As we approach towards the beginning of the business end of the season, every game has its own significance, one which can either act as a catalyst for success, or bring the wheels off the season right there itself.
This Saturday promises to be an absolute humdinger, with Manchester United and West Ham United locking horns for the third and possibly the most decisive encounter between the two. Both teams come into this fixture with contrasting results.
While Manchester United overcame Brentford with an efficient second half performance, West Ham stuttered towards a 2-3 home defeat against Leeds United. The Hammers will be looking to return to winning ways, while the Red Devils will look forward to turning that result into a winning run and building further momentum.
3 Things to look forward to in Manchester United vs West Ham United
1. Will the Man Utd defense be able to hold off Jarrod Bowen?
Jarrod Bowen has been one of the finds of the season for this West Ham side. Coming from Hull City for a pretty handsome 22 million pounds, Bowen is now proving he was worth every penny.
He has been an absolute livewire on the right for the Hammers this season, with his constant and relentless movement coupled with his ability to deliver that end product most often than not.
Bowen has captivated West Ham fans, becoming a cult hero. He will definitely fancy adding to his tally of 6 goals and 7 assists against an United defense who are yet to gel as a cohesive unit and are always one mistake away from utter disaster.
Will United's defence hold their ground, or will Bowen come up trumps in this battle is something that will create a lot of buzz.
2. The Red Devils to correct their woes at home?
For ages, Old Trafford was a fortress. An intimidating cauldron of noise, fear and a cacophony of nightmares for visiting teams to come to.
Many a teams lost at the mere moment of entering into this proud and regal "Theater of Dreams". But lately, playing at home does not seem to be a pretty proposition for the Red Devils.
This season, Manchester United have been soundly beaten by arch rivals Man City and Liverpool, and embarrassed by Aston Villa and Wolves at Old Trafford.
For United to actually make sure that this season does not end in the same mediocre way of past years, they will have to start winning their home games, starting with this one.
3. Ramifications for Top 4
The race for Champions League places heats up each gameweek. West Ham currently sit in the last Champions League spot at 37 points, whereas the Red Devils are in 7th place at 35, but have a game in hand on the Hammers. So, this game has huge ramifications for both teams.
A win for West Ham will further cement their grip on fourth place, which could be massive given that fifth place Spurs have three games in hand over the Hammers. A win for Manchester United, on the other hand, will not only boost their confidence, but will boost their upward charge, moving them straight to fourth place in the table. This is a game that could have massive implications for how the rest of the season will pan out for both these teams.
The stage is set. The stakes are high. Will the Red Devils have enough to overcome the robust Hammers? Or will Moyes and his surging West Ham strike the decisive blow on a day which promises so much for both sets of players and fans.
Bring on Saturday already.
Written by: Delwyn Serrao for the MUSC Red Devils NCR