EPL

The Numbers Game: Can Moyes pull off a Man Utd double for first time since Mourinho's Chelsea?

By Sports Desk January 21, 2022

Not many would have predicted before the season that Manchester United versus West Ham represented a key game in the battle for the top four, but that's where we are.

The Red Devils' win over Brentford moved them to within two points of the Hammers in fourth, with a game in hand, meaning Saturday's clash at Old Trafford offers a good chance to make some headway in the race to finish behind Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

It also gives David Moyes the chance to end a pretty rotten record at the home of his old club – and that's not including the nine months he was in charge there – as well as the chance for West Ham to avenge their defeat in the reverse fixture.

Let's not forget they have already won away against United in 2021-22 – and not many teams manage to do that twice in a season. The last one, in fact, was managed by Jose Mourinho.


BEDEVILLED

United have won 20 of their 25 home games against West Ham in the Premier League, their last defeat coming in May 2007, when soon-to-be Red Devil Carlos Tevez secured a 1-0 win for the visitors.

Yet their record when London clubs come calling hasn't been so strong of late: they have lost three of the previous eight home games against teams from the capital, as many such defeats as they suffered in 38 matches at Old Trafford between 2013-14 and 2019-20.

West Ham, of course, boast the rare feat of being above United in the table: while they sit fourth, United are seventh. Only four times previously in the Premier League era have the Hammers faced them while being placed higher in the standings; interestingly, they failed to win any of them, losing 2-1 in August 1995 and September 2014, drawing 0-0 in August 1998 and losing 3-1 in December 2020.

'PLAY LIKE FERGIE'S BOYS...'

Moyes has done a quite brilliant job at West Ham since being parachuted in to rescue them in December 2019. Since the start of 2020-21, he has managed 30 wins from 60 league matches, accruing 102 points in that time. The only sides with more victories and more points are United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Old Trafford, though, is not a happy hunting ground for the former United boss. He has drawn four and lost 10 of his away games at the stadium as a Premier League manager; only Harry Redknapp (15 games) has visited more often in the competition without a single win.

That being said, Moyes did lead West Ham to victory on this ground in the EFL Cup back in September, and they could become just the fourth team to beat United away twice in the same season after Aston Villa (1919-20), Tottenham (1989-90) and Chelsea (2004-05).

BOWEN'S ROAD RAGE, HAMMER TIME FOR RONALDO

Cristiano Ronaldo scored in United's dramatic 2-1 win in the reverse fixture in September, in which he was also denied a couple of pretty strong penalty shouts before Mark Noble's injury-time spot-kick was saved by David de Gea.

The Portugal great has always quite enjoyed facing the Hammers, with six goals and one assist in his five league appearances against them. He was directly involved in seven of the 10 United goals in those matches, in fact, so you wouldn't bet against him keeping up that record – assuming, of course, he isn't having a strop on the bench instead.

Jarrod Bowen, arguably West Ham's most in-form player, is another who will be hoping to make an impact.

He has scored six and assisted seven goals in his past 18 league appearances, including goals in his most recent two, but the former Hull City man has only scored three times in 43 top-flight matches on the road, converting a meagre four per cent of his shots (3/69).

Bowen has played seven times against United from the start, but he's never scored, and only twice has he even lasted the whole game.

SATURDAY SLUMP

It's a minor novelty in itself that United are playing a match at 15:00 local time on a Saturday. Such is their global appeal that broadcasters are usually quick to shift them to a more viewer-friendly kick-off time.

Ralf Rangnick might actually have preferred a different slot. United have lost their most recent two games to start at this time on a Saturday, both of which were this season: 4-2 at Leicester City, and 4-1 at Watford, a result that ended the reign of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Never before have they lost three in a row when playing at this time.

United's opening league game of 2022 ended in a 1-0 loss to Wolves at Old Trafford. They have not lost their first two home league matches in a year since 1985, when Ron Atkinson's side were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City. They did go on to finish fourth, though...

Related items

  • French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win

    Rafael Nadal recorded his 300th grand slam match win by easing into the third round of the French Open, beating Corentin Moutet in straight sets.

    The 'King of Clay' is in search of a record-extending 22nd major title at Roland Garros, where he was dethroned by Novak Djokovic last year.

    On this evidence, Nadal is in the form to re-establish his dominion of the tournament, overcoming a spirited home hope, who enjoyed the benefit of vocal support from the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Wednesday evening.

