The West Brom vs Manchester United match will take place this Saturday, March 8, 2014 (4:45 AM Pacific, 12:45 GMT) at The Hawthorns. New West Brom manager Pepe Mel is perhaps under more pressure than David Moyes going into this game, he is without a win in his first six matches.
Nobody could have foreseen the changes at West Brom back in September when they beat United at Old Trafford and simultaneously gave everybody a clue as to what was to come. Since then, they have become embroiled in a relegation battle, sacked Steve Clarke, and have been at the heart of a racism storm owing to Nicolas Anelka and the infamous Quenelle celebration.
For United, this will be their first game since the debacle in Olympiakos, and the international break probably did them all sorts of favours. United will now enter into a crucial phase of the season with this game away at the Hawthorns their last before an extended spell at home where they will face Liverpool, Man City and Olympiakos within the space of two weeks. To say it’s a critical time would be to massively understate. Win all three games and secure qualification to the next round of the Champions League and suddenly things look very different, but even the most blindly optimistic United fan won’t be expecting much more than one draw perhaps, if they get lucky.
West Brom Team News
West Brom fared slightly worse than United in the international break and have potentially lost Chris Brunt and James Morrison to injury, although they will both undergo late fitness tests. Anelka begins his ban and Billy Jones is also sidelined. Helpfully though, both Claudio Yacob and Sessegnon are available for selection and Pepe Mel will be keen to use all the options he has available in an attempt to finally secure a win.
Manchester United Team News
United lost Chicarito to a knee problem in the international break, but due to the fact that he has rarely been given an opportunity this year, it’s unlikely to be viewed with much concern. Nani remains sidelined and Jonny Evans also has failed to recover in time for this game. Phil Jones is available for selection but may be used from the bench. Van Persie was apparently ill, however, he played for Holland in mid-week so should be fine to start.
Related: Possible Man Utd Lineup vs West Brom
West Brom vs Manchester United Prediction
In the corresponding fixture last year it finished 5-5 in Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge, but the game was a dead rubber with United already crowned champions and West Brom sat in mid-table. This game has far more riding on it and is likely to be far less open. A draw is no good to either team and yet neither can afford to lose, so it is hard to know exactly how they will both approach it.
United will be hoping that the trio of Mata, Rooney and Van Persie can finally start clicking into gear, while West Brom will just be hoping to get an early goal to have something to hold on to. Despite the fact that it’s not what either team require, I’m going for a draw in this one. United are generally pretty slow coming out of the blocks in the early kick offs though, so there’s a great chance for West Brom if they get things going quickly. Prediction: West Brom 1 – 1 Man Utd.
West Brom vs Manchester United Television
The match will be televised on NBC Sports Network (USA), and BT Sport 1 (UK).