No Martial, no worries for Man United against West Ham

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Manchester United arrive in east London looking to play the role of party-poopers as West Ham play their last ever game at Upton Park.

Amid all the celebration, tears and hubbub the Boleyn Ground’s farewell is sure to produce, the fact that this is a far more important outing for the visitors is easily overlooked.

The Red Devils trail Manchester City in the race to finish in the top four by two points, with this battle against Slaven Bilic’s side their game in hand.

Two wins from two would land Louis van Gaal’s men fourth spot, but they must leap the first of those hurdles without the influential Anthony Martial, who has been ruled out of the West Ham clash through injury.

Ordinarily, losing the leading scorer in all competitions would strike a heavy blow to a side’s chances of victory. But for United, Martial’s absence shouldn’t actually cause too much panic.

The Old Trafford club have handled the Frenchman’s unavailability impressively this season. They actually have a 100 percent record in games without the former Monaco forward since he arrived in September.

The sample size is admittedly minuscule, stretching to just three matches, but nevertheless should boost confidence ahead of the Boleyn Ground visit.

Two of the three wins have come in the Premier League. The first came on the road, when the Red Devils bettered Watford in November.

In the next two matches United played without Martial, in February, the hole he left was emphatically filled by Marcus Rashford, who scored a brace in each outing against Midtjylland and Arsenal.

The teenager is 9/1 with Ladbrokes to repeat the trick against the Hammers, while customers can back the Red Devils to snare the win at a price of 29/20.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.