    Nadal will see room for improvement having failed to serve the match out in the third set, but a 6-3 6-1 6-4 win was never in doubt.

    The tone for a procession was established when Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, and Moutet's dream of playing his idol soon appeared to be turning into a nightmare.

    Nadal won the second set in commanding fashion behind an excellent first serve, but found Moutet's resistance more stern in the third.

    That spirit was exemplified by Moutet breaking Nadal's serve with the Spaniard ahead 5-3. However, Nadal immediately responded in kind, dominating Moutet from the back of the court and wrapping up a landmark victory when the Frenchman sent a lob long at the end of an entertaining rally.

    Nadal will face Botic Van De Zandschulp in the third round.

     

    Data Slam: Nadal 107-3 opponents

    As well as being his 300th grand slam match win, Nadal's triumph was his 107th at Roland Garros. He has still only tasted defeat in Paris three times. The fifth seed won all 11 of his first-serve points in the second set of another impressive display.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 27/22
    Moutet – 16/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 1/2
    Moutet – 0/3

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 7/12
    Moutet – 2/4

  • Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title

    Nicolo Zaniolo led Roma to their first major continental title with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana on Wednesday. 

    After suffering a defeat in the 1984 European Cup final and missing out on UEFA Cup glory seven years later, the Serie A side were not to be denied an elusive European triumph and lifted their first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2008. 

    Zaniolo, who missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering a second ACL injury in under a year, dinked in an exemplary finish in the 32nd minute to put Roma in charge. 

    Feyenoord upped their game after the restart and were denied by the woodwork twice in three minutes, but Jose Mourinho's men tightened up and saw out a famous victory.

    The meeting between the competition's two most prolific sides was bereft of goalmouth action for much of the first half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal due to injury the most notable event in the opening half hour. 

    Roma moved in front with the first real chance of the match, though, as Zaniolo brought down Gianluca Mancini's excellent delivery with his chest and stabbed an instinctive finish home. 

    Feyenoord made a bright start to the second half and Mancini diverted a fizzed low cross onto the near post of his own goal before Rui Patricio parried Guus Til's follow-up behind. 

    Patricio produced a stunning stop in the 50th minute when he tipped a ferocious 20-yard drive from Tyrell Malacia onto the woodwork. 

    Justin Bijlow denied Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini as Roma tried to get a second on the break, but Bryan Linssen was unable to connect with Cyriel Dessers' flick-on in stoppage time on a painful evening for Feyenoord.

  • Mane to reveal Liverpool future after Champions League final amid Real Madrid and Bayern talk Mane to reveal Liverpool future after Champions League final amid Real Madrid and Bayern talk

    Sadio Mane cast doubt on his Liverpool future by saying he will reveal whether he is staying at the club after the Champions League final. 

    Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have been heavily linked with a move for Mane, who has one year remaining on his contract at Anfield. 

    After missing out on Premier League glory at the weekend, the Senegal international hopes to help Liverpool lift the trophy in Europe's leading club competition for the seventh time. 

    They will need to overcome Madrid at the Stade de France – a repeat of the 2018 final that was won by LaLiga's champions – for their third piece of silverware this season. 

    Madrid's interest in Mane has reportedly stepped up after they missed out on Kylian Mbappe, and the 30-year-old intends to provide clarity on his future after the final. 

    "I will answer after the Champions League. Whether I'm staying or not, I'm going to answer after the Champions League," he told Sky Sports. 

    Mohamed Salah, whose Liverpool deal is also set to expire in June next year, confirmed on Wednesday that he will still be at the club next season. 

    The Egyptian winger said the Reds want revenge over Madrid following the result in the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv, but Mane does not feel the same way. 

    "I think Mo is just Mo," he said with a smile. "For sure it's not a revenge. In four years a lot of things have changed, we have more experience and quality in the team. 

    "I think we've all forgotten about what happened in 2018. For sure, Real Madrid were the better team and deserved to win the final, but it's going to be a different game." 

    Mane added: "For me, relaxed, no pressure, nothing at all – just enjoy it. I think it's a dream moment for us, so let's enjoy it without putting pressure on ourselves. 

    "Everybody is smiling and confident, which is amazing. We know it won't be an easy game against one of the best in the world, but that will make the game special." 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.