Manchester United should continue the 4-3-3 formation against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford


Manchester United will go head to head with West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the season, in the reverse fixture at The Hawthorns, United won 21 with Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard scoring for their club, with Gareth Barry scoring a consolation goal. The Baggies have not had the best season, winning only three times in 2018 so far – two of those being in the Emirates FA Cup. Darren Moore’s side holds the record for the most consecutive winless run in the Premier League this season, a total of 20 matches – they are on a run of ten winless matches in the league right now.

Jose Mourinho should stick with the formation he used against Manchester City at the Etihad last weekend, which saw United 2-0 down at half-time, winning 3-2 thanks to Paul Pogba’s brace in 90 seconds in the second half and Chris Smalling’s winner in the 69th minute. Playing a three-man midfield will help United against the Baggies, who will be seeking safety from relegation this season, despite that so far being short of a miracle as they have five matches remaining. Playing Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera will see the Frenchman able to break forward, not leaving his defensive midfield duties for a teammate to pick up, which could see United attack with pace and distinction once again. This is a must-win match for Mourinho’s side.

Starting XI Formation Prediction: Manchester United to stick with the 4-3-3 formation against West Bromwich Albion

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has had a great season for Manchester United, showing his rise in the game and the reason why Real Madrid still look back at him with fluttering eyes. The Spanish number one has kept 16 clean sheets this season, two more than Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson. De Gea has made 103 saves this season, the fourth highest in the Premier League this season, conceding 25 goals, none of which came from an error of his own. De Gea may get his hands on the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award at the end of the season with few challenging him to win the award.

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Back Four: Antonio Valencia, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Ashley Young

United’s defence is the second-best in the Premier League, conceding just one more goal than Manchester City. There are some problems to fix in the summer, mainly the fullback positions but at this time, both Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are strong and ready to finish the season as the first-choice at right and left-back. In between the veteran converted fullbacks, there is a problem which Jose Mourinho must contend with – who plays there. Many have suggested that Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly should be tested and this could be a game to do so.

United will face Bournemouth on Wednesday evening, so rotation is needed to keep the team fresh, especially with the Emirates FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley coming next weekend. Allowing both Lindelof and Bailly to form a partnership could be crucial for next season. With Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind all fully fit and raring to go, there will be some contention for places, not only to end the season strongly but to fight for a future at the Theatre of Dreams.

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Midfield: Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

The midfield-three worked against Manchester City last weekend. Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, and Paul Pogba seemed to work well together. Playing the same three players against the Baggies could be crucial as they will be fighting for Premier League survival, which is going to be tough for them and something which may not work – thinking about the fact they have to face United and Liverpool in the next week. Pogba played well in the second half against City and he needs to continue that, stopping the speculation which could start to affect the entire team.

Mourinho confirmed on Friday that only Sergio Romero was on the sidelines through injury, meaning Marouane Fellaini had recovered from his muscle injury. United still have Michael Carrick, who has been on the sidelines in a coaching capacity for the past few matches and was crucial in the team talk at half-time at the Etihad. Scott McTominay could also be called upon, even if it is from the bench in the second half. United have a strong and useful midfield to end the season. The summer could see that midfield become much stronger.

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Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez

Romelu Lukaku has scored 26 goals in all competition this season. He should continue to lead the line for the remainder of the season. The Belgian scored 25 goals in the Premier League last season, missing out on the Golden Boot, which Harry Kane eventually won. This season, after scoring just 15 Premier League goals, he’s 14 short of Mohamed Salah, who has scored 29 goals this season. If Lukaku can score five or six more goals in the remaining six Premier League matches, he will have had a good debut season at the Old Trafford club.

Marcus Rashford has been linked with an Old Trafford exit this summer after not featuring much after Alexis Sanchez signed for the club. Whilst this is probably just speculation and click bait from the media, as the player has said nothing, it could be damaging for United’s season. The media seem to do anything they can to get United off their game. Beating City last weekend has led to speculation surrounding both Rashford and Anthony Martial. Sanchez should continue on the left based on his form – he has one goals and three assists in the last two matches alone.

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