Can David Moyes make it a miserable festive weekend for his old club? We look ahead to Saturday’s Premier League clash at the London Stadium with our West Ham vs Man Utd prediction and preview.
West Ham vs Manchester United Stats: The Quick Hits
- Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off is a difficult one to call. Manchester United won 37.2% of the Opta supercomputer’s pre-match simulations, compared to West Ham’s 34.2%.
- Man Utd have failed to score in three of their four Premier League games in December, their most in a single month since January 2020 (also three). They have drawn a blank in 11 Premier League matches in 2023, only doing so more often in 2015 (12).
- Saïd Benrahma scored West Ham’s winner in this exact fixture last season, also netting in their 2-1 home defeat in 2021-22. The last Hammers player to score at home to Man Utd in three successive seasons was Pop Robson, between 1970-71 and 1972-73.
Manchester United went some way to banishing the trauma of last season’s 7-0 defeat to Liverpool last Sunday, producing a disciplined defensive performance in a goalless draw at Anfield. While that result stopped the rot for the Red Devils, they are still six points adrift of the Premier League’s top four going into Matchday 18, when a familiar face will be out to deny them some Christmas cheer.
David Moyes’ West Ham are just one point behind United in the table, and the Scot will surely be relishing the chance to take them above his former employers with a win in Saturday’s early kick-off. He has had little joy against Man Utd since his Old Trafford exit in 2014, only winning one of 10 Premier League games against them with Sunderland and West Ham (D2 L7), though that lone victory did come in his last such match in May (1-0 at the London Stadium).
Since Moyes returned to West Ham in 2019, though, they have only won three of 31 Premier League games against teams who finished in the top four in the previous season (D5 L23).
Moyes will be hoping for a repeat of their devastating counter-attacking performance against Wolves last Sunday, when Jarrod Bowen added to Mohammed Kudus’ brace in a 3-0 win. England international Bowen (11 goals) and Kudus (9) are West Ham’s two leading scorers in all competitions this season, and they will likely carry their attacking hopes again here, with Michail Antonio still injured.
Lucas Paquetá assisted all three goals in that game, matching his tally from 28 league outings last season. The Brazil international also created six chances in open play against Wolves, the most by a Hammers player in a Premier League game since Mauro Zárate against Stoke City in 2015 (seven).
Moyes’ men turned their attentions to the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, but missed out on a place in the semis following a heavy 5-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. It was a poor night for the Hammers, as they attempted just two shots worth an xG total of 0.06 – their lowest figure in a competitive match since February 2019. They also faced 29 shots, equalling the most that they have faced in a match in 2023-24 so far in all competitions.
Having played their fair share of midweek fixtures due to UEFA Europa League involvement, West Ham could rotate across the busy festive period. Should Moyes decide to make changes, he could call upon a player who has caused United plenty of problems in the past.
Saïd Benrahma scored West Ham’s winner in this exact fixture last season, also netting in their 2-1 home defeat to the Red Devils in 2021-22. The last Hammers player to score at home to United in three successive seasons was Pop Robson, who did so between 1970-71 and 1972-73.
Three points will certainly be top of Erik ten Hag’s Christmas list. United have only won one of their last six games in all competitions (D2 L3), suffering an early UEFA Champions League exit and losing ground on their rivals for a top-four Premier League finish.
The Dutchman will hope last week’s rearguard action at Anfield can be something of a turning point, with Liverpool kept out despite firing 34 shots at André Onana’s goal – their most on record (since 2003-04) in a Premier League game in which they failed to score.
Onana made eight saves on Merseyside, and while he committed several costly errors in United’s poor Champions League campaign, he has demonstrated his shot-stopping abilities in the Premier League. According to Opta’s expected goals on target (xGOT) model, Onana has prevented 4.4 goals this season, judged on the quality of shots he has faced. Only Tottenham’s Guglielmo Vicario (5.2), Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martínez (4.8) and Luton Town’s Thomas Kaminski (4.5) have prevented more.
At the other end, however, United struggled for creativity without captain Bruno Fernandes at Anfield, who is available for Saturday’s game after serving a one-match ban for accumulating five yellow cards. He has created 126 chances in the Premier League in 2023, the most by a United player in a single calendar year on record (since 2004). Ninety-six of those have come in open play, with only two players ever creating more in a single calendar year on record – Mesut Özil for Arsenal (104) and Eden Hazard for Chelsea (98), both in 2015.
As for team news for the visitors, while Fernandes should return to United’s lineup, Diogo Dalot is suspended after being sent off for dissent in the closing seconds at Anfield, while Ten Hag still has some injury problems to consider. Christian Eriksen has recovered from a knee issue but Casemiro, Mason Mount, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martínez are still out. Question marks will remain as to whether Marcus Rashford will come back into the team after recent starts on the bench.
West Ham vs Manchester United Head-to-Head
West Ham won the most recent meeting between the teams in May, with David de Gea failing to keep out Benrahma’s tame effort as the Hammers triumphed 1-0.
They could now win back-to-back Premier League games against the Red Devils for the first time since enjoying a run of three straight victories between December 2006 and December 2007.
Indeed, the London Stadium has not been the most welcoming venue for United, who have only won two of their last six Premier League away games against West Ham (D1 L3)). Both of those victories came under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
More generally, United have only won two of their last 12 league games in London (D3 L7), with those victories both coming against Fulham in November 2022 and November 2023.
Saturday’s game will be United’s final outing before Christmas, and they have already lost 12 games across all competitions this season, with their most recent two being the 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth and 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich, both at Old Trafford.
They last suffered more defeats before Christmas in 1930-31, losing 16 times before December 25th and going on to finish bottom of the top flight.
The Red Devils have also failed to score in three of their four Premier League games in December, their most in a single month since January 2020 (also three).
Man United have drawn a blank in 11 different Premier League games in 2023, only failing to net more often in a single calendar year under Louis van Gaal in 2015 (12). With games against Villa and Nottingham Forest to come before New Year’s Day, might a piece of unwanted history await them?
Starting with May’s victory over Man Utd, West Ham have won six of their last 10 home league games, drawing with Newcastle United and Crystal Palace and losing to Manchester City and Everton.
Neutrals will be hoping for entertainment on Saturday, and two less-than-solid defences should ensure they get it. Going into MD 18, only Sheffield United (306) and Luton (282) had faced more shots in the Premier League this season than West Ham and Manchester United (271 each).
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off in this Premier League match, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
West Ham vs Manchester United Opta Player Ratings
Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:
Mohammed Kudus: 78.8 (out of 100)
Jarrod Bowen: 77.7
James Ward-Prowse: 76.1
Kurt Zouma: 66.2
André Onana: 77.5 (out of 100)
Diogo Dalot: 74.9
Victor Lindelöf: 64.8
Scott McTominay: 64.6
Bruno Fernandes: 64.2
These Opta Player Ratings also power our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, which you can play on Opta Analyst all season long.
West Ham vs Manchester United Prediction
According to the Opta supercomputer, Saturday’s early kick-off is the most difficult game to call across Matchday 18 in the Premier League.
The visitors won 37.2% of the supercomputer’s pre-match simulations, but that is the lowest win probability given to any favourite ahead of the final set of pre-Christmas fixtures.
West Ham are given a 34.2% chance of victory, with the likelihood of a draw rated at 28.6%.
In the supercomputer’s season predictions, the sides are seen as direct competitors for European qualification. Eighth is both teams’ most common position across our season simulations, with Ten Hag’s men finishing there in 20.3% of scenarios and West Ham doing so in 19.7%.
Overall, the Red Devils are given a 39.1% chance of a top-seven finish, compared to the Irons’ 33.3%.