Jose Mourinho takes Manchester United to the Hawthorns to face a West Brom side that finally seem to be finding their feet under new boss Alan Pardew.
West Brom are yet to take flight under new boss Alan Pardew, but seem to be slowly finding their feet in the Premier League. The Baggies have lost just one of their last five encounters and despite not winning any of them, this does point towards signs of improvement within the camp at Hawthorns.
Manchester United, on the other hand, looked nervy in a narrow 1-0 win over Bournemouth after their defeat in the Manchester derby. There are still question marks over the team’s ability to compensate adequately for the absence of Paul Pogba and the fixture may pan out to be a close affair.
City do face Tottenham and United would be looking to either maintain or lessen the gap, depending on the result in the former fixture. Ahead of the match at Hawthorns, let us take a closer look at the two teams.
Team News & Tactics
West Bromwich Albion
James Morrison and Craig Dawson remain long-term absentees for Alan Pardew. The manager though, will be hoping to see Gareth Barry return and be fit enough to feature against Manchester United. Other doubts for the game include Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips, which will come as a huge blow to Pardew & co.
Jay Rodriguez and Sam Field were dropped for the midweek clash against Liverpool and the duo will hope to be in contention to feature against Manchester United.
Pardew will be looking for a point at least at home to United and will deploy tactics accordingly. With the pace of Chadli and Phillips missing on the wings, we could see Pardew retain the five-man midfield, leaving Salomon Rondon to create and latch on to any chance that does come his way.
Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Foster; Nyom, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs; Robson-Kanu, Livermore, Barry, Field, Rodriguez; Rondon
Paul Pogba will have to sit out another match – his last as part of his three-game suspension, which could provide Scott McTominay with another rare chance to start for United. Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick remain sidelined for a good time, with the former set to miss at least 2 months of action according to latest reports.
Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo are both doubts for the game. Henrikh Mkhitaryan will unlikely make the matchday squad after Mourinho iterated that the player does not deserve as much as the other options available at his disposal.
Marcus Rashford was rested for the midweek tie and should, in general, start on Sunday, be it as a striker or on the wing. Matteo Darmian has been biding his time for a while now and could be given a chance in place of Antonio Valencia, who does deserve a bit of a rest.
Luke Shaw gave a commendable account of his abilities. but is unlikely to hold on to his spot, with Ashley Young likely to be reinstated for the game at Hawthorns.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Darmian, Jones, Lindelof, Young; Herrera, Matic; Rashford, Lingard, Martial; Lukaku
1. Manchester United to win @ 1.60
2. Marcus Rashford to score anytime @ 2.75
1. Marcus Rashford to score 2 or more @ 11.00
1. Managerial tiff – No manager has beaten Jose Mourinho more times in the Premier League than Alan Pardew (3 – tied with Mark Hughes).
2. David De Gea has recorded the most number of clean sheets in the big five European leagues since last season (24 – tied with Jan Oblak).
3. West Brom have failed to score in their last 3 Premier League games.
4. Romelu Lukaku returns to the ground where he first arrived on loan from Chelsea and impressed in the Premier League with a record of 17 goals and 7 assists in 38 games.
5. West Brom have lost eight of the last 11 Premier League games against Manchester United (W1 D2).
Player to Watch
The defender has been one of the few in-form players for West Brom this season so far. The on-loan defender could see his move being made permanent by the club as the floating rumours say. With a new manager at the helm, his performances leading up to January could very well decide his future at the club.
West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester United
West Brom’s failure to score combined with United’s strong defensive record does not make for good reading. We expect the Baggies to put out numbers in front of the goal and make it tough for United to score. But, the Red Devils should be able to get through.
Expect another clean sheet to be added to De Gea’s kitty and a clean win for United to keep pace with City.