Manchester United vs West Ham United

Pre-Match Analysis:

Where do we go from here? That's the question every United fan has been asking themselves since Thursday. Well, for the moment it's West Ham in the cup on Sunday, and it seem like a good fixture to try and recompose ourselves after Thursday's shambles.

United were poor in their last game against Liverpool in the Europa League on Thursday. Not much can be brought out as a positive either, it was an awful performance. The team looked lost, there was no style of play, and it looked as if they had been put together as a team on the night, as was pointed out by the commentators. There was a complete lack of direction on the pitch, and every single player, other than the astonishing display from David De Gea, looked as if they really didn't want to be playing. It's as if they didn't realise that this is THE biggest fixture to the fans, the players looked as if they were playing West Brom.

West Ham on the other hand will be coming into this game fully refreshed and full of hope. The hammers didn't have a game midweek and have had a week to prepare, and coming off the back of a superb period for them, it won't be an easy task. West Ham have looked a very good side this season, with Demitri Payet being one of the players of the season so far. He has everything, he's quick, he's got goals, and he can create. A phenomenal player. West Ham also seem to have found themselves a solid manager in Slaven Bilic, a no nonsense manager, but with a winning style.

So how will United fare? On paper, United are the better side. We have the better players, we are the home side, and we will be looking to bounce back. However, the reality is I don't know whether this team has it in them to pull out a win in a competition we haven't won for a very long time. A win would give the fans hope of silverware, something that would be vastly appreciated considering top four and the Europa League are seemingly out of the window.

In my opinion, United HAVE to win this game. The fans need this win after what happened at Anfield. The players need this win to gain some kind of form for the return leg. The manager, well it seems it doesn't matter to him as much, he's safe until the end of the season as far as the board is concerned. A loss here would make the challenge on Thursday even more of a mountain to climb, that's the last thing we need. A win gives the fans something to look forwards to in the next round and some thing to keep us going until the summer, and from my point of view, I'm desperate for that.

Line-Up Analysis:

Virtually the same team that played in the horror show against Liverpool. Disappointingly Marouane Fellani retains his place in the team at the expense of Morgan Schneiderlin who drops to the bench. Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera come into the team with Herrera taking Juan Mata's number 10 role meaning a midfield 2 of Fellani and Carrick which is an obvious concern with the energy and pace in the West Ham midfield.

Marcus Rashford will continue out of position on the right wing where he struggled against Liverpool with Guillermo Varela behind him at right back against Dimitri Payet and Aaron Cresswell it is yet another weak spot in the Man Utd team. There has to be a great deal of sympathy for young Rashford who is being thrown right in at the deep end by Louis van Gaal especially when he is not a winger he is a striker. I expect Fellani to neglect his central midfield duties to join Anthony Martial upfront meaning we will see the unpleasant sight of our players hoofing balls up to Fellaini.

Overall the line up doesn't fill me with much confidence at all with no obvious creativity and several players being played out of position. United will have to play at full capacity to win this game.

First Half Analysis:

This game is crucial as it could be the only competition we actually have a chance in winning this season. The team should have gone in attacking and ruthless. And that's what they did but there was no end product. Both teams had their chances but it's West Ham who have had the better of the chances.

Our attacking players have been closed down by some good defensive work from Noble and Kouyate in the middle and this is stopping Fellaini and Lingard from doing what they do best. Also you can see some examples of players like Carrick and Herrera lobbing balls over the top to Fellaini which again is not working.

Martial has been excellent on her left and he's also been given more freedom which is usually given to Mata. Rashford has also been dangerous, bursting through but having no luck because of Reid.

Second Half Analysis:

United started the second half with the same team and they started the second half well putting a lot of pressure on the West Ham back four. But it was West Ham who took the lead through Payet, he won a free kick about 25 yards out and it hit the post and went in.

United were desperate for a goal or they were going out of the FA cup. After they conceded the goal United responded well putting a lot of pressure on the West Ham defence.

Finally United scored a cross from the right hand side went to Anthony Martial who volleyed the ball in, 1-1. The game was poised with 5 minutes to go with the game at 1-1. The game finished 1-1 with it going to a replay at the Boleyn Ground.

Individual Player Performances:

Goalkeeper and Defence:

David De Gea: 8
Made some good saves but couldn't do anything about Payet's free kick. 

Varela - 7
The young Uruguayan played well and got forward when he could, helping out the attack.

Smalling - 7
Played well against Andy Carroll and was solid today.

Blind - 6
Played much better today than on Thursday and was good defensively. 

Rojo - 7
Tried to get forward as much as he could. Apart from the potential penalty, he was good defensively too.

Midfield:

Carrick - 6
Played well but wasn't playing the ball forward enough for my liking. Would've preferred to see more positive passes.

Fellaini - 5
Wasn't very influential today and did lose possession a few times carelessly. 

Herrera - 8
It was great to see him back in the starting lineup and he was very creative today. He also created the goal for Martial. 

Attack:

Martial - 8
Took on his man at every possible occasion and could have got a goal earlier on but did end up getting us the crucial goal to get the replay.

Rashford - 7
Tried to get in behind when he could and played well today.

Lingard - 6
Won several fouls today and often had a positive approach.

Substitutes:

Memphis - 6
Was a bright spark when he came on and did look like a threat but needs to work on his decision making. 

Schweinsteiger - 6
When coming on, he dictated play and picked out some good passes. Was very controversial for Martial's goal as it was clear that he impeded the keeper and a foul should've been given. 

Darmian - 6
Came on too late in the game to make an impact.

Overall Analysis:

The pressure was on, the stage was set and shaky Manchester United squad took on West Ham in The Emirates FA cup. Off the back of the upset at Anfield Thursday gone, it was vital that the red devils glided through to the semi-finals. An uplifting thought coming into this game was that both Arsenal and Chelsea were dispatched by their opponents meaning that the odds on winning the FA cup now seemed to shift into Man United’s hands. However, there was also the concern of whether the fate of their local rivals would also fall upon them.

We put a decent amount of pressure on the counterattacking West Ham but the killer sting never seemed to come. We showed many signs of improvement from the last two games where we presented a team that we came up against a real challenge however the solid West Ham seemed to prove that nothing comes easy and their positioning was rarely cracked. We also displayed better defensive discipline and it was a lot harder for the likes of Payet and Emenike to break through the Man United defence.

When the first goal went in, the team went into panic and Depay and Schweinsteiger were thrown onto the pitch in an attempt to regain some team structure and get us back into the game. We had been thrown into disarray but with the clever implementation of Depay and Schweinsteiger we managed to score back with a messy but helpful goal form Martial. So in all our performance was good it lacked the efficiency and fluid play of previous seasons but we got the job done and salvaged our chance of winning the cup.

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