Manchester United

Expected West Ham XI to face Manchester United with Tomas Soucek set to start

West Ham's fine start to 2022 came to an end with a disappointing 3-2 defeat at home to Leeds and David Moyes' team are determined to bounce back this afternoon against Manchester United.

Moyes leads his team to Old Trafford to take on his former club adding some extra spice to the occasion if any were needed. Victory for the Hammers closes the gap on third-placed Chelsea to just four points whilst stretching their lead over United to five points.

Defeat for the Hammers and Ralph Ragnick's side will leapfrog West Ham and move into the top four at their expense.

Following the poor display against Leeds last time out, Moyes faces some key selection issues including whether Kurt Zouma is ready for his return to action after a seven-week absence with a hamstring injury.

Moyes hinted that Zouma could be included after his return to training and recovering from COVID.

"We've been watching him training and I've got a decision to make as to whether he's ready to play or not. Not sure yet, we need to see. He's had a knee problem and he's recovering from Covid as well which has added to that. We'll need to see," Moyes said.

"His injury is the big one, the Covid is a big one as well because some people can recover very quickly, some can take longer. He is coming on great so we've just got to hope that he's much closer to it."

If selected, the centre-back is likely to join Craig Dawson in the heart of the backline, with Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal flanking the pair. Behind the defence, Lukasz Fabianski will almost certainly start in goal with Alphonse Areola his backup on the bench.

Tomas Soucek is another set to return to the team after missing the last two matches following a positive COVID test. The Czech Republic captain will join Declan Rice in midfield leaving Moyes with a tough call as to what to do with Manuel Lanzini.

The Argentine has been in fine form for the Hammers and filled in for Soucek in central midfield and will be battling with Pablo Fornals and Nikola Vlasic for a start in attacking midfield.

Lanzini is likely to win the battle and start in his preferred No.10 role, leaving Fornals and Vlasic to fight for a spot on the left, but the Spaniard's performance, and goal against Leeds United, is set to give him the edge over the Croatian.

In-form Jarrod Bowen is a nailed-on starter on the right with Michail Antonio to once again lead the line.

Predicted West Ham XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals; Antonio

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