David Moyes should repeat his genius trick of starting West Ham defender Ryan Fredericks in midfield amid claims of a potential recall against Manchester United.
That’s according to Claret & Hugh, who claim it is likely that Fredericks could open the action at Old Trafford to help Vladimir Coufal double-up on Dan James or Anthony Martial, one of whom will almost certainly line up against him due to Marcus Rashford’s expected absence this Sunday.
Moyes pulled off the same move during the Irons’ 3-1 win away to Aston Villa at the start of last month, with Fredericks and Coufal combining well to thwart Jack Grealish.
West Ham are set to make at least one change to the starting line-up against Manchester United on Sunday, due to January loan signing Jesse Lingard being ineligible to play against his parent club.
Lingard is expected to be the sole member of the squad that beat Leeds United 2-0 on Monday night to be unable to face Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, with Claret and Hugh adding that Moyes has no new injury concerns.
The Red Devils loanee opened the scoring for West Ham against the Whites after tucking home the rebound from his missed penalty kick, with Illan Meslier only able to push the former England international’s strike back into the centre of the box.
Lingard has now been involved in six goals in as many games since moving to the London Stadium, scoring four times and assisting twice, more than any other West Ham player in the same period with Michail Antonio second with two goals and two assists to his name.
Rashford had been enjoying a strong vein of form with Manchester United before sustaining an ankle injury last weekend, with the £72m-rated speedster netting twice and creating three chances for his Red Devils teammates in his last seven Premier League outings.
Solskjaer will now be expected to turn to one of James or Martial for West Ham’s visit to Old Trafford, having recently lauded the Wales international for having an X-factor through his “work-rate, pace, [and] running behind teams”. He also noted that “class is permanent and the kid has got class” in reference to Martial’s dip in output from last season.
Moyes could look to limit the threat of James, Martial or Rashford, if he’s somehow passed fit, by recalling Fredericks away to Manchester United, having not started the £3.5m-rated gem in the Premier League since beating Aston Villa and omitting the 28-year-old from West Ham’s last three matchday squads due to a groin strain.
Fredericks struck his first goal of the season in his last outing at home to Sheffield United on February 15, having come off the bench in stoppage-time and combining well with Said Benrahma in the Blades’ penalty area.
It was his defensive exploits alongside Coufal that impressed Moyes against Dean Smith’s Villans, having drafted the natural defender in for only his fifth of six starts this season in all competitions to add something new to the side.
“We felt as if we needed Ryan Fredericks with his speed and to give us something slightly different as we were up against a really good player in that area as well in Jack Grealish,” the Hammers boss said following the game. “Between them, him and Vladimir Coufal did a very good job.”
Fredericks also shed a light on how he and Coufal went about limiting Grealish – who is one of the Premier League’s most creative players with 76 key passes and 14 big chances created to his name, only Bruno Fernandes (77 key balls, 17 big chances) and Kevin de Bruyne (71 key balls, 16 big chances) are as productive, per SofaScore.
“He’s a very good player, so I came in to give Vladi a bit of help and we did a good job doubling up,” he said. “I think he went and spent a bit of time playing centrally and on the other side because he wasn’t really getting much of the ball, so we did our job.”
Moyes should now look to repeat that trick to see Coufal and Fredericks double up on whoever Solskjaer deploys and force Manchester United to play away from the left-wing and toward Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek on Sunday.
AND in other news, West Ham face a £43m asking price to land a 24-y/o ace who “never gets tired”…