Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Manchester United
Venue: Boleyn Ground – Tuesday, May 10 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: West Ham 21/10 – Draw 23/10 – Man Utd 13/10
West Ham host Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground for the final time on Tuesday night in what is sure to be a special night for the East London club. But sentiment cannot get in the way too much with both clubs fighting for European football in their penultimate game of the season.
The Hammers will want nothing more than to win in their final game at their famous old stadium before moving over to the Olympic Stadium in time for next term. A special atmosphere is expected with the home fans set for an emotional evening.
But there is still an important match to be played. West Ham fell 4-1 at home to Swansea on Saturday, ending a ten-game unbeaten run in the league and dropped down to seventh in the table as a result.
They know a top six place will guarantee European football next term and that is something they will be desperate to achieve after a successful campaign. Three points on Tuesday would move them back into sixth ahead of their final day trip to Stoke.
But Manchester United will arrive at the Boleyn Ground desperate for all three points themselves. Louis Van Gaal’s side are two points off Manchester City in the final Champions League spot and know this game in hand is crucial.
A win would move the Red Devils into fourth ahead of the final day, on which they host Bournemouth while City travel to Swansea.
United are unbeaten in four in the league and have won three of those games, conceding just one goal in that time. A strong finish to the season had boosted morale and they will be out to spoil the Hammers’ party here.
History favours United in this fixture, with the Red Devils unbeaten in 14 league outings against West Ham (W11 D3).
The Hammers have not beaten United at the Boleyn Ground since 2007 but Tuesday night would be a magical time to end that record as far as the home support is concerned.
West Ham have just the one injury concern ahead of this special game. First-choice goalkeeper Adrian will miss the rest of the season and so Darren Randolph will keep his place between the sticks. Andy Carroll is expected to lead the attack once again.
Manchester United will hope Anthony Martial can shake off a hamstring problem in time for this one. He miss Saturday’s game with Norwich and is a huge doubt. Matteo Darmian picked up an ankle injury in that game and won’t feature, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane also remain out. Marouane Fellaini is suspended, while Luke Shaw and Phil Jones are not yet match fit. Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Daley Blind will expect to return to the starting lineup.
West Ham’s last five: D/D/W/W/L
Manchester United’s last five: L/W/W/D/W
Key Stat: This will be West Ham’s 384th and final Premier League match at the Boleyn Ground. They will take their overall points haul from the stadium to 601 with a victory here (W167 D97 L119).
Key Player: Wayne Rooney – It will be a special night for the entire West Ham team but also for Manchester United captain Rooney. He has scored more goals against the Hammers than any other United player (12 in 17 matches) and has netted seven of those at the Boleyn Ground – the stadium in which he happened to make his England debut as a 17-year-old in 2003. He will be out to spoil the West Ham party on Tuesday evening.
West Ham 2-2 Manchester United – This should be a special night of Premier League football for so many reasons. Both need three points from Tuesday’s game and so an exciting and attacking match is expected. Both sides will be confident of finding the net but it seems impossible to split them. The only top half side to have beaten West Ham at home this season is Leicester, while United have only won one of five trips to London so far. A loss would be a major blow for either and with so much to play for, a rather unhelpful score draw seems likely.