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Ratings: Fernandes scored 19th goal of the season in Baggies draw; United unable to penetrate Baggies defence

Manchester United drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns in the Premier League. It was a poor start by United as Victor Lindelof seemed t be fouled by Mbaye Diagne, who then beat David De Gea in just over 80 seconds of the match being played. United seemed to lack urgency for a period and failed to break into the match. In the 44th minute though, Bruno Fernandes found the equaliser to get United back into the game but despite Manny attempts to, did not find a winning goal. The Baggies almost scored two more times with Diagne on the break and De Gea managing to get most of his effort on the ball to change its direction. It will be seen as a poor result for United, but a worse one for the Baggies who are 12 points adrift of safety.

It was another terrible start for the United in the Premier League. The Baggies got the ball into the box as quickly as possible, putting pressure on United’s defence, which is frail. Mbaye Diagne seemed to impede Victor Lindelof inn the box, putting his hand over his face, and rising to put the ball into the back of the next, past David De Gea, who failed to attempt a save. It was something that United have been used to this season, going behind early in the match and once again, they would need to overcome the early storm and seek to punish their opposition. This would need to change for United in order for them to move forward. The defence always seems to have a terrible display in them, which is obviously not good enough.

Despite United gaining the majority of possession, the Baggies were punishing United with their set-pieces showing United’s fragility in the defence; the inability to win aerial challenges. United got forward quite a lot in the first half but the Baggies were happy to sit back and mop up that pressure. United had one shot on goal, which was also on target but not quite anything to write home about. In the last minute of the first half, United pulled something out of the bag with Bruno Fernandes scoring his 19th goal of the season. Luke Shaw fired the ball into the box from the left, seemingly seeking Edinson Cavani, however, Fernandes lifted his leg up for the volley, firing past former United academy goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone.

At the start of the second half, United continued their dominance in possession and seeking that winner in a game that could still go either way. In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, the Baggies had just 16% of the ball, which was pathetic. There was little to write home about until a penalty was awarded by the referee after Harry Maguire was seemingly fouled in the box around the hour mark of the match. After viewing VAR, the penalty was withdrawn and play continued. In the 66th minute of the match, Mason Greenwood was brought on to replace Anthony Martial, who never really got himself into the match, which should be a worry for him as his form diminishes after his goal-scoring efforts last season.

United were still pushing for the elusive winning goal in the second half, having the majority of the ball still with the Baggies defending in numbers like a team that already knows their fate. When teams play like this, you never feel sorry for them when relegation comes calling. De Gea made a good save to deny Diagne once again after the Baggies forward seemingly fouled Maguire inn his own box then tried to get his second goal of the game with De Gea forcing himself out to change the direction of the ball to get it away from danger. The Baggies will be upset that a second goal did not come as they desperately need the points just to get back to where they were yesterday, which would see them still 12 points from safety with a draw, 10 with a win.

There was five minutes added at the end of the match with United still in charge of possession and pushing for that winner, which still was not coming. The Baggies had a few chances to score again, despite playing for the majority of the match in their own half, defending in numbers, which is a pathetic way to play football, especially with the club 12 points from safety with the score at 1-1. In these situations, clubs like the Baggies should be doing more to win, not defend. Harry Maguire had a shot on goal in the last minute of added time with Johnstone forced to make the save with the ball clattering the near post. Some will say it was a brilliant save but others will say it was lucky. It was a 1-1 draw with United needing to do a lot more to get the points on the board.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded the first goal of the game inside the second minute. Did not look confident of his ability. Made a good save to deny Snodgrass in the first half. In the second half, with Diagne through after clattering Maguire, made a crucial save to change the direction of the ball to stop a second goal.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defended well at times, not that United had to be defensively astute as they had the majority of the ball in the Baggies' half. Got forward a lot of the time, which is good to see. It's a shame it did not turn into another victory on the road.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Terrible defending at the start of the match. Diagne took advantage of him, opening the scoring in 80-odd seconds.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led United better after the initial two minutes of the match which saw United concede the first goal of the game again. Got forward a lot of the time as United blew the Baggies out of the water with possession. United seemed to be more on top of the game in the second half of the match, pursuing that elusive winning goal.

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23 Luke Shaw

Seemed under the cosh at times in the first half, at least until United settled and took the Lion's share of the possession. Got another assist for Fernandes' equaliser in the last minute of the first half.

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17 Fred

Played a good game in midfield but could have perhaps done more to get the ball forward to the key men ahead of him. He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 79th minute of the match.

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39 Scott McTominay

Had a back first few minutes as the Baggies took an early lead. Got himself into the game around 15 minutes into it. Had a few shots on Goa in the second half as United's confidence grew.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Had a quiet game. In the first half, he was trying to break through from the right, which is not his best position. In the second half, he had less of an impact for large periods of the half. It is worrying to see the lack of form of the player, which seems to be consistent despite his 16 goals for the club this season.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Seemed to be off his game from the start of the match but like he has done before, he pulled something out of nothing. Shaw crossed the ball into the box from the left and Fernandes volleyed the ball into the back of the next past Johnstone.

