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Chris Smalling v Andy Caroll: And Other Key Battles That Will Decide Manchester United’s Game Against West Ham United


Manchester United have the golden opportunity to leapfrog Manchester City into fourth place with a win over West Ham United tonight. It will be The Hammers’s last home game at Upton Park before they move out to the Olynpic Stadium from next season, and obviously it will be an emotionally charged game. This is the first of the 3 must-win games for the Red Devils, and victories in all of them would give us a top 4 finish as well as an FA Cup. The match won’t be easy, away games in the business end of the season never are, and here are the 3 key battles that could decide the game:

1. Chris Smalling v Andy Caroll

Last time these two sides met in the FA Cup semifinal, both Fellaini and Smalling were tasked to silence the big centre forward, but he still broke free to contribute to the West Ham’s solitare goal. That should sufficiently sum up the threat Caroll poses to the defence with his physicality and ability to hold up play, and United’s Player’s Player Of The Year will have to be on his toes if he has to shut down the Englishman.

2. Morgan Schneiderlin v Dimitri Payet

It will be an all French war when Schneiderlin, who has been very effective of late takes on Payet, who has easily been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. The forward has been West Ham’s driving force this year, and has been involved in 25 goals for the club. The former Southampton man will probably be tasked to keep him quiet, and that will be one interesting battle.

3. Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia v Anthony Cresswell

With Mata tending to move centrally at times, Valencia will have the whole right wing at his mercy. This could prove to be lethal for West Ham, as Cresswell who is more of an attacking fullback could be caught out of position. With Anthony Martial providing dependable displays on the left wing, the onus will be on the Spaniard and the Ecuadorian to stretch the opposition defence with their one twos and overlaps.

Written by Abhranil Roy

A thinker,thus a cynic.

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