Subs: Adian, Fonte, Collins, Snodgrass, Fernandes, Martinez, Sakho
I suspect we’re all just a little excited about this afternoon. And I guess we’d all be happy with a point, but let’s be ambitious. We’ve seen over the past couple of days how upsets can happen on the first day of the season, and although Sean Whetstone on Claret & Hugh has pointed out how all the omens and stats are against us, you never know.
Whatever lineup we put out against the Red Devils, it will be one of the strongest we’ve ever been able to play at Old Trafford. In theory, there isn’t a real weakness in this team, even if we haven’t got all our players fit. We have England’s Number 1 in goal. We have our two first choice central defenders fit. After several years of right back being our weak spot we now have a real star in Zabaleta. At left back Masuaku has really impressed in pre-season and will be keen to take his chance. If I am right and Declan Rice plays as a sweeper in a defensive midfield three I doubt whether he will let anyone down on his full first team debut. Mark Noble has now recovered from the hernia injury that he played through last season, and probably shouldn’t have, and we have one of our players of the season back in Pedro Obiang. Andre Ayew knows that he is going to have to compete for that right wing slot with Michail Antonio and I am sure we’re all keen to see Marko Arnautovic reach peak form. And then there’s Javier Hernandez who will hopefully have us all drooling.
And the strength of our squad is evident when we look at the bench – and this is with Cresswell, Antonio, Lanzini, Carroll and Kouyate all out injured. It’s a good time to be a Hammer, especially given the mouthwatering prospect of William Cavalho signing this week.
Do enter a team into the Predictor League before 2.55pm. Its very simple to do. If you’ve never done it before give it a try!