Manchester United-West Ham United Preview
David Moyes has gone from defending his job to claiming Manchester United can win the Champions League.
Another away victory in the Premier League may only add to his confidence.
Manchester United will look to build on their momentum from a stunning midweek comeback by winning a third straight away league match Saturday against West Ham United.
Moyes’ first season at the helm of United (14-6-9) has been a struggle, and they enter the weekend seventh in the league table with no hope of defending their Premier League crown.
That disappointment, which could result in missing out on European competition for next season, has led to speculation that the former Everton boss could soon get the sack.
A day after the embattled Moyes dismissed the idea that his job is under threat, Man United turned in their best performance of the season, beating Olympiacos 3-0 on Wednesday after losing the first leg 2-0 in Greece.
Now, Moyes feels European glory is attainable.
"We will probably go into the quarterfinal tie as underdogs but I don’t see why not (we can’t win the trophy)," Moyes told the team’s official website. "This football club is capable of it. If we play to our capabilities, which we’ve not shown that often this season."
He’s hoping the midweek victory can be a touchstone moment and spark a major turnaround for Manchester United.
"I don’t want to come out here and say this is the moment," Moyes said, "but at the same time, I really hope it is."
Another away victory could get United rolling. They’ve shut out opponents while going unbeaten in three straight away matches, winning the last two by totaling five goals. That includes a 3-0 win at West Brom on March 8.
The Red Devils, however, followed that up a week later with one of their worst efforts of the campaign, falling 3-0 to Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Robin van Persie could be key to rebounding from that defeat, as he tries to build on his hat-trick against Olympiacos. The forward leads United with 17 goals in 25 games in all competitions, despite missing 19 matches due to injury.
United are 10-2-1 when Van Persie has found the net this season, and he’s done that on a regular basis in career appearances against West Ham (8-7-14).
Van Persie has seven goals in eight meetings with the Hammers, netting at least one in each of the last five, totaling six tallies. He missed the last meeting through injury on Dec. 21, but United didn’t seem to miss him in a 3-1 victory.
The Hammers may be thrilled to return to Upton Park after losing 3-1 at Stoke last weekend, two weeks after a 1-0 loss away to Everton.
Sam Allardyce’s side, though, have outscored opponents 7-1 while winning three straight at home. They haven’t won four straight Premier League matches there since the end of the 2001-02 season.
Kevin Nolan seems to do his best work at home, scoring five of his team-high seven goals there, including four in the past five matches. The midfielder, though, has no goals in 11 games versus Manchester United.
Andy Carroll is trying to build on his goal from last weekend, his first of the season. Injuries have limited the forward to seven matches, but he’s failed to scored in eight career meetings with Man United.