We travel to London to face West Ham today, knowing that we could close the gap to two points, as Chelsea may the reverse trip up to Manchester to play City.
We’ve picked up a goal difference of three goals in each of our last two games but we may struggle to do the same today.
West Ham are struggling, no doubt about it, but we don’t have too many fond memories of Upton Park is recent years. Whilst last season we managed a 1-0 win after an individual moment of greatness from Ryan Giggs, we lost our previous two games. In fact, we’ve won just four of our last ten away games against them in the league. Previous form isn’t the be all and end all, of course, but West Ham do seem to enjoy getting a result against us.
Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand, John O’Shea and Fabio are all expected to be missing, but on the up side, Edwin Van der Sar may return, after Tomasz Kuszczak filled in between the sticks against Portsmouth.
For West Ham, Matthew Upson is battling to return from injury whilst Carlton Cole, who is currently the seventh highest scorer in the league, is definitely ruled out.
I’m not even going to bother predicting which line-up the boss is going to throw in as our starting team is so changeable.
Paul Scholes is feeling down in the dumps of his lack of playing time, Nani still hasn’t had a look in, despite the manager’s insistence that he won’t be sold, Michael Carrick’s form is definitely improving, Gabriel Obertan has already won over the majority of the fans, Antonio Valencia looks more like the business every week, Ryan Giggs scored and created a couple against Pompey, Darren Fletcher is pretty much undroppable… and all that is without mentioning Anderson, Ji-Sung Park and Darron Gibson. So who knows?
Wayne Rooney will start up front and Dimitar Berbatov will likely partner him. He was given some game time in the League Cup this week after missing out on all our matches since October through injury. That was surely to get him ready for this weekend, although Michael Owen will be wondering when he gets another turn after getting just 20 minutes against Besiktas and then missing the next two matches.
We want to go in to this busy Christmas period putting as much pressure on Chelsea as possible. They were will be keen to widen the gap to compensate for any dropped points in January when some of their best players leave for the ACoN. So we need to keep chipping away, scoring more goals and keeping our heads. After all the press tipped Liverpool to win the league in the summer and now all fancy Chelsea, our lads can keep under the radar, ready to pounce when the opportunity presents itself.
So, come on United, another three points today please.
Follow the game on the Republik of Mancunia live blog.
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