West Ham United kickoff their 2017 with a third meeting against mighty Manchester United at the London Stadium.
It’s the end of the busy holiday fixture league period for the Hammers, although their schedule will continue to be hectic the rest of the week with a 3rd Round FA Cup tie against the other Manchester side in Pep Guardiola’s City. But the focus for Slaven Bilic is set on Jose Mourinho’s side, 48 hours after their three match winning streak ended at Leicester City.
With the quickest turnaround of the season here, Bilic will consider several changes to his lineup. He’ll be forced into one in midfield with Mark Noble injured after receiving a nasty tackle from Leicester’s Daniel Amartey on Saturday. Both Manuel Lanzini and Pedro Obiang look set for a start after coming off the bench on Saturday. Sam Byram could finally make his return, while Diafra Sakho, Arthur Masuaku, Alvaro Arbeloa and Gokhan Tore remain out.
Meanwhile for United, Eric Bailly is leaving his club early for African Cup of Nations prep with the Ivory Coast and won’t be available. Wayne Rooney has been fighting a bad illness and will be a game time decision, while Michael Carrick has also received a taste of bad health. The passing midfielder, however, is likely to play.
The first half recap will be placed underneath this when halftime hits.
First Half Review
Referee Mike Dean is clearly the Man of the Match, for his ridiculous sending off of Sofiane Feghouli in the 15th minute. No way was that a red card on the Algerian after his sliding collision on Phil Jones. In fact, it’s really debatable for me if that decision even merited a yellow.
Despite disastrous Dean, it was arguably the best half of the season for the Hammers. They showed terrific character in not allowing many openings for United, and Darren Randolph came up big to deny Antonio Valencia from point blink range. Jesse Lingard would provide a rebound miss of the season off that, and Manuel Lanzini capped off a fine first half from him by testing David De Gea into a good save.
Here is how close West Ham were to conceding.
The match review is here.
Thank you for joining us again. See you on Friday!