Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Another test for Man United

Published:Friday | September 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM
AP Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse celebrates his goal and displays a t-shirt with a message for his former teammate Jonas Gutierrez during their English Premier League match against Hull City at St James's Park last Saturday. Newcastle midfielder Jonas Gutierrez is being treated for testicular cancer.

LONDON (AP): On a day of derbies in north London and Merseyside, the fate of Manchester United will be the most anticipated result tomorrow. United host West Ham having won just one of their opening five Premier League games, including a 5-3 collapse at Leicester last weekend.

"It's happened, it's about overcoming things," said manager Louis van Gaal, who has yet to halt the decline from the season under David Moyes.

For all the attacking firepower at Louis van Gaal's disposal - from Angel di Maria to Radamel Falcao - Van Gaal is down to just one fit centre back, Marcos Rojo, to face West Ham at Old Trafford.

Jonny Evans was out with an ankle injury, Tyler Blackett was suspended following his dismissal at Leicester, Chris Smalling was injured in training, and Phil Jones is sidelined with a hamstring problem. Either Daley Blind or fellow midfielder Darren Fletcher might have to be shifted back into defence.

"All the three right-sided centre halves are out - I don't know how long they will be out for," Van Gaal said yesterday. "Evans is a very difficult one. His bone is bruised a lot and we have to wait and see, to evaluate it.

"Smalling yesterday ran out of the training session because he had stiff legs. We have to see what that means. But I don't take risks with players."

Another six players are also injured, including midfielders Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini and winger Ashley Young.

United-West Ham is one of 10 games this weekend.

NORTH LONDON DERBY

For all the talk that the balance of power might shift in London, Arsenal remain the dominant force, with Tottenham in their wake. They meet at the Emirates Stadium separated by two points, but few would bet against Arsenal remaining in the top four come May.

Tottenham have won just twice at Arsenal since the inaugural Premier League season in 1992-93. Mauricio Pochettino's side goes into the game having taken just one point from their last three league games.

"We have a lot of work to do to improve the concept of the team," the former Southampton manager said ahead of his first north London derby. "But we are going in the right way and we need to show our work from the training ground and in the training sessions and produce that in the game."

LACKLUSTRE LIVERPOOL

The first game of round six sees Liverpool host Everton struggling without Luis Suarez, who joined Barcelona in the off season, and injured striker Daniel Sturridge. Liverpool have collected just six points from a possible 15 so far, losing back-to-back league games against Aston Villa and West Ham going into tomorrow's derby.

But Everton have not won at Anfield for 15 years and lost last weekend to Crystal Palace.

CHELSEA'S CHASE

Early pacesetters Chelsea find themselves in the unusual position of hosting an Aston Villa side alongside the London club in the top four tomorrow.

"They've had a great start to the season, apart from their last result (losing at Arsenal), so it's going to be another tough test for us," said Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, who has played for Villa.