By Adefunmiloye Alani

17th Sep, 2021 | 2:15pm

Paul Merson predicts West Ham to lose against Manchester United

West Ham host Manchester United on Sunday, and they will be without Michail Antonio after he was sent off against Southampton last weekend.

The Hammers talisman bagged the opener as David Moyes’ men started their Europa League campaign with a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.

Being without Antonio for the Red Devils clash is a big blow for West Ham, and Paul Merson insists his absence will play a major role at the London Stadium, tipping the visitors for victory.

In his Sportskeeda column, the Sky Sports pundit predicted a 1-0 win in favour of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, writing: “If Michail Antonio was playing, I’d give West Ham every chance in this game. Unfortunately, he isn’t, so I’m really not sure how they could cope without him.

“Manchester United are not really playing well – the results they’ve got so far in the Premier League have simply papered over their cracks.

“The UEFA Champions League loss against Young Boys will serve as a kick up the backside for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co – it should liven them up for this one.

“They got a wake-up call at the right time and now they know that they will get beaten in the Premier League if they perform as poorly as they did in midweek. That said, Manchester United have looked quite solid at the back domestically and with Antonio out, they should win this one.”

Massive blow

Antonio has four goals and three assists in as many Premier League games this term, and he has extended that form to Europe.

However, two silly yellow cards against the Saints have proven costly, and Moyes will be unhappy that he is missing such an encounter through an avoidable suspension.

With the striker available, the Hammers boss would have fancied his chances against any team based on his current form.

Man Utd are yet to lose a league game this term, drawing once and winning the other three.

Indeed, it is an enviable form, especially given that they have scored 11 goals.

However, as evident in the games against Southampton, Wolves and Young Boys, the Red Devils have their flaws, and while the Irons will be without their best player, they can get a result if they can exploit the visitors’ major weaknesses.

Moyes will have to field one of his attackers as his number 9 for the clash, and that would not leave the fans confident.

Nevertheless, should the team manage to make the most of their chances in front of goal, a victory or draw is very much possible.

In other West Ham news, Solskjaer has shared a Jesse Lingard update ahead of weekend’s Hammers reunion.

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