and conceded one goal in four at the Boleyn Ground.

Club stats
Going into the weekend: 3rd 24 points
(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premiership fixtures)

# Recorded six wins from the last 11 matches in all competitions.
# Not lost in three League and Champions League outings.
# Lost one of the last six Premiership outings, winning four of the sextet.
# Won every match in which Wayne Rooney has scored (17 so far - five this season).
# Failed to score just once in the Premiership this season (0-0 at Liverpool on 18 September).
# Only failed to penetrate the opponents goal line in one of the last 17 Premiership outings.
# Managed one clean sheet in seven Premiership skirmishes, and that the 1-0 home victory over Chelsea on 6 November.
# Six points better off than at this identical stage last season.

# Boast the best away form in the Premiership, with 16 points from a possible 21.
# Scored more away goals than any other club in the highest division (14).
# The heavy loss at Middlesbrough was United's first reverse in seven Premiership matches on the road this season, and in nine spanning last season.
# Won five of seven on the road in the top tier this term.
# Averaged two goals per League game away from Old Trafford.
# Scored three goals in each of three of the last four away League games.
# Not managed a clean sheet in four League games on the road, after block-outs in the first three.


Squad profiles

# Teddy SHERINGHAM will relish the chance of playing against his former club. The 39 year old made 153 appearances for the Red Devils and scored 46 goals.
# If he plays, Roy CARROLL will also be facing his former club.
# David BELLION is on loan to West Ham from Manchester United and therefore ineligible to play.

Squad profiles

# Ruud VAN NISTELROOY has scored 12 goals for Manchester United in all competitions and is the highest scoring Premiership player.
# The Dutchman leads the Barclays Golden Boot standings jointly with Frank Lampard of Chelsea. Both have scored 10 Premier League goals.
# VAN the Man scored three goals in three FA Cup and Premiership appearances against West Ham during the 2002/03 season.
# All four of Wayne ROONEY's Premiership goals this season have been scored away from home.
# Rio FERDINAND started his professional career with West Ham.

League: West Ham 34 wins, Man United 43, Draws 23
Prem: West Ham 2 wins, Man United 11, Draws 7

HEAD TO HEAD at West Ham
League: West Ham 13 wins, Man United 10, Draws 17
Prem: West Ham 0 wins, Man United 3, Draws 7

On Wednesday, Old Trafford will hosts its first game since Best’s death — United against West Brom, the fixture in which Best made his debut in 1963. Whether a minute’s silence is asked for, or one minute’s applause, is undecided.

... “It’s an interesting idea,” said Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager.

“I was at the funeral of Neil Midgeley (a former referee) and when they took the coffin out everybody clapped. I think that’s great.”

Best will be honoured at Upton Park today, where United play West Ham. In the coming weeks the club will decide upon a permanent memorial to a footballer who, though he left United aged 27, favoured them with 464 appearances and 178 goals, and countless moments of joy. Best was never a player who had fans sitting in silence but got them up on their feet giving applause.

1st min: GOAL - HAREWOOD: Fantastic goal from West Ham. The Hammers win the ball in midfield and Sheringham's clever ball releases Etherington on the left. His ball into the box is perfectly weighted for a calm sidefoot finish from Harewood just 52 seconds into the game.

West Ham started with a fantastic, rapid passing move to carve Manchester United open. Sheringham and Etherington were the creators with Harewood coolly providing the finishing touch. The home side then spent fifteen minutes chasing leather as Manchester United passed the ball around them with great authority, forcing Carroll into three top saves from Van Nistelrooy, Scholes and Rooney. Having weathered that storm, West Ham have grown in confidence and look threatening whenever they break, with Sheringham providing several neat touches and Etherington a constant threat on the left.

West Ham get the second half underway, looking to hold on to or better their 1-0 lead over Manchester United.

GOAL - ROONEY: Sloppy defending from Repka gives the ball to Park who slides the ball into the path of Rooney who beats Gabbidon before slotting the ball through Carroll's legs.
We've had a goal 52 seconds into the first half, and another just one minute and 59 seconds into the second.

56 mins: GOAL - O'SHEA: United turn the game around in the space of 11 minutes as O'Shea outjumps Carroll to bury a header from Rooney's pacy corner. Some refs may have given a free kick for the keeper, but he got it right on this occasion - O'Shea simply timed his leap better.

Just before the end, Van Nistelrooy is replaced by Richardson, and Neville takes the captain's armband. Could that be a long-term arrangement?

The full-time whistle blows and Manchester United probably just about deserved the points. West Ham started brilliantly with a goal in the first minute, but some of Manchester United's football in the early stages of both halves was breathtaking, but Pardew will be very annoyed to concede the winner from a corner as O'Shea outjumped Carroll to power home. Entertaining game, and West Ham are close to being a very fine side, with Etherington a menace on the left, giving first Brown and later Neville a number of problems.

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