Man United vs West Ham: Three key battles

Manchester United and West Ham are undeniably two of the Premier League’s best-supported clubs. Unfortunately for the duo, neither team has repaid the faith shown by their respective fanbases this term, which only adds to the importance of this weekend’s contest.

Three points are at stake for both teams, and the victor will be able to use the result as a springboard to turn things around.

But where will this game be won and lost? The visit of West Ham to Old Trafford has not been a fruitful one for the travelling side in recent memory, with the Hammers failing to record a win since Carlos Tevez’s relegation saving strike in May 2007.

Meanwhile, Man United have recorded just one victory at the Theatre of Dreams since August 15th and will be hoping to end that poor run this weekend.

These THREE battles are likely to decide the outcome of the contest….

Paul Pogba vs Dimitri Payet

Dimitri Payet v Everton

The duo are not likely to play up against one another, but the battle of the outstanding Frenchmen will be key at Old Trafford and whoever outperforms his compatriot is liable to see his side victorious.

Both men have been influential in recent weeks, but their teams’ poor overall performances have overshadowed their displays recently.

Pogba’s return to United has been watched closely, but the midfielder is yet to hit the heights previously witnessed in Italy at Juventus.

Indeed, Payet has been the catalyst to the Irons’ good fortunes since his arrival in summer 2015, but the team continues to let the talisman down with individual mistakes crippling the Hammers.

Slaven Bilic vs Jose Mourinho

Britain Football Soccer - Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League - Old Trafford - 19/11/16 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reacts after a penalty is not awarded to his team Reuters / Phil Noble Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Neither manager can be content with their teams’ recent results, despite Mourinho being liable to claim otherwise.

Disappointing performances, unfortunate decisions, and significant injuries have stagnated both teams’ progression, but each coach is likely to admit to some level of responsibility.

The contest is going to see two tacticians attempting to outwit their opposite number with some key decisions. Both coaches have failed to deliver big performances on a regular basis for their respective teams.

Whoever can ensure their side is well prepared for the challenge is likely to come out on top at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs James Collins

Football Soccer - Fenerbahce SK v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Group Stage - Group A - SK Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey - 3/11/16 Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Ahead of the visit of West Ham, Mourinho is likely to have all his attacking options restored to the first-team squad.

Ibrahimovic is returning from suspension and is likely to be recalled by Mourinho, who will be keen to end the miserable home record the team currently find themselves in.

Zlatan will be licking his lips at the prospect of Winston Reid being missing and is likely to battle James Collins in the Hammers’ backline. Collins will need to ensure he performs at his near best.

Have something to tell us about this article?