James Collins collected a double in the teams' clash two weeks ago. Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk
Given his squad is defending a lead in the Premier League and still has the rest of the Champions League to go, the last thing Sir Alex Ferguson would have wanted is to deal with a pesky third round FA Cup replay. Manchester United is lucky to still be in the tournament, though, and only earned another shot at West Ham United when Robin van Persie snatched a stoppage time equaliser at Upton Park in early January.
The good news is that the replay will be held at Old Trafford where United has been almost unbeatable this season. In the league the Red Devils have won 10 of their 11 starts at home and the juggernaut kept on rolling on at the weekend with a 2-1 win over arch rival Liverpool. Wayne Rooney may return from a knee injury for what would be his first start in 2013.
West Ham went down 3-0 to Sunderland in the domestic league last start, and given they have to travel to the north west this week, will probably deeply regret being unable to put United away two weeks ago. Sam Allardyce may be able to call upon Andy Carroll this week, along with Senegalese international Mohamed Diame. Carroll has been struggling with a knee injury since November while Diame has been troubled by a hamstring problem.
United has won eight of the last ten matches between these teams, although the Hammers have scored a win and a draw in the teams’ past two meetings in cup competitions. The 2-2 draw a fortnight ago was the first time the teams have finished a match deadlocked since the 2002-03 Premier League season.
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