A tough week for Manchester United. Will they return to form here in the FA Cup? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his view.
Manchester United v West Ham | Sunday 16:00 | BT Sport 2
Confession time. I’m unable to give a balanced view on this match. You see, I’ve had a rare ante-post bet. I’ve backed West Ham to win the FA Cup at 11/1.
This side have proved this season they’re capable of beating any side in England. Isn’t that the perfect trait of a Cup side? They’ve beaten Tottenham, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Southampton and Chelsea amongst others in the Premier League and left Old Trafford with a draw in December.
The Hammers have attacked this competition with relish, enthusiasm and passion. As we know that tends to be a rare thing amongst the top sides now.
Liverpool were dismissed in the Fourth Round after a replay and in the last round they dismantled Blackburn 5-1 in a display that drew plaudits from afar.
Slaven Bilic seems to be one of those guys from foreign lands that has a deep respect for the traditions of English football and the chance to win this trophy will be something he’ll crave.
It’s also worth pointing out that West Ham are the second highest ranked side (according to league positions) left in the competition and should have no fear here.
Taking a more specific view on this match the Hammers arrive at Old Trafford in good nick. They’ve won their last four matches and are unbeaten in six.
While their home form has been outstanding in the Premier League let’s not forget this side have lost just two of their last 10 away matches. There are lots of plus points.
I opposed Manchester United last Sunday against West Brom and was rewarded for that. Obviously I’ll adopt a similar stance here but after their abysmal performance against Liverpool I’m slightly edgy we’ll see a fightback on Sunday.
Another poor performance would see the Stretford End approach meltdown but I suppose the question is whether this side have the capabilities to raise their game massively. When was the last time Manchester United made you gasp in a positive way?
Six wins out of seven at Old Trafford is something to be impressed about and another reason to be apprehensive about taking this side on with relish. Surely also Louis Van Gaal is aware that this competition provides the only hope of him leaving the club with a smile on his face?
Anyway before I convince myself that United might bounce back here I’ll get with the draw at 11/4 with Betfred and hope the Hammers take them out at Upton Park later in the month.
Manchester United v West Ham – Draw (11/4 Betfred)
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