West Brom VS Manchester United Prediction
After a busy midweek round for all Premier League participants, weekend hits with another portion of top quality football and Saturday’s schedule offers six more games with probably most intriguing from them to take place at the “The Hawthorns”, where West Brom takes on an in-form Manchester United. “Red Devils” are heading to West Bromwich after three consecutive victories in all competitions, last of them on Wednesday evening, when Manchester United scooped the whole pot with a victory over Crystal Palace at the “Selhurst Park”. In the meantime “The Throstles” were playing at home and their 3-1 success against Swansea City came after a magnificent efficiency by Venezuelan striker Salomón Rondón.
So here we have two from the sides inspired by a successful beginning of the new week, making them neighbours in the English Premier League standings. After 16 rounds hosts from West Midlands are seventh (7th) with 23 points against 27 won by visitors from Manchester, meaning “United” cannot be replaced by the sixth position, but “The Red Devils” are certainly not pleased with their current placement.
West Brom vs Manchester United – Team News and Match Preview
Last season “The Baggies” have won their home game (on 6 March 2016) against Louis van Gaal’s Man Utd, when Salomón Rondón scored a second half winner and he respectively became hero for club from West Bromwich. Meanwhile, Juan Mata has been sent off after only 26 minutes, which had an additional contribution for lack of any spectacularity in that game.
Few months later both sides are set to meet once again and that encounter will be their last one before Christmas, since next English Premier League round will traditionally take place on Boxing Day – 26 December. It will be followed by a Christmas marathon and period of serious workload, when all EPL sides must play three games within a week, so WBA and Manchester United will do their best to accomplish positive result prior one of the favourite moments for all English football lovers.
West Bromwich can boast with two victories in its last two fixtures against Manchester United and one of them was even on “Old Trafford” – 0-1 in closing days of the 2014-15 season. However, situation is completely different and Tony Pulis realizes how difficult it would be, especially when he has Jose Mourinho on the opposite. That 3-1 midweek win against Swansea came right on time and as an inspiration for “The Throstles”, but for their number 9 in particular. Salomón Rondón has scored a hat-trick in period of just 13 minutes (between 50-63), netting all of them by a header. A hat-trick that came on time for Rondón and for his club, as the Venezuelan striker has ended its goal drought and already has 7 goals in current Premier League campaign, while his magnificent effort returned WBA on track after losing 1-0 from leaders Chelsea last weekend. But losing from current EPL leader at its own stadium cannot be considered for a disappointment, especially when that’s the only defeat for West Brom in their last seven games. Moreover, WBA won in five of them and Tony Pulis’ side are in mood before their last home match in 2016. Indeed, next two matches of West Brom are on the road (vs Arsenal and Southampton), while their next game at “The Hawthorns” will be on 2nd January 2017 – against one of the relegation contenders in Hull City’s face.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 9 games, making their Europa League defeat in Istanbul (2-1 vs Fenerbahce in early November) last one for the club. It has been followed by 6 wins and 3 draws on all fronts and three of the victories are in United’s last three games. This includes results like 0-2 vs Zorya Luhansk in Ukraine (UEFA Europa League), last weekend’s 1-0 vs Tottenham Hotspur and a midweek challenge against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace. These efforts will add some confidence in the players and Jose Mourinho, because upcoming schedule of “The Red Devils” is not that bad and they have all prospects to maintain their good run. After upcoming travel to West Midlands, Manchester United will return in “The Theatre of Dreams”, where Jose Mourinho’s side will host to two of the clubs involved in battle for relegation – Sunderland and Middlesbrough. As you can see red part of Manchester can enjoy to an excellent holiday schedule and victory against West Bromwich will have a specific impact before the two home matches in last days of 2016.
