West Brom vs Man Utd | Match preview | Confirmed team news | Expected line-ups
Man Utd will take a trip to the Hawthorns this afternoon to face West Brom in their next Premier League clash.
After the disappointing 3-3 draw with Everton in their previous Premier League encounter, Man Utd were able to bounce-back three days later with a narrow 1-0 win over West Ham in the FA Cup fourth-round tie.
This game against West Brom is particularly significant for the Reds, as Man City look to be running away with the title and Leicester’s win over Liverpool has moved them above Utd in the table. A win for Manchester United would allow them to reclaim their second-place position, as well as moving them three points closer towards the leaders.
Man Utd will once again be without Paul Pogba who is currently unavailable after picking up a muscle injury last weekend. Phil Jones also remains out, but he has begun to step-up recovery from his long-term injury.
In more positive news, Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Eric Bailly – who has been unavailable for the last couple of fixtures – has been training with the rest of the squad this week.
In an exclusive interview with MUTV, Solskjaer said, “Eric is available. He has trained for a couple of days so he’ll be available for selection. So that’s a positive.” This will be a big boost for Utd as Bailly has often been used in rotation with Victor Lindelof who is known to be suffering with a back problem.
Everyone else should be available for selection and raring to go after having a few more days than usual to rest and recover. Solskjaer referenced the importance of this in his pre-match press conference,
“Well, we’ve had a rare opportunity to do a bit of training and actually some recovery. You’ve got Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and not a game until Sunday, that has been a rarity for us really.”
West Brom winger Grady Diangana has been out for six weeks after picking up a hamstring injury, however, he is getting closer to a return to first team action. In a pre-match press conference, Sam Allardyce said, “Grady is back in training now, obviously it’s been a while, so he’ll need a bit more training then we’ll put him back into the squad”. Therefore, it is unlikely he will return for the Utd game.
Other than this, Allardyce confirmed everyone else should be available, stating “as far as I know, everyone else is okay. But, I’ll have a meeting after this press conference with the medical staff to see how everyone is.”
Man Utd Expected XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood; Cavani
The first change from mid-week is likely to be David De Gea coming in for Dean Henderson as De Gea has been Utd’s trusted Premier League goalie throughout the season.
With Eric Bailly available, Solskjaer may decide to partner him with Harry Maguire in the centre of defence, as this would give Victor Lindelof the opportunity to rest. The second change is likely to be Luke Shaw coming in for Alex Telles at left-back.
In midfield, Solskjaer may choose to start Scott McTominay after his match-winning performance against West Ham midweek. Fred, however, is likely to retain his spot in the centre of midfield alongside the Scotsman.
Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford look set to retain their place on either wing, with Bruno Fernandes coming in to replace Donny Van de Beek whose performance mid-week received mixed reactions from fans.
The final change for Utd may see Edinson Cavani coming in to replace Anthony Martial. In previous fixtures, Solskjaer has opted to go with Cavani as the central striker and as this game falls on the Uruguayan’s birthday, he will be even more motivated to come away with the win.
West Brom Expected XI (4-1-4-1): Johnstone; Furlong, Bartley, Ayaji, Townsend; Yokuslu; Pereira, Maitland-Niles, Gallagher, Snodgrass; Diagne
Sam Johnstone, who started off as a keeper in the Utd academy, is set to retain his place in goal to face his former club.
Arsenal loanee, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, made his debut for West Brom in their previous fixture against Tottenham and he looks set to retain his place in midfield alongside January arrival, Okay Yokuslu.
Matheus Pereira has scored half of all West Brom goals in all competitions, therefore there is no doubt he will be called upon to face Utd. Mbaye Diagne is likely to head up West Brom’s attack after getting close to scoring a goal in his previous game.
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