David Moyes still hasn’t overcome the challenge of beating Manchester United and following their first Premier League defeat of the current campaign to the same opponents in Stratford last weekend, West Ham United have to face Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side again, as both teams begin their 2021/22 Carabao Cup journey at Old Trafford tonight.
This will be the second time in consecutive seasons that these two teams have been drawn to play each other in a cup competition.
With this being the case, it will mean that they will again go head-to-head at least once more this season, exactly as they did when they met here in a fifth round FA Cup tie. The Hammers will want to banish all memories of that defeat as the home side won 1-0 in extra-time.
Just as last season, if there is nothing to separate the two sides after ninety minutes, then the winner will be decided on penalties and as Mark Noble missed an opportunity to equalise from the spot in the 2-1 reverse three days ago after he was especially chosen from the bench to take it, the Irons would hope to progress within normal time.
After making easy work of home ties against lower league opposition by coming up against Charlton Athletic and Hull City as part of their run in this competition last season, the East Londoners were eventually knocked out by fellow top-flight outfit Everton in a fourth round tie at Goodison Park. With both teams currently having to deal with European involvement, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top here.
Craig Dawson was dropped to the bench in favour of Kurt Zouma for the weekend’s match between the two clubs but the former Rochdale, West Bromwich Albion and Watford defender could be selected here, as Moyes is again set to make changes. Noble will hope to be involved in what will be his first start of the campaign.
Nikola Vlašić filled in for the suspended Michail Antonio three days ago instead of Andriy Yarmolenko but the Ukrainian will be desperate to feature in this encounter, while Alphonse Areola might finally make his debut in goal after joining on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
Ryan Fredericks, Manuel Lanzini, Issa Diop and Arthur Masuaku are other players that will be pushing for starts, while Czech midfielder Alex Král is in the same situation to Areola, as he is also still waiting for his debut.
One player that will not feature however is defender Winston Reid, as it has now been confirmed that after an 11-year stay in East London, a mutual agreement has been reached for the New Zealanders contract to be terminated.
The encounter gets underway at 7:45pm with live coverage being screened by Sky Sports from 7pm. The referee is Jonathan Moss.