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Preview: Manchester United to help West Bromwich Albion on their way to the Championship…

Manchester United -v- West Bromwich Albion

Old Trafford, Manchester

Premier League 2017/18

Sunday 15th April 2018; KO 16:00 GMT

Live on Sky Sports Premier League HD in the United Kingdom

Manchester United will be pitted against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Last weekend, United did what many did not expect, especially at half-time, beat Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side were 2-0 up at half-time and United, though Paul Pogba, in two minutes, levelled the match and set City’s celebrations aside for a few weeks at least. Chris Smalling’s winner was all United needed to take victory at the Etihad and stun Guardiola’s side, who had previously been stunned by Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League just days before. City lost again to the Merseyside club on Tuesday, exiting the Champions League in the season many suggested they could do the elusive quadruple.

United will have a tough task to beat West Brom, who are currently relegation-threatened, ten points from the safety of the bottom three, with just five matches remaining. Whilst United may not be able to relegate the Midlands side on Sunday, losing this match and the one against Liverpool next weekend could be enough to secure a place in the Championship next season, which is deservedly so. The Baggies have previous against United and many of the more neutral supporters of the game would be expecting them to stun United in a way they stunned City, which is something that could happen. Saying that though, Jose Mourinho’s side need to hit them hard from the start of the match and aim to reduce the lead of City even more – with them facing Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.

West Brom have had a poor season, starting with two victories in the Premier League, then heading on that long road of defeats and draws. The Baggies have won just three matches in 2018; one in the league and two in the Emirates FA Cup. It is not great but depending on how the next two matches go, there could be a chance the side, who have been in the Premier League since 2010/11 season, after being promoted from the Championship at the end of the 2009/10 season. They hold the record for the longest run of winless matches, which stands at 20 at this moment in time. That won’t be extended this season but the Baggies are on a ten match winless run currently, which could be extended over the next two weekends.

Jose Mourinho has taken charge of 112 matches for United since becoming the manager of the club, winning 70 times (62.50%), drawing 24 times (21.43%), and losing 18 times (16.07%). United have scored 199 goals (1.78 per match) under Mourinho – the first United goal scored on Sunday will be the 200th goal under Mourinho, conceding just 81 goals (0.72 per match). Mourinho has an 83.93% undefeated rate as United’s manager, meaning the club have lost just 16.07% of all matches played during his tenure at the club.

Form: Manchester United have one defeat in their last six matches; The Baggies are winless in their last six matches – losing five and drawing once

Manchester United: WWWLWW – Manchester City 3-2 W, Swansea City 2-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 W, Sevilla 2-1 L, Liverpool 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 3-2 W

West Bromwich Albion: DLLLLL – Swansea City 1-1 D, Burnley 2-1 L, Bournemouth 2-1 L, Leicester City 4-1 L, Watford 1-0 L, Huddersfield Town 2-1 L

Top Scorers (all competitions): Manchester United have scored 94 goals in all competitions; West Bromwich Albion have scored 36 goals in all competitions

Manchester United: 26 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Jesse Lingard, 12 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Paul Pogba, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 3 – Juan Mata, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia, 2 – Own Goal, Nemanja Matic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

West Bromwich Albion: 10 – Jay Rodriguez, 9 – Salomón Rondón, 2 – Craig Dawson, Jonny Evans, Ahmed Hegazi, Matt Phillips, Hal Robson-Kanu, 1 – Gareth Barry, Nacer Chadli, Sam Field, Own Goal, James McClean, James Morrison, Claudio Yacob

Previous Matches: Manchester United have the most victories but the Baggies are able to dish out the upsets here and there!

Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion have played a total of 131 matches in the history of both clubs – the first match was played on the 1st October 1892 – a 0-0 draw in the old Football League Division One. United have a total of 56 victories, 32 draws, and 43 defeats in the near 126-year history of matches. United have managed a 13 match unbeaten run against the Baggies in recent history, which started with a 3-0 victory in the Premier League on the 27th November 2004, ending with the 5-5 draw on the 19th May 2013, the final match Sir Alex Ferguson managed for the Old Trafford club.

During that run of matches, United scored 36 goals, conceding 12 and keeping six clean sheets. More recently, United are undefeated in the last three matches between the two clubs, winning twice and drawing once. The last defeat to the Baggies was on the 6th March 2016, a 1-0 defeat at the Hawthorns. Earlier this season, United won the reverse fixture 2-1 with Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard scoring for United and Gareth Barry scoring a consolation goal for his side.

Team News: Manchester United will be without Sergio Romero with other players back to fitness ahead of the visit of the Baggies

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that only Sergio Romero will miss the match against the Baggies at Old Trafford on Sunday, due to the injury sustained whilst playing for Argentina during the international break. Speaking ahead of Friday’s press conference, Mourinho told MUTV:

“Everyone is perfect, apart from Romero. All the few players [who were injured] are ready to play.”

West Brom caretaker manager Darren Moore has suggested that Nacer Chadli, Sam Field, and Daniel Sturridge could all return to the squad for the visit to Old Trafford this weekend. Both Field and Chadli played for the Baggies U23’s this week whilst Sturridge has returned to full training following a hamstring injury.

Predicted Starting XI: Manchester United relatively unchanged from the victory over Manchester City last weekend

Predicted Score: Manchester United to continue their fine form in 2018 with another Old Trafford victory

Manchester United 3-0 West Bromwich Albion

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