Manchester United v West Brom – Premier League
Manchester United find themselves below full strength as they are missing some important players right down the spine of the team. Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera are banned, while Pogba, Smalling and Jones, all of whom are regulars, miss out injured. They have to contend with Rojo and Valencia coming back late from international duty as well, but they should be fine, the shape changing to 4-2-3-1. Despite their personnel worries they’ll still be looking to take all three points here and would be disappointed with anything less. They are on a long unbeaten run in the league and are hunting down a place in the top four, so any dropped points could be crucial. They’ll be balanced and assertive in their approach, dominating the ball, but breaking down organized teams at home has been an issue. As time wears on, the longer it’s level the more risks they’ll take, as they can’t afford to drop points against West Brom. Without Ibrahimovic, they will lack some cutting edge, so being clinical when they create will be important. If they lead, they’ll consolidate and look to double their lead from a more relaxed setting, looking to see the game out with a clean sheet.
West Brom could make a couple of changes from their previous outing as Rondon and Chadli may drop to the bench after international duty, bringing Robson-Kanu and Morrison back into the starting 11. It’s a slight weakening. No other rotations are expected to a settled team, with Phillips not likely to return, though he hasn’t been ruled out entirely. They are in a comfortable position in the league and can approach the game without much pressure, which could work for or against them. Motivation could be a little lacking given there’s little at stake, but playing with freedom could aid them in a tough away game. A draw is a result they’d be delighted with and one they believe is possible, setting up cautiously and on the counter. Set pieces will form a big part of their attacking threat, meaning they can focus on being well drilled from open play. Man Utd will have a lot of the ball but that suits West Brom, who are happy to keep things tight and cagey. If they score first they’d sit on the lead, but from behind little would change so long as it’s only a one-goal deficit, with there no need to take careless risks.
Verdict & Prediction
West Brom got back to winning ways last time out with a convincing win over Arsenal, consolidating their 8th place. They are adrift from any other teams at present but will be determined to remain where they are until the end of the season, with the mood in the camp very positive at the moment. They travel to Man Utd without an away win in four, but they’ll be confident they can spring an upset to take a result here. They’d be more than happy with a draw and see it as an attainable goal, but they are under little real pressure to take points, which may see them lack motivation.
Prediction: West Brom +1.25 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.98 SBOBET, 1,97 Pinnacle