Preview: Manchester United vs. West Ham United

Preview: Manchester United vs. West Ham United

Fresh from lifting the EFL Cup, Manchester United seek to move one step closer to booking their place in another Wembley cup final when they host West Ham United at Old Trafford in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday.

David Moyes, meanwhile, returns to familiar territory as the former Red Devils boss bids to avoid a third successive elimination with the Hammers at this stage of the competition.

Six months after suffering embarrassing defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford at the start of the season, few would have imagined the swift transformation that has taken place at Man United under the tutelage of Erik ten Hag, who has guided the club to their first trophy in six years with success in Sunday’s EFL Cup final.

First-half strikes from serial winner Casemiro and goal machine Marcus Rashford helped the Red Devils secure a 2-0 victory over a spirited Newcastle United side, with Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes given the honour of lifting the club’s first trophy since the Europa League in 2017 under Jose Mourinho.

Ten Hag has restored belief among the Old Trafford faithful as they bid to begin a new era of success, and the Dutchman is now tasked with keeping their audacious hopes of winning the quadruple alive when they return to action in midweek for a tie in the FA Cup.

Man United, who are sure to receive a rapturous welcome from the Old Trafford crowd on Wednesday, have put together a 10-game unbeaten run across all competitions, with a 3-1 home win against Reading in the FA Cup fourth round on January 28 one of eight victories during this run.

The Red Devils have progressed from more FA Cup fifth-round ties than any other team (41) in the competition’s current format (dating back to 1925-26), but they failed to even reach this stage last season after losing to Championship side Middlesbrough on penalties in the fourth round.

The 12-time FA Cup winners will be full of confidence when they take to the pitch against West Ham, but extending their unbeaten run is not a given considering their struggles against the Hammers in recent cup meetings. Indeed, Man United scraped past West Ham with a 1-0 extra-time win in their last FA Cup meeting in February 2021, before losing 1-0 at home in the EFL Cup fourth round seven months later.

Under-fire manager Moyes was facing the prospect of losing his job had West Ham suffered defeat at home to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League last weekend. However, the Scotsman lives to fight another day in the Hammers hotseat courtesy of a huge 4-0 win at the London Stadium.

The West Ham supporters were growing frustrated with the game goalless heading into the final 20 minutes, but the floodgates opened as soon as January signing Danny Ings tucked away his first goal for the club, with a second following just two minutes later before Declan Rice and Michail Antonio capped off a vital victory for Moyes and co.

The East Londoners have now climbed out of the relegation zone, sitting two points clear of the dotted line, and while top-flight survival remains a priority, their focus now shifts to the FA Cup – a competition that they last won back in 1980 when Sir Trevor Brooking scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

Seeking to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in seven years, West Ham have already had success on the road in this season’s competition, with a 1-0 away win over Brentford in the third round followed by a 2-0 fourth-round victory against Derby County at Pride Park at the end of January.

However, the Hammers head into Wednesday’s clash having won only one of their last 20 visits to Old Trafford across all competitions, while they have lost each of their last four FA Cup meetings with the Red Devils since Paolo Di Canio secured a 1-0 fourth-round triumph back in January 2001.

Manchester United FA Cup form:

Manchester United form (all competitions):

West Ham United FA Cup form:

West Ham United form (all competitions):

We say: Manchester United 2-0 West Ham United
Both teams head into Wednesday’s encounter on a high following their victories last weekend, but the momentum is with Man United and they will be regarded as firm favourites to come out on top, even if Ten Hag opts to rest a few of his regular starters.

The last six meetings between the two teams have been decided by just the one goal and another tight affair could be in store here, but we expect the Red Devils – in front of a jubilant Old Trafford crowd – to book their place in the quarter-finals with a routine victory.

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