3 bold predictions for West Ham vs. Manchester United
After an unsuccessful week in the Champions League, Manchester United will travel to London to face West Ham this Sunday. Losing to Young Boys on Tuesday must have left a mark on the morale of the team, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will try to get the best out of his boys. It will be a difficult task, however, as West Ham will not simply roll over for the Red Devils. The London-based team already beat Leicester City in the second game of the season and did so convincingly. Here are three bold predictions for the upcoming game.
Manchester United-West Ham Predictions
Michael Antonio will have a field day
As it was said above, West Ham is not an easy opponent for anyone. A big reason why that is true is because of their star striker and best goalscorer, Michael Antonio. Antonio is quickly assuming his place as a club legend, as he is clearly in his prime. This season, in four Premier League games, the Jamaican already has four goals and he is in electric form.
In addition to that, the Manchester United defense has not been ideal this year. It is clear that the center-back pairing is still gelling together, as Raphael Varane is adjusting to being the leader of the pair. That is the role Sergio Ramos played in Real Madrid, while Varane was at his best when with a center-back who is ready and willing to be the leader. As the more experienced player of him and Harry Maguire, it is up to Varane to share his knowledge and to lead from the back.
Also, the pace of Antonio will be an issue. While Varane can be very quick, Maguire is an old-school defender in the mold of Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand – tall, slow and rock-solid when tackling. Antonio is lightning quick and he can use gaps between the lines of the Red Devils to pull ahead and go in front of the goal, where Spaniard David De Gea is not the goalkeeper he once was. With the support of the new signing Saïd Benrahma on the left wing and Pablo Fornals behind him, Antonio might be the difference-maker for the Hammers.
Cristiano Ronaldo will dominate…again
Cristiano Ronaldo already has three goals in two games for Manchester United, a feat that would be surprising for anyone other than Ronaldo. The Portuguese legend and one of the best players in the history of the game was on the mark two times against Newcastle last weekend and opened the scoring on Tuesday against Young Boys in the Champions League. It seems like scoring goals is something he can do in his sleep and against West Ham’s defense, it should not be a problem.
It is true that Ronaldo cannot dominate as he did before, being a nuisance on the wing while scoring in bunches, but his prowess in front of the goal is possibly the best ever. If the first goal in his return against Newcastle is watched again, an interesting thing will be spotted – absolutely no one in the box knew where the ball would go if saved. However, Ronaldo knew exactly where the ball would be parried and was there to tap it in. The second goal is proof that not all his athleticism is gone, as he absolutely scorched the defender and calmly finished with his left.
To anyone watching that game, it is clear – Ronaldo has gas in his tank. It is unclear, however, how much of a difference that makes for Manchester United, however, as they will still need massive contributions from others to cover for gaping holes in their team. Star signing Jadon Sancho has not started well and the holding midfielder role is still taken by either veteran Nemanja Matic or underwhelming Fred. With all that being true, it is still great to know, for the United supporters, that Ronaldo will be there to get the team going.
This will be a goal-fest
There is every indication that this will be one of the games where one goal by the star player of either team will be the difference in the end. However, all signs are pointing towards a match in which there will be plenty of goals between Manchester United and West Ham.
On one side, Ronaldo has the support of compatriot Bruno Fernandes, young star Mason Greenwood, and now-veteran Marcus Rashford for Manchester United. On the other hand, Antonio has the aforementioned Fornals and Benrahma, and a plethora of attacking options on the bench for West Ham.
Also, it is important to note that this is not the West Ham that fought relegation or was a solid mid-table team. This is a David Moyes-led team that finished sixth last season and put up a serious fight to be even better. Now, with Benrahma and Fornals already scoring for them, and with Antonio who is in top form, they will not be parking the bus against anyone. In front of their own crowd at the Olympic Stadium, it is West Ham that can even be considered a small favorite going into this game against Manchester United.
One thing is for sure – West Ham and Manchester United will give us a great game on Sunday!