Last night's Europa League encounter between Liverpool and Manchester United was illuminating in many ways. First up, it reminded me of the episode of Family Guy where the two old geezers (Herbert and Franz) get it on! As the new Premiership order hits home, it was obvious that this was a battle between two has-beens who both have seen better days. That both sides put out their best sides only served to emphasise how the substantially inferior prize that is the Ropey League is the best that these pair can muster these days.
Ahead of Sunday's FA Cup encounter, last night's spectacle provided clear evidence of Manchester United's demise under LVG. Liverpool ran rings around a befuddled devils back line and should have dished out a proper hiding - imagine how the departed Luis Suarez would have fared against that lacklustre defence! And remember, this is a Liverpool side that West Ham have brushed aside with relative ease on two occasions this season.
All of which poses a dilemma for Slaven Bilic - Manchester United are very vulnerable right now. While the Hammers have defensive concerns at centre and right back, they look blunt up front but more importantly, are weak at the back. They say the best means of defence is attack and that certainly seems to be the case in dealing with Man U right now. However, away from home Bilic likes to hit the opposition on the break and may choose to sit back.
Many observers would be only too happy to take a draw. Earlier in the season we dominated at Old Trafford but settled for a 0-0. While we all love our (rare) Old T victories, good sense says keep it tight and see what happens. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing how Man U cope in the final quarter of the game when Payet starts swinging in crosses for Sakho, Carroll and Antonio. In good news for the Hammers, after chasing around trying to get a look in all night last night, they may not have fully recovered by Sunday and are likely to tire towards the end if we impose a high tempo from the start.
West Ham are 14/5 against to win.....remarkable odds methinks! A £95 punt could well win you the price of one of the additional 6,000 category 5 season tickets the Hammers are looking to add to the Olympic Stadium. Just saying...
Bring it on!!!
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