After drawing at Craven Cottage last week, United will be looking for a win at home to West Ham today. The International break is upon us and we want to go in to that with as many points as possible on the board.
Man of the moment, Paul Scholes, could sit this game out, giving Michael Carrick the opportunity to come back in to the team. The only football he’s had this season is 80 minutes in the Charity Shield, where, to be fair to him, he put in a good shift. For me, he was our most disappointing player last season and I’m desperate to see the more confident Carrick from his first three seasons. He needs to keep his head up and look forward, as he did against Chelsea, because we need someone who can go some way to filling the gap 35-year-old Scholes will undoubtedly leave us with during the season.
It will be interesting to see how Ferguson fills the other midfield spots, with my preference definitely being for Nani and Valencia to start on the wings, with the option of Park later on. You imagine Fletch will start alongside Carrick but as I quickly learnt last season, it’s very hard to predict our team these days, particularly where the midfield is concerned. Nani and Valencia pose the biggest threat to the opposition though I think, so as long as we can get the ball to them, we’ll be in good shape.
It would also be nice to see Rafael da Silva filling in at right back, after losing his spot to John O’Shea so far this season. Gary Neville and Wes Brown both played for the Reserves in the derby this week, but it really should be Rafael’s turn today. No disrespect to O’Shea but he doesn’t add a great deal to the team and we really should take advantage of Rafael’s fitness, given that he, and his brother, can miss chunks of the season through injury.
Wayne Rooney will be re-drafted following the illness that kept him out last weekend and it would be nice to see him score. I’m sure he doesn’t waste too much of his time reading the papers but they are all very keen to total up how many months, weeks, days, hours and minutes it’s been since his last goal, totally disregarding the fact he hasn’t been fit and was forced to play alongside a load of mugs for a considerable amount of time during this ‘drought’.
Berbatov is likely to start alongside him with Owen and Hernandez waiting for an opportunity. With Diouf scoring for fun at Blackburn, all our strikers will be keen to get a goal to their name at the moment. Owen scored in this fixture last season, although the next game he plays may be for Liverpool at Anfield!
West Ham lost to Villa away on he opening day of the season (yes, the same Villa who got battered by Newcastle the following weekend) and Bolton at home, so probably won’t hold much hope of getting a result at Old Trafford today. However, the longer we go without a goal, the more confident and resolute they will become, so it I think it’s important for us to at least get a goal or two before half time.