The furore and drama from the Boxing Day fixture still hasn’t calmed down yet, but we’re back in action on Saturday with West Bromwich Albion the visitors to Old Trafford, as the second half of the Premiership season kicks off.
For the reds, Fergie has Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck back in contention for selection after missing Wednesday’s game.
More good news is that Shinji Kagawa could also feature for the first time since October and is likely to take a place on the bench if he passes a late fitness test.
Missing for United will be Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones. Anderson and Nani continue to be absent, and Nick Powell is ill.
West Brom have their fair share of players missing for this one as well.
Jonas Olsson, Goran Popov and midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu all picked up injuries in their Boxing Day victory at QPR. Claudio Yacob continues to miss out, so they have recalled George Thorne from a loan spell at Peterborough.
Entering this one seven points clear at the top, we have a comfortable cushion over neighbours City. It’s important not to underestimate our visitors who lie in a more than commendable sixth place in the table, on joint points with Spurs in 4th spot, and Everton in 5th.
Boss Steve Clarke has made a lot of no-fuss improvements on an already decent side left behind by England boss Roy Hodgson, and the obviously clever Scot will have done his homework to try and out-fox the clever Scot of our own.
It’s imperative that we treat the visitors with respect. They’re a surprisingly dangerous unit this term, and could cause us problems.
They’ve played for both sides:
We’ve had a number of players who’ve represented both teams over the years, as well as Ron Atkinson who managed both clubs.
Bryan Robson: Robbo was the heartbeat and the engine of the 1980’s Manchester United, after signing for a then record fee of £1.5million back in 1981. United had just acquired Ron Atkinson as boss from West Brom, and one of his first jobs was to go back to his old club and sign the player who’d go on to become the best United and England midfielder of the last thirty years. Captain Marvel made 471 appearances for the reds, scoring 103 goals before leaving Old Trafford to promote Middlesbrough as champions to the Premier League at his first attempt in 1994/95. He later saved the Baggies from being relegated in 2005.
Ben Foster: There were high hopes for the promising young ‘keeper that Sir Alex Ferguson signed for £1million from Stoke City in 2005. Touted as a future United and England number one, he would slowly be introduced to the United set up after loan spell at Watford to increase his first team experience. He had rave reviews in his 2 year loan spell there, but up on appearing in the first team at United, the going seemed too much for him and he was sold to Birmingham for £6million in 2010. Around the same time, he retired from playing for England after less than a handful of games. The current first choice ‘keeper at West Brom, whether his welcome will be warm remains to be seen. Upon his departure from Old Trafford he criticised the supporters, saying that it was the green and gold campaign that blew United’s chances of the title in his final year. A mixed character and performer, who’ll probably get a mixed response from the Old Trafford crowd.
Fancy a flutter?
Back by popular demand to this column, here are a few odds to whet your appetite for making a bit of money from this one. Odds supplied by Bet365
- United to beat WBA 4-3 – 66/1
- United to lose by 1 goal – 12/1
- Jonny Evans to score first in a 3-2 United win – 210/1
- WBA to take the lead but United to win – 11/2
Happy new year to all the Red Flag Flying High readers. And wherever you’re watching it, enjoy the game.
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