Three points for Manchester United in Saturday evening’s home game versus West Brom would guarantee them UEFA Champions League football next season depending on Liverpool and Tottenham’s results.
Louis van Gaal’s side head into their game at Old Trafford on back-to-back defeats in which they have they have been shut out by both Chelsea and Everton away from home.
Four points from their last two games looks to be enough to keep West Brom in the Premier League for a further season ahead of a difficult remaining fixture list which sees them facing Chelsea and Arsenal in their final two games.
Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones could make their return to action this weekend having been out since the Manchester derby. Paddy McNair partnered Chris Smalling in the centre of defence at Goodison Park last weekend.
Rafael picked up an injury playing for the under-21s last Monday that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. Antonio Valencia has been playing the right-back role this season anyway.
A calf injury may keep Michael Carrick out and there is talk Wayne Rooney’s season is over due to a knee injury. Robin van Persie is available again and scored for the under-21s recently.
West Bromwich Albion
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster is out so Boaz Myhill has stepped in for the past five games.
Tony Pulis doesn’t have any other injuries or absentees to deal with ahead of their trip to Manchester.
The big question mark for Manchester United will be who plays up front – Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao. We’re leaning towards the Dutch striker, presuming he’s fit to play 90 minutes. Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini can play the central midfield pair with Wayne Rooney absent, whilst Daley Blind protects the back four.
Tony Pulis plays a 4-4-2 with the pacey Saido Berahino up front and not a lot of creativity in midfield. They have been a threat from set pieces this season, particularly with the deliveries from Chris Brunt.
Juan Mata vs Chris Brunt
Chris Brunt is naturally a left winger but has been playing the left-back role under Pulis. The Northern Irishman faces a difficult task versus Juan Mata down that wing this weekend and will need support from James Morrison tracking back. Being left-footed, Mata will be looking to cut inside from the right wing to pick out his team mates and you’d expect a player of his quality to ge the better of an inexperienced left-back.
Ander Herrera vs Darren Fletcher
The former long servant of Manchester United makes his return to Old Trafford this weekend and Darren Fletcher can expect a busy game in midfield. Ander Herrera should be looking to dictate the game from the middle of the park but will have three defensive-minded West Brom midfielders looking to cut off his options. The Spaniard has shown his playmaking and goalscoring ability in his first season in England and should be looking to step up in the absence of Rooney this weekend.
Saido Berahino vs Chris Smalling
West Brom’s best chances will probably come from set pieces – particularly after watching United concede from a corner last weekend. In open play though, the visitors’ best attacking option may be the pace of Saido Berahino running at a defence that were opened up on the counter attack versus Everton a week ago.
0 – David de Gea did not make a single save in the 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns back in October.
12 – West Brom have scored a league high 12 goals from corners this season.
71% – Manchester United have won 12 of their 17 Premier League matches versus West Brom, losing only one.