Man Utd v West Ham- Hammers face tough opening game

West Ham United will look to put a disappointing 2016/17 season behind them when they travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the opening game of the new 2017/18 season.

The Hammers, seventh in 2015/16 with 62 points, finished a disappointing 11th last season, picking up just 45 points from 38 games. Their inaugural season at the London Stadium was therefore a forgettable one, and manager Slaven Bilic has moved to significantly bolster his squad in the summer window.

One of those signings, Javier Hernandez, is a former Manchester United player, and will make his Hammers bow against his old club at the Theatre of Dreams. This is the third straight year that West Ham are starting their new league campaign away at one of the Premier League’s traditional big four- they won 2-0 away at Arsenal in 2015/16 and lost 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to Chelsea last season.

Chicharito West Ham

Other big names also likely to make their West Ham debut on Sunday include goalkeeper Joe Hart, right back Pablo Zabaleta and club record signing Marko Arnautovic at left wing.

The club have lacked penetration upfront and Hernandez, a proven goalscorer at both Premier League and Bundesliga level, should certainly give them that thrust Slaven Bilic’s men missed last season.

With Kouyate and Antonio injured, we’d probably expect Hammers to line up in a 4-2-3-1, with the trio of Arnautovic, Lanzini and Ayew operating behind Hernandez, Noble and Obiang in midfield, and a potential back four of Cresswell, Reid, Ogbonna and Zabaleta.

Manchester United had a disappointing league season too, but made up for it by winning the UEFA Cup that allowed them entry into the 17/18 Champions League. They come into this game on the back of defeat in the Super Cup in Skopje against Real Madrid. Isco and Casemiro put Real 2-0 ahead before new summer signing Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for the Red Devils.

Speaking of Lukaku, you could safely take a punt at NetBet Sport on him to score on Sunday. He had an incredible scoring record against West Ham while at Everton- netting in nine consecutive games before the streak was broken in the 0-0 draw earlier this year. Given the fragility of West Ham’s defence- only five other teams shipped less goals than them last season, the Belgian will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing his favourite opposition.

United faced West Ham thrice last season and were unbeaten against them, winning 4-1 in the League Cup, 2-0 at the London Stadium and drawing 1-1 at Old Trafford.

Referee for this game will be Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)

West Ham v Man Utd kicks off on Sunday (August 13, 2017) at 16.00

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