Manchester United take on West Ham United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup this weekend with both sides putting their Champions League challenge on hold in an attempt to reach the last four of English football’s primary domestic cup competition (4pm Sunday, BT Sport 2).
Given that they could finish the weekend six points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, Louis van Gaal may be tempted to focus on the FA Cup for the remainder of the campaign. United – who defeated Sheffield United, Derby County and Shrewsbury Town to reach this stage of the competition – seek to claim their first piece of silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season at the club in 2012/13. A first leg defeat to Liverpool in the Europa League round of 16 on Thursday leaves Man Utd on the brink of an exit in that tournament. With Van Gaal likely to leave the club in the summer, he will also be desperate to go out on a high by winning a trophy in what could be the 64-year-old’s last job as a manager.
West Ham will not yet have given up hope of a top-four finish in the top flight, but they too will be targeting success in the FA Cup this term as they attempt to reach the semi-finals for the first time since Alan Pardew’s men finished as runners-up in the 2005/06 campaign. Slaven Bilic’s (pictured) outfit, who overcame Wolverhampton Wanderers, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers to reach this stage, head to Old Trafford in good form – the Hammers have won five of their last six matches in all competitions and have lost only twice since late November. After an injury-hit side achieved a highly creditable 0-0 draw away at Man Utd in the Premier League in December, West Ham’s players and supporters will be quietly confident of getting the better of a team who still seem incapable of going on a consistent winning run.
Best Match Betting Odds
1/1 Man Utd (Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Coral)
13/5 Draw (Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Unibet)
3/1 West Ham (Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Paddy Power, Stan James, Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill, Unibet)
United will be without Wayne Rooney (knee), Phil Jones (ankle), Wll Keane (groin), Ashley Young (groin) and Luke Shaw (broken leg), while Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is also likely to miss out with a knock. Donald Love should be fit and available for selection, though, with teenage sensation Marcus Rashford likely to continue up front. Bastian Schweinsteiger could be in line for a start after coming off the bench against Liverpool on Thursday night, with Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin all also vying for a place in the United midfield.
West Ham, meanwhile, will be unable to call upon the services of James Collins (hamstring), Victor Moses (thigh), Enner Valencia (ankle), Joey O’Brien (hamstring), Winston Reid (hamstring), James Tomkins (calf) and Carl Jenkinson (knee). Seventeen-year-old Reece Oxford and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate could continue in defence, with Bilic deploying a three-man backline in some of his side’s recent encounters. Michail Antonio, who has scored five times in his last eight appearances, will surely start alongside Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini further up the pitch, with Andy Carroll, Emmanuel Emenike and Diafra Sakho competing for a place in the team at centre-forward.
Our Preview’s Man Utd v West Ham Betting Tips
Sunday’s tie is a difficult one to predict, with both teams seemingly of the same level – only a single point separates them in the Premier League table. West Ham have proven adept at picking up wins away at big sides this term. They have beaten Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Liverpool at Anfield and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and may well fancy their chances of landing another blow to the under-fire Van Gaal. The odds on a West Ham victory are favourable, so it is worth backing the in-form visitors to triumph at Old Trafford this Sunday afternoon.
- Betting Tip 1: West Ham can be backed @ best odds of 3/1 to win this match with Bet365, Betfred and the other bookies stated in the ‘outright match winner odds’ found earlier in this preview.
- Betting Tip 2: For those who like a correct score wager, take West Ham to beat Man Utd 2-1 @ a best price of 14/1 with Betfred.
- Betting Tip 3: Michail Antonio to score anytime @ biggest betting odds of 9/2 with Bet365, Sky Bet, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes.
Click here for Outright FA Cup Winner Odds
Greg Lea is a freelance sports writer. Read the articles that he has written at Just Bookies.