Title in sight as United visit West Ham United

LONDON. Having returned to winning ways at the weekend, Manchester United can close to within four points of the Premier League title with victory at West Ham United on Wednesday.
Wayne Rooney wants to stay at Old Trafford but is reported to be a target for PSG. Net photo.
Wayne Rooney wants to stay at Old Trafford but is reported to be a target for PSG. Net photo.

Today
Man City      vs      Wigan         20:45   
West Ham     vs      Man United     20:45 SS3
Fulham      vs      Chelsea     21:00 SS5

LONDON.
Having returned to winning ways at the weekend, Manchester United can close to within four points of the Premier League title with victory at West Ham United on Wednesday.

United’s morale took a blow after last week’s defeat at home to Manchester City, but Sunday’s 2-0 success at Stoke City saw Alex Ferguson’s side re-establish a 15-point lead over their derby rivals.

It left them seven points from an unprecedented 20th English league crown and they could even capture the title as early as Sunday if City slip up against Wigan Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur this week.

However, before that can happen, United must prevail at Upton Park, and the boisterous east London stadium has not always been a happy hunting ground for the men from Old Trafford.

United had title bids derailed there in both 1992 and 1995; the latter occasion a game in which home goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko produced save after save to deny United the goal they needed to pip Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League trophy on the season’s final day.

More recently, United were given a searching examination in an FA Cup third-round game in January, when the visitors needed an injury-time goal from Robin van Persie to take the tie to a replay.

All in all, United have won on just three of their last seven visits to West Ham in all competitions, including a chastening 4-0 thrashing in a League Cup tie in November 2010.

At least van Persie has recovered his scoring touch, having gone 10 games without a goal before finding the net from the penalty spot in the second half at Stoke.

Ferguson praised United for their “battling performance” at the Britannia Stadium and captain Nemanja Vidic believes a similarly committed display will be required on Wednesday.

“Now it’s West Ham and we have to play well again,” the Serbian told United’s in-house television station, MUTV. “They play in a similar style to Stoke - we’re going to have long balls and set-pieces to deal with.”

West Ham appear to have secured their top-flight status for next season, with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton having taken them to within two points of the 40-point mark typically considered as a guarantee of survival.

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