After what was the MOST impressive performance from any premiership club this season against Blackburn, Manchester united pit their wits against lowly west ham united.
Expect Manchester to start with fringe and youth players against the hammers, in order to rest some key players for future fixtures.
Tonight’s match in the Carling cup is a great chance to propel some of these players into the limelight when they visit Upton Park to play in the Carling Cup quarter-final.
Although this competition is not Manchester uniteds main concern, they are the current holders of this trophy, so they be looking for a good performance.
United set to start Kuszak in goal who is solid enough, he has ability, but is by no means a long standing replacement for the ever present Van Der Sar.
Wes Brown looks likely to captain a defense that will contain Chris Smalling Jonny Evans & Fabio at left back. This back four should have enough steel to withstand west hams attack of Piquionne, McCarthy and Cole.
Although with Michael Owen, Valencia and Hargreaves unavailable through injury, Darron Gibson will be pushing for a starting place while upfront a pairing of Javier Hernandez and Federico Macheda is probable, leaving United with Rooney on the bench.
I think Ferguson will also squeeze in the old pro Giggs and leave Obertan on the opposite flank.
But Upton Park is not an easy place to get a result, West Ham Gaffer Avram Grant will have his side nicely relaxed and ready to play in front of an eager crowd.United though will have to negotiate fortress Upton Park as West Ham have gone five games undefeated at home.
The pressure of the premiership is off west ham tonight, who are currently rooted to the foot of the table. They can take some comfort in their 3-1 win over wigan this past weekend, and just go out and enjoy the occasion.
West Ham may make a game out of this one, at least in the first half anyways! if West Ham take their chances we will have a smashing game on our hands. West Ham have some quality in the squad with the likes of Scott Parker, Dyer, Noble & Collison – But the decision needs to be made by Grant to either play or rest them as they have a massive game against sunderland this coming weekend.
Meanwhile, Danny Gabbidon, Frederic Piquionne and Valon Behrami are all doubts after picking up knocks at the weekend.
Going into the game United have won their last six meetings with West Ham and have kept five consecutive clean sheets against the Hammers.
Last time the two teams met in the League Cup, back in 1985 Norman Whiteside’s goal gave United a 1-0 third-round victory.
If United manage to pull out a victory they would be making their 13th appearance in the semi-finals of the competition.
My prediction is as follows….
I expect a tight affair during the first half 0-0
With United edging it comfortably 3-0 at full time.