Everything that you need to know ahead of Tuesday’s match:
(1) Manchester United and West Ham meet this week with a spot in the FA Cup quarterfinals on the line. The Reds have won this competition twelve times — trailing Arsenal by two for the most in English football history — including the 2016 FA Cup in Louis Van Gaal’s swansong as manager. West Ham, on the other hand, haven’t hoisted the cup since 1980.
(2) Everything looked so rosy at halftime on Saturday. Okay, Paul Pogba left with a first-half injury, but the Reds were well in control with a 2-0 lead and looked assured of another Premier League victory. But a quick-fire double from Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez brought Everton level just minutes into the second half, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin canceled out Scott McTominay’s 70th minute goal with an equalizer at the death. Two more dropped points.
(3) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Paul Pogba’s injury:
It looks like a muscle injury — thigh — so we’ve just got to check him [on Sunday] and have a scan and get him treatment. Hopefully, he’ll recover quickly.
(4) Calls to bench David de Gea will only grow louder after Everton’s late equalizer. The Spanish goalkeeper hesitated coming off his line to defend Lucas Digne’s free kick, allowing Dominic Calvert-Lewin to nip in and stab the ball home. Dean Henderson will likely start on Tuesday against West Ham — just like he’s done in all previous FA Cup and EFL Cup matches — but Solskjaer nevertheless faces a big decision on his No. 1 goalkeeper.
David de Gea has saved just 60.9% of shots on his goal in this season's Premier League, only Rui Patricio (59.7%) has a lower save-percentage of all PL keepers with 15+ apps this season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 6, 2021
He conceded from all three shots he faced tonight. pic.twitter.com/gKkVdGAedH
(5) You know what you’re going to get with this West Ham outfit. David Moyes has his side set up to play in a very direct style, moving the ball forward quickly on the wings. From there, the Hammers put crosses into the box looking for the heads of Michail Antonio or Tomas Soucek. West Ham also excel from set pieces — with eleven goals scored from dead ball situations so far this season.
(6) Last month, West Ham brought in Jesse Lingard on loan from Manchester United for the rest of the season. To free up a spot, the Hammers made Said Benrahma’s loan permanent. Benrahma still hasn’t scored a league goal for his new club, but has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few months and has established himself as an automatic starter on the left. Lingard, meanwhile, hit the ground running with two goals in his first match at West Ham.
(7) Since September, West Ham have only lost four times in all competitions — to Liverpool (twice), Manchester United, and Chelsea. This sparkling run of form has lifted the Hammers up to sixth in the Premier League table and opened the door to possible European qualification. That took a bit of a hit on Saturday, though, as they sputtered to a 0-0 draw with relegation-threatened Fulham.
(8) The biggest disappointment, though, was the late red card to Tomas Soucek for “elbowing” Aleksandar Mitrovic. The hugely controversial decision was upheld after a VAR review by Mike Dean and has drawn harsh criticism from all quarters. If Soucek is suspended for the Manchester United match — though it’s hard to see how the red card could be upheld on appeal — that would be a huge blow to West Ham’s cup hopes.
More VAR drama in the Premier League— Goal (@goal) February 6, 2021
Mike Dean sends off West Ham's Tomas Soucek for what looked like a totally accidental elbow ♂️ pic.twitter.com/LdP5933OQw
“Okay Mike, now send off Soucek” pic.twitter.com/t2Egkaf9mb— alex (@amh99___) February 6, 2021
(9) David Moyes on the Soucek red card:
I thought it was a rubbish decision. I don’t really know what we can do because it’s a closed shop with these things and you find it very difficult to get anything back from the referees or anyone involved in it. It was accidental, but I think players have got a responsibility to do the right thing as well. Quite often, we’re seeing lots of them not and that makes it hard for the referees.
(10) West Ham’s sale of the disappointing Sebastien Haller to Ajax leaves the London club worryingly reliant on Michail Antonio for goals. So, when Antonio left the Fulham draw in the second half with an apparent injury, many Hammers fans feared the worst. Afterwards, Moyes played down any concerns about his star striker’s fitness, indicating that his removal mostly came down to fatigue and that he doesn’t believe this to be anything serious.
(11) In West Ham’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa last week, the Hammers did the impossible: shutting down Jack Grealish. Knowing that almost all of Villa’s attacking threat would come down Grealish’s left side, Moyes brought in Ryan Fredericks (who usually plays as a fullback) for Jarrod Bowen on the wing to help out right back Vladimir Coufal. This defensive double-team kept the dangerous Grealish under wraps and could be reprised on Tuesday against Marcus Rashford.