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West Bromwich Albion face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, as they look to pick up their first win at the Theatre of Dreams since the 30th of December 1979.
Ron Atkinson was the manager 34 years ago, and Laurie Cunningham, Cyril Regis, Tony Brown and Len Cantello were all on the score sheet as The Baggies won 5-3. The West Brom side of today will be looking to replicate that performance to pick up their second win of the season.
On the last game of last season. West Brom again scored 5 against United proving they can go to Old Trafford with no fears, knowing they can breach the champions defence.
Victor Anichebe will be a vital player in the match as his strength and power should trouble the Red Devils defence. United have proven in the past that they struggle against power, for example when Romelu Lukaku came on at half time to terrorise Rio Ferdinand and Johnny Evans. Albion will need to utilise Anichebe’s great hold up play if they plan to come away with any points.
Albion will need to vastly improve in the wider defensive roles, especially at left back. Liam Ridgewell was substituted at half time in the famous 5-5 draw as he struggled to cope with the pace of Antonio Valencia and Alexander Buttner. The defenders will have to be patient, making sure they don’t dive into tackles as the home side can be dangerous from set pieces. Wayne Rooney scored a wonderful free-kick against Manchester City last time out in the league, so it is important for West Brom to time their tackles in the final third.
Despite a mid-week league cup win against Liverpool, David Moyes has come under some pressure from sections of the media so his side will be looking to impress. Albion will have to soak up waves of pressure, putting their bodies on the line to keep the ball out of the goal. Much like when The Baggies won 2-0 at Anfield last season, West Brom will have to take their chances, breaking from their defensive positions at the right time.
Boaz Myhill will have to be on form Saturday. United will undoubtedly create chances in front of their ever demanding home fans so the Welsh international will have to remain strong. Hull fans especially will know Myhill has the ability to make world class saves, saving two penalties in a game against Stoke and making several outstanding saves in a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane against Tottenham.
The 3-0 win against Sunderland last week should give the team confidence and takes some pressure off the side as West Brom claimed their first win of the season. West Brom will need their fair share of luck to come away with any points, but there is quality in the side to punish United if they take their foot off the pedal.