In West Ham’s first of three successive away games (due to the World Athletics Championship taking place at the Olympic stadium), they travel to Old Trafford in search of a good start to the season.
Last season, they finished a decent 11th place, but they’ll be raring to do better.
Manchester United, on the other hand, finished in down in 6th place but did also win the EFL Cup and the Europa League- a tournament Jose Mourinho dismissed as “not a Chelsea competition” in the Summer of 2013. His side will also look to get off to the best possible start.
The last time the sides locked horns was back in January where two goals from Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic set Mourinho’s side on their way to an important win.
West Ham’s trip up north is “daunting”, given that they haven’t won at Old Trafford since May 2007 where a single goal from Carlos Tevez just about sealed their Premier League status. Since then, they’ve only managed to pick up a solitary point against the Red Devils which was just last season in a 1-1 draw. They’ll be hoping to go one better.
Ahead of the game, Mourinho stated that Zlatan Ibrahimovic “wants more football at the highest level”, and “what he did last year wasn’t enough” for the Swedish striker.
Slaven Bilic mentioned that playing against Manchester United isn’t “ideal”, but “it’s one of the greatest away games in the league”. You could say that he’s already conceded the game, but he did go on to say that he’s missing players, and it [the situation] could’ve been better, but he’s still upbeat.
Now then, let’s get into the statistics why don’t we? Judging by history, The Hammers don’t start well, given that they’ve lost more opening fixtures than any other side with 10 (thanks to BBC Sport for that). A win here will surely shake that monkey off their back!
The home side are pretty much formidable when it comes to opening fixtures at home, having not lost their first game since a 2-1 loss to Swansea City back in 2014. Also, Mourinho is yet to lose an opening fixture having won seven, and drawn one of his matches. How about that for form!
If the London side weren’t scared already, new signing Romelu Lukakyu has scored seven times in his last eight matches against them. Be afraid! Be very afraid!
But, the plus side is that they do have a goal-scorer in Javier Hernandez who has scored 37 times in 103 appearances for Manchester United. I would back him to rattle the home defence this weekend!
The statistics above don’t make good reading for West Ham, but there’s no reason as to why they shouldn’t be confident. It’s a new season, so they should go out there and make a different start!
Prediction: Although I’d like for West Ham to get something out of this, I just feel that Manchester United would win fairly comfortably. I’m going 3-1.