London: Manchester United will be looking to return to winning ways at Old Trafford on Saturday as they host struggling West Ham United in the Premier League.
The champions have lost their last two top-flight match at Old Trafford 0-1 against Everton and Newcastle. They did win their last league game, coasting to a 3-0 success at Aston Villa last week, but are 10 points behind leaders Arsenal.
The Villa triumph was sandwiched by Champions League and Capital One Cup successes against Shakhtar Donetsk and Stoke City respectively, easing the pressure on manager David Moyes.
But improvement in the Premier League is essential for Moyes, starting on Saturday, and the Scot will be sweating over the fitness of striker Wayne Rooney.
The England international missed Wednesday’s 2-0 win at Stoke with a groin injury and with fellow striker Robin van Persie on the sidelines, Moyes will be counting on the former Everton man. “He has got a chance [of playing],” a hopeful Moyes said.
Winger Ashley Young scored his first United goal since May, 2012 at the Britannia Stadium and was named the Man of the Match after an impressive display.
“As soon as I hit it, I felt like it was going in. You could see from my celebration how much it meant to get on the scoresheet; it’s been a little while,” Young told United’s website.
“The boys were magnificent – we showed great spirit and character and hopefully we take that into this weekend’s game.”
Young could retain his place as a result of that performance for United, who are hopeful of welcoming back Nemanja Vidic, although an immediate return to the first team is not guaranteed for the centre-back. Marouane Fellaini could also return, but fellow midfielder Michael Carrick will miss out because of a calf injury.
West Ham, who have slipped to 17th in the table, have lost four of their last six games, but the 2-1 win away to Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup will provide a boost ahead of their trip to Manchester.
Matt Jarvis and Modibo Maiga scored in the last 10 minutes for Sam Allardyce’s side as they set up a semi-final clash against Manchester City. Maiga could be recalled to the starting line-up in place of Carlton Cole, while Kevin Nolan serves the final game of his suspension.