7th plays host to 6th at The Hawthorns this evening and in fairness at the start of the season that is not a line I ever thought I would see myself writing but credit must go to Tony Pulis. The former Stoke boss was one of the favourites to win or is that perhaps lose the sack race at the start of the season after the club was taken over by new Chinese owners.
But that eventuality it seems very far from the case right now as West Brom are impressing many with the way they are playing and it must be said that they are playing very much unlike what you would consider a ‘Pulis Side’. It’s a run of form that has only seen them lose once in their last six matches and that defeat was to the all conquering Chelsea last Sunday so The Baggies will certainly be confident of getting a result when they play host to Manchester United later on.
Wednesday saw Pulis men brush past Swansea with a 3-1 win in front of their own fans. Solomon Rondon was the star of the show as he used his head to great effect with a hat-trick of headed goals. He was on hand or is that head to take full advantage of a second half Swansea collapse which meant that The Baggies regained 7th place from Everton.
And they could edge closer to 6th place should they get a win over United tonight. That said that’s not going to be an easy task as Jose Mourinho’s men seem to be finding their groove now, it’s successive win for the Red half of Manchester with back to back victories over London outfits over the course of the last week.
After beating Tottenham 1-0 on Sunday they added to that with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday. It looked like it was going to end up with another frustrating result for Mourinho and co but thanks to the combination of star summer signings Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic they managed to squeeze out a win and create more pressure for Alan Pardew.
It was the combination of those two signings that led to United’s opener with Pogba in the right place to prod home Ibrahimovic’s knock down. It was performances like that which is why they were purchased with much fanfare but they haven’t quite come as much regularity as many would have expected or hoped so hopefully this can be start to be the norm rather than the exception.
Although West Brom are in a great run of form I think United’s extra quality especially with the two players mentioned above will give them the edge this evening. That’s not also forgetting that Wayne Rooney is still looking for that all important goal that will take him level with Bobby Charlton as the all time leading goalscorer for Manchester United so he will be craving the opportunity to find the net should be trusted with a starting berth.
So with United’s tails up over the past week I think they will have enough to dispose of West Brom, that’s not to say that it’s going to be a routine win as I think both teams will score but it’s an away win for me at The Hawthorns as United just stay on the fringes of the race for a Champions League place come the end of the season.