Will Manchester United Drop Points Against West Brom?
Premiership Tips explain why Manchester United must take West Brom seriously.
Written by Premiership Tips.
In their last road trip, West Bromwich Albion caused one of the biggest upsets of the season so far, if not one of the biggest in the history of the Premier League, when they defeated Arsenal 3-2 at the Emirates.
That day, Arsenal found West Brom difficult to break down and failed to create many real opportunities until it was too late. West Brom caught Arsenal napping on the counter attack, aided by two goalkeeping blunders from Manuel Almunia as they raced out into a 3-0 lead. They were hanging on the end, but did so successfully. That result was followed up by a 1-1 draw at home to Bolton Wanderers before the international break, leaving newly-promoted West Brom sitting in sixth place in the Premier League table after seven games.
It’s a trip to Old Trafford this weekend for the Baggies. They go to the 11-time Premier League champions with nothing to fear. They go with no pressure of expectation and even up against an out-of-form Wayne Rooney and co. While West Brom were beating Arsenal in their final game in September, Manchester United were held at Bolton. They followed that up with a dismal goalless draw at Sunderland, at least domestically.
Wayne Rooney continues to make the news for his lack of form this season, that sees him with just one Premier League goal to his name. A penalty versus West Ham. Clearly there is something not right with the England striker who failed to produce at the World Cup, and also in Tuesday night’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Montnegro. He’s denied the ankle injury claims. And then there’s the current saga in his personal life that may be distracting him. Whatever it is, Sir Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney and Manchester United fans would like it resolved pronto.
Personally, I think Wayne Rooney could do with a couple weeks holiday abroad to rest and refocus. Manchester United have other strikers they should be capable of relying on against West Brom; Michael Owen, Javier Hernandez and Federico Macheda all have talent. The club’s top scorer, Dimitar Berbatov does too, but the Bulgarian has been known to go quiet in smaller games. Sir Alex Ferguson has enough experience and trophies, so I needn’t give him any tactical advice ahead of this match.
One player in form for Manchester United lately is Nani. Still hot and cold in my book, the Portuguese winger has been involved in a number of Manchester United goals this season. Not afraid to shoot, he does frustrate fans at times with his greediness. But that sometimes turns into magical moments; having scored a few crackers in his career. With Rooney’s lack of influence this season, I rank Nani as United’s current number 1 playmaker. A decent set piece taker, a quick and flairy player, if West Brom cannot keep Nani in place on Saturday, they will not come away with anything from this match.
Nani is a key player in this match for me, as is the rest of the Manchester United midfield. That is the key battle for me. If they maintain possession and their most influential players get time on the ball, they will create goalscoring opportunities and eventually goals against Scott Carson and co. To prevent dropping points in this game, the likes of Darren Fletcher need to prevent Peter Odemwingie and co hitting them on the counter attack. West Brom will have a good opportunity on the counter when Patrice Evra is in their own penalty box or taken a tumble near the corner flag. That is where Fletcher needs to be switched on and in position.
United’s odds are poor in a Premier League fixture list that doesn’t have much value other than a potential few draws. The international break can also cause a few upsets and dismal performances from favourites. That said, I do expect Manchester United to come away with 3 points and maintain their 100% record at Old Trafford this season.