West Brom vs Manchester United – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Manchester United can look ahead motivated after a good form shown by two of the important summer signings – Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Both have been deeply involved in Man Utd’s midweek result, as Pogba scored United’s first goal and assisted for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s winner in closing minutes of the clash. However, their names were part of the huge controversy in that game and Mourinho has all rights to whine about some of the referee’s conclusions, since there are serious doubts around Juan Mata’s disallowed goal and Craig Pawson’s decision not to award penalty for a clear handball inside Crystal Palace’s box. Nevertheless, there are some doubts around legitimacy of Pogba’s goal in closing seconds of the first-half, as the Frenchman received the ball exactly from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and their actions were really controversial.
Anyway, game against Crystal Palace, with all decisions in it, will remain in the past and thankfully to Manchester United, final outcome was in their favour. Now Jose Mourinho must focus on its selection and possibility of making some rotations in order to refresh its starting XI. One of the expected names is certainly of the 35-year-old vice-captain Michael Carrick, who has been crucial with his presence in all games this season, but his advanced football age requires some rest and he may have it.
On other hand Mourinho can be glad to have Antonio Valencia back in the squad, as the Ecuadorian right-back missed last round due to suspension. Unfortunately names of Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who find its form and scored the only goal for a success against Tottenham, will be ruled out from this one. Expectations are Mkhitaryan should recover from an ankle injury and be ready on Boxing Day, so Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are in contention for position on the right wing. Eric Bailly picked up an injury in Manchester United’s midweek triumph over Crystal Palace, which forced him off just after half time and he is expected to miss Saturday’s game.
Pacey French forward Anthony Martial has been rested from the midweek round and we won’t be surprised if he starts on the left wing in West Bromwich, while skipper Wayne Rooney can be part of an eventual rotation in United’s formation here. Rooney can start behind Ibrahimovic, while Pogba and Ander Herrera may form the central midfield duo, if we assume Mourinho plans to keep most important link of his squad. Of course, such a scenario looks very likely if Carrick is on the bench here, but after playing more than 270 minutes during last three Premier League rounds in period of 10 days, he probably won’t be fresh enough to start from the outset, or at least for full 90 minutes.
WBA will be fired up to stop Manchester United’s progress and Tony Pulis has its own aces here. Manager with such an impressive Premier League experience knows how to transform each club in his preferred style, so West Bromwich already has its own outlook.
Pulis is without serious injury concerns except injured goalkeeper Boaz Myhill and doubts around former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, all other “Throstles” are ready for battle. Craig Dawson served its suspension in the midweek and WBA’s right-back is ready to return in the group, although his absence has been perfectly covered by Cameroonian Allan Nyom. At the same time Nyom’s left-back role has been deputized by winger Chris Brunt, who delivered two of the balls to Rondon. Thus Tony Pulis can be really pleased by efforts of his wide players and we don’t have any doubts about his style and lot of crosses into Manchester United’s box.
We believe Dawson and Nyom will take their regular positions, respectively from right and left side of WBA’s defense, while Brunt can be moved up front. Matt Phillips, who assisted for first goal in Swansea’s net, and Christ Brunt are two of the options available to attack through both wings, while Nacer Chadli can be moved behind Rondon.
Final conclusion, Betting Odds and Prediction
Manchester United have been determined as clear favourites by the bookies in that game, but we believe WBA can be really serious obstacle to their ambitions on Saturday night. Current odds on away win don’t represent any value in our eyes and we’re more tempted by value on “Both teams to score – Yes“.
Two teams in decent form, English football mentality and serious motivation in both clubs, which are also eager to carry positive Christmas emotions of their fans.
Venue: “The Hawthorns”, West Bromwich.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Possible starting lineups of West Brom and Manchester United
West Bromwich Albion: Ben Foster – Craig Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans, Allan Nyom – Claudio Yacob, Darren Fletcher – Chris Brunt, Nacer Chadli, Matt Phillips – Salomón Rondón. (4-2-3-1)
Manchester United: David de Gea – Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind – Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. (4-2-3-1)