Fresh off the back of their victory over Liverpool in the League Cup on Wednesday, Manchester United return to Premier League action when they take on West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford this weekend.
David Moyes’ side had a horrendous time in the league last weekend, losing 4-1 to local rivals Manchester City. The Red Devils will be desperate to avoid another bad result this time round and certainly have a better chance of doing so against West Brom.
West Brom have failed to capture last season’s form so far this season and a game against the champions at Old Trafford may be another step too far for Steve Clarke’s team.
It is unlikely that Robin van Persie will return for this match after missing United’s last two games against Liverpool and City due to a groin injury. This may allow Javier Hernandez to start in his place.
West Brom have no new injury concerns and could be boosted further with the return of Manuel Amalfitano to the squad.
Eurosport have some interesting stats for this game:
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[li]United have conceded 11 goals in their last six league games, that’s one more goal than they had conceded in their previous 18 games.[/li]
[li]There has been only two Premier League seasons when United have won only two of their opening six games: 2002-03 and 2004-05.[/li]
[li]On the other hand, when United have won only two their opening five games in the Premier League, they have gone on to win six of their 13 Premier League titles.[/li]
[li]Three of West Brom’s goals this season have come in the final 15 minutes of league games.[/li]
[li]The last time the two sides met at the end of last season, the final score was 5-5.[/li]
Manchester United – Wayne Rooney
After spending much of the summer in an apparent mood, because he was not getting the transfer move he wanted, Rooney has been United’s most reliable player so far. Rooney has created eight of his side’s chances, two of which have resulted in assists for his team mates. He has scored two goals from seven shots on target. Although missing another four shots leaves him with an accuracy of just 64%. After missing the league game against Liverpool, it was widely accepted that United would have had a better result had he been playing.
Mulumbu has been one of West Brom’s better players again this season. The midfielder has completed 255 passes from 294 attempts, giving him an accuracy of 87%. Of these passes, 129 have been in the attacking area of the pitch, giving him an accuracy rating, in this area, of 81%. United’s midfield has been a notable weak point this season, and so Mulumbu will have the ability to trouble them even further.
United have come up short in tough games against Chelsea, Liverpool and City since the start of the season but have performed well against Swansea and Crystal Palace. With West Brom being one of the so-called “smaller” teams, you would expect the home side to win this match. I think United will win 2-0.