WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Old Trafford, Manchester
October 16, 2010; 7:30 PM IST – Live on ESPN
West Bromwich Albion travel to Manchester in a bid to secure their first win at Old Trafford in 32 years. A win for the Baggies would lift them above Manchester United and extend their unbeaten run to six league games, which in itself will be exceptional progress, after their drubbing at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season.
Manchester United are in an unhappy position of being a point behind their ‘noisy neighbours’ and five points behind run away leaders Chelsea. Despite being unbeaten in the league thus far, the Red Devils must be ruing their missed opportunities on the road this season. However, their home form has been as impeccable as ever – winning all the games at Old Trafford this term. The return of Rio Ferdinand has certainly been a boost to United’s defence which looked far from convincing without the thirty-two year old Englishman.
Keeping the opposition in check
Wayne Rooney is likely to return to the starting line-up after his claims of being fully fit despite his manager suggesting otherwise. Ryan Giggs has also recovered from an injury which kept him out of the game against Sunderland. Sir Alex has also dismissed reports of Owen Hargreaves being fully fit which means that the Canandian born midfielder will continue to remain on the sidelines. Ferguson has most of his squad fit with only Antonio Valencia being a long-term casualty.
West Brom, on the other hand, had been on a dream run before the international break. Their unbeaten run of five league games has landed them in sixth position in the league table, level on points with Arsenal and Tottenham. The Baggies have already beaten Manchester City at home and shocked Arsenal at the Emirates in their last game. However, a win at Old Trafford may just prove to be a task too daunting for Roberto Di Matteo.
Di Matteo has already reported that all his players who were on international duty have returned fit which is a good news, especially considering that star striker Peter Odemwingie may miss the game at Old Trafford due to the knee injury that he had sustained against Bolton. Midfielder Jerome Thomas is also doubtful for the game, having already missed the game against the Trotters due to a calf injury.
Probable Starting Line-ups
Manchester United: Van Der Sar, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney
West Bromwich Albion: Carson, Jara, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey, Morrison, Dorrans Mulumbu, Scharner, Brunt, Cox
Key Match Facts:
1) United have won 11 of the last 12 league meetings between these two teams.
2) The Red Devils have scored in their last 14 league games at Old Trafford.
3) This is the best ever start to a Premier League season for West Brom.
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch Out For
Nani (Man United)
The Portugese winger has been in great form for both club and country this season. Tied with Drogba for most assists this season, Nani has been a major force in United’s attack this season. His battle with in-form Nick Shorey could be worth watching, but Nani is expected to win the duel with Old Trafford faithfuls behind him.
Too hot to handle
Manchetser United 3-0 West Bromwich Albion
United’s defence has been much more assured with Rio’s return. An early goal will pave the way for an easy victory for the home side.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST