When Sunday comes, Manchester United will aim to make West Bromwich Albion victims of a backlash, as they return to Premier League action, desperately trying to erase the memories of their midweek defeat in Europe.
United went down 3-2 to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League on Thursday, United’s defending were shaky to say the least, and the Spanish side completely outplayed the reds.
WBA will look to continue to some fine current form on their visit to Old Trafford, and hope that United don’t react to Thursday’s defeat.
Chris Smalling’s head injury opened up against Athletic on Thursday, and he’s doubt ahead of Sunday’s game. He will be assessed before the game to see if he must miss out. Tom Cleverley is available again after recovering from an ankle injury, and Paul Scholes is also likely to feature in this one.
Rio Ferdinand, rested for the Bilbao game should come back in to defence, and partner Johnny Evans at the back.
Chris Brunt might be available for Albion to make his first start in two months, after recovering from a broken foot. He’s likely to replace fellow midfielder Jerome Thomas, who has been suffering with a hamstring injury in recent weeks.
With right-back Steven Reid ruled out for the season with an ankle problem, and Billy Jones suffering with a leg injury. Gabriel Tamas stands by.
Did you know?
- West Brom have never beaten United in the Premier League. Their last victory over the reds came at The Hawthorns in March 1984.
- United have beaten West Brom on nine occasions out of 11 in the Premier League. The other two meetings have been draws.
- West Brom were the only team to come away from Old Trafford with a point last season, drawing 2-2 with the reds.
- Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals in his last five league and cup appearances for United.
In the league, United and West Brom are pretty much evens going by their last 12 games. Both sides have won seven, drawn one and lost four games. Both sides have scored 25 goals, with the Baggies conceding two less than the reds with 15 to United’s 17.
If you go on the last 6 away games, West Brom have the best record in the division. Winning four out of six with one defeat and a draw. Roy Hodgeson has steered his side from the relegation candidates that they were when he took over just over a year ago, to a decent mid table side, pushing for a top ten position.
The key here is that they will be in confident mood facing the reds, and may look to go one better than they did last term when we shared points.
In form for the reds
At both ends of the pitch, we’ve got players who are on fire at the moment. Wayne Rooney is weighing in with goals, but is still being questioned about his play. A trying performance against Bilbao saw him score a brace, but mis placed passes and bad decisions were a plenty. He doesn’t seem to be getting the rub of the green at the moment.
David De Gea is finally commanding the respect that he deserves by pulling out some top draw saves in recent games. Since the defeat at Anfield in the cup a few weeks ago, De Gea has strung together a consistent hit of games where he’s showing what Sir Alex saw in him to make him want to sign and nurture the 21 year old. Let down by his team mates on Thursday, De Gea was again impressive despite conceding three goals. The Spaniard’s confidence is growing, as is the confidence in him from fans and media alike.
So, with United and City kicking off at the same time this weekend, it’ll be interesting to see how each team perform without knowing if they’re able to take advantage of a slip up, or if the pressure is on to get all three points.
But United will be looking to avenge for their defeat on Thursday, appease the fans, and Sir Alex certainly wont let the same thing happen on Sunday as happened in the week.
Wherever you’re watching it, enjoy the game.
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