Match points: Man United v West Ham Key battles

Anthony Martial (above) v Winston Reid (below)

Martial began brilliantly for United but the goals have dried up as his chances have been limited. He still seems the brightest attacker at Louis van Gaal's disposal, but his immediate opponent will be the redoubtable Reid, one of the best out-and-out defenders outside the big clubs. However, West Ham's last clean sheet came on Sept 14.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (above )v Mark Noble (below)

Two playmakers who will look to exert control from the base of the midfield. Noble, who will return after a one-match ban, benefits from having quicker players around him. Schweinsteiger, who opened his United account at Leicester, ought to, also, if Morgan Schneiderlin is recalled or Ander Herrera is fit to return.


Chris Smalling  (above ) v Andy Carroll (below )

Smalling has progressed dramatically in 2015. Carroll has regressed. West Ham's record signing, whose time at Liverpool guarantees him a hostile reception at Old Trafford, has only scored once in 10 injury-hit months. The tall Smalling will be prepared for an aerial battle, but Carroll scarcely suits manager Slaven Bilic's slicker style of play.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2015, with the headline 'Match points: Man United v West Ham Key battles'. Print Edition | Subscribe