West Ham United will be hosting Manchester United on Wednesday night for a quarter-final replay that will see Upton Park host its last ever FA Cup encounter. The sixth-round replay sees Slaven Bilic’s men attempt to finish the job they so nearly completed at Old Trafford.
The Hammers understand that one final cup victory under the Boleyn floodlights will set up a Wembley semi-final against Everton on April 23, but the Red Devils will be no pushovers despite disappointment on their last trip to London.
The first leg at Old Trafford was termed as a French affair, as United forward Anthony Martial equalized Dimitri Payet’s opener for the Hammers.
And speaking ahead of the match, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said: “At home we are slight favorites, but when it comes to Man United I don’t know. I don’t gamble so I don’t know a lot about it. For me it is easy to say it is not important who is favorites because it is a game of football but I can say ‘yes, tomorrow night I expect us to win and I think we have a good chance to beat them.”
Bilic is unsure whether Andy Carroll will be fit for the FA Cup clash with Manchester United, adding Diafra Sakho is also unlikely to return to the squad.
Carroll, 27, was in sensational form against Arsenal on Saturday 9 April, scoring a hat-track inside eight minutes to help his side come from two goals down in a 3-3 thriller at Upton Park.
And Bilic had these to say about his fitness: “I don’t know about the England squad. I said my opinion about him and it doesn’t vary to most of the football people’s opinion of Andy – when he is fit and in form he is very special and gives you something. He is different. It is hard to mark him and hard to cope with him. For us he has done really good every time he is fit. He doesn’t have to score, his presence on the pitch gives us another quality and dimension.”
Speaking about Carroll and the like of Payet , United boss Louis van Gaal said: “I’ve seen the Andy Carroll show and I think our problem against Tottenham was also the miscommunication of our central defenders. I hope that we improve our communication because it is very important this game for us.
“Carroll has special qualities. We have seen that in the match that he played on Saturday. It was also against Arsenal and they have great central defenders but still he could do that. So we have to cope with Andy Carroll and not only Andy Carroll, the other players. They have a certain player called Dimitri Payet, for example; he can also play, and (Manuel) Lanzini can also score goals.”
Louis van Gaal’s side were easily beaten by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, leading to reports of player unrest, and they will be desperately looking for a win to keep their floundering season alive.
West Ham will be without the services of Diafra Sakho, but a recent injury report has confirmed that James Collins, James Tomkins and Sam Byram back to full training.
For the Red Devils, Rooney is back and fully fit and may start ahead of Rash Ford but Luke Shaw, Schweinsteiger and Will Keane are still unavailable. Phil Jones and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are yet to be assessed as it remains to be seen whether he is fit enough to play.
West Ham: Predicted Line up (4-2-3-1)
Adrián, Reid, Antonio, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Noble, Song, Payet, Valencia, Lanzini, Carroll.
Manchester United: Predicted Line Up (4-2-3-1)
De Gea, Darmian, Blind, Smalling, Rojo, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Martial, Rooney.