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West Brom vs Manchester United – Match Preview

West Brom defender Jonny Evans is still missing with a hamstring injury.

The Baggies will again be without Chris Brunt, who is sidelined for at least six months with a knee injury.

Michael Carrick could return for Manchester United after being rested in midweek, while Chris Smalling may make his comeback from a shoulder injury.

Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini are fit and could feature, but manager Louis van Gaal is reluctant to risk them on Sunday.

Editor’s Note: West Brom play host to Manchester United this Afternoon on the back of a 3 game unbeaten run, with them currently on 36 points you would imagine that one more win would all but secure Premier League Football for another season. Will they be safe by 6pm, if they can get all 3 points then you would think so.

Tony Pulis’ side have been in the lower mid table all season, neither threatened by relegation nor pushing for a European place. It’s been a steady if unspectacular campaign at The Hawthorns. Some fans are frustrated by the safety first philosophy but I guess it boils down to pragmatism versus excitement. Would a more open playing style end up having a negative effect.

In fairness to West Brom there last two games have been anything but dull, Tuesday saw them hold leaders Leicester to a draw at The King Power while last Saturday they did their best to somehow throw away a 3-0 lead against Crystal Palace but in the end managing to hold out for a 3-2 win. Today they go up a Manchester United side who are having a quiet resurgence themselves.

It was status critical for Louis Van Gaal after defeats to Sunderland and Midtjylland in the Europa League, but since then there’s been 2 league wins, advancement in the Europa League and also the F.A. Cup. The Van Gaal-Sack-O-Meter pendulum has swung back the other way over the last few weeks and talk of his departure has been of a minimum over the last 7 days.

Much of that is down to their upturn in form and also because one young man in particular has dug him out of  a hole. That man being Marcus Rashford. 4 goals in 2 appearances has seen him be the toast of Old Trafford, thrown in at the end deep end due to injuries to Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial he has taken his opportunity and them some.

Last Sunday saw him announce himself on the Premier League stage with a brace against title chasing Arsenal, those goals put United 2-0 up in a game they would go on to win 3-2. That win coupled with Manchester City’s run of 3 defeats has put the red half of Manchester back in the race for the last Champions League place.

With City’s win Yesterday over bottom side Aston Villa the onus is back on United and they will need nothing less than a win if they are going to keep pace with their noisy neighbours. Tony Pulis’ West Brom will certainly be no pushover though.

Ex United Man Jonny Evans will miss out but Darren Fletcher will no doubt love to get one over his old side. Unfortunately for him I don’t think it’s going to be Today, I think this United wave of momentum will continue as they look to stay on the heels of Manchester City. An away win for me.


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