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9 Anthony Martial

Had little impact against the Baggies. Perhaps he should not have started at all. Did nothing of note and looked so far off his game. He was rightly replaced by Greenwood in the 66th minute of the match.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Unable to break though a stalwart defence, which involved more that seven men for most of the match. His positioning was good and he tried but luck did not play a part.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Martial 66'. Seemed livelier than Martial and putt an effort into breaking through into the box but high numbers of Baggies player in the box made it difficult to score. If the Baggies played like this 38 times a season, they might not be in the position they are in.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fred 79'. Had 11 minutes plus added time on the pitch. He got into the box but could not create anything with the number of players defending. He needs to play more football and should be whilst Pogba is injured. He's out of form and needs to play consistently to get some kind of form together. It is a shame he's not play more.

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Goals: Mbaye Diagne 2′; Bruno Fernandes 44′

Assists: Conor Gallagher 2′; Luke Shaw 44′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Van de Beek 79′), McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Martial (Greenwood 66′); Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; James, Matic

Bookings: Conor Gallagher 37′, Kyle Bartley 61′, Ainsley Maitland-Niles 79′, Robert Snodgrass 85′, Mbaye Diagne 89′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani, Rashford, Martial and Fernandes start against the Baggies; Greenwood and Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United return to Premier League action at the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion this afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat West Ham United in the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday evening and a 1-0 victory in which the only goal of the match was scored seven minutes into the first period of extra time. Scott McTominay was the scorer of the goal, reaching seven goals for this club this season. United currently sit in second place in the Premier League this season but with Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool (the latter two facing each other) all play before United do on Sunday, so their position could change, if Leicester beat Liverpool, which is a distinct possibility at this stage of the season.

Sam Allardyce’s side are in dire straits at this stage of the season, sitting in 19th place, a point ahead of Sheffield United at rock bottom and three points behind 18th placed Fulham. The Baggies are now 13 points from safety with Newcastle United and Burnley both on 25 points so far this season with Burnley’s goal difference putting them ahead of the Magpies. Burnley’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace will be a worrying sign for Allardyce’s side, who now need to start winning to have any chance of surviving in the Premier League this season. I don’t have any sympathy for them as they only have themselves to blame for their position in the league table at this stage of the season. If United beat them, dire consequences will remain for them.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

Rashford, Fernandes, Martial;

Cavani

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; James, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood

West Bromwich Albion:

Johnstone;

Peltier, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend;

Maitland-Niles, Yokuslu, Gallagher;

Snodgrass, Diagne, Pereira

Substitutes:

Button; Furlong, O’Shea; Livermore, Phillips, Sawyers; Robson-Kanu, Robinson, Grant

United and the Baggies have played a total of 25 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 16 times, drawing five times and losing four times. United have scored a total of 50 goals with the Baggies scoring 20. United have won four penalties, scoring three of them with the Baggies winning one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept a total of 12 clean sheets against the Baggies, who have kept four clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have received a total of 36 yellow cards and one red card with the Baggies receiving 31 yellow cards and four red cards. United beat the Baggies 1-0 earlier in the season and will be seeking to take all three points on offer in their first trip to the Hawthorns in just over three years.

In their last visit to the Hawthorns, which was on the 17 December 2017, United won 2-1 with Romelu Lukaku opening the scoring in the 27th minute and Jesse Lingard doubling the lead in the 35th minute. Gareth Barry scored a consolation for the Baggies in the 77th minute of the match. At Old Trafford that season, which was played on the 15 April 2018, United were beaten 1-0 with a solo Jay Rodriguez strike in the 73rd minute of the match. United did beat the Baggies 1-0 earlier this season and it was a dire match in which Bruno Fernandes’ penalty was the only real highlight of the match. Sam Allardyce’s side have found themselves in a dire situation this season, which United should aim to keep going for them, getting the win away from home.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Cavani and Greenwood to lead the attack, Fernandes in behind; Diallo on the bench if he recovers from illness?

Manchester United return to Premier League action as they travel to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat West Ham United in the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday evening and a 1-0 victory in which the only goal of the match was scored seven minutes into the first period of extra time. Scott McTominay was the scorer of the goal, reaching seven goals for this club this season. United currently sit in second place in the Premier League this season but with Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool (the latter two facing each other) all play before United do on Sunday, so their position could change, if Leicester beat Liverpool, which is a distinct possibility at this stage of the season.

Sam Allardyce’s side are in dire straits at this stage of the season, sitting in 19th place, a point ahead of Sheffield United at rock bottom and three points behind 18th placed Fulham. The Baggies are now 13 points from safety with Newcastle United and Burnley both on 25 points so far this season with Burnley’s goal difference putting them ahead of the Magpies. Burnley’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace will be a worrying sign for Allardyce’s side, who now need to start winning to have any chance of surviving in the Premier League this season. I don’t have any sympathy for them as they only have themselves to blame for their position in the league table at this stage of the season. If United beat them, dire consequences will remain for them.

How United have faired against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.

United and the Baggies have played a total of 25 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 16 times, drawing five times and losing four times. United have scored a total of 50 goals with the Baggies scoring 20. United have won four penalties, scoring three of them with the Baggies winning one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept a total of 12 clean sheets against the Baggies, who have kept four clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have received a total of 36 yellow cards and one red card with the Baggies receiving 31 yellow cards and four red cards. United beat the Baggies 1-0 earlier in the season and will be seeking to take all three points on offer in their first trip to the Hawthorns in just over three years.

In their last visit to the Hawthorns, which was on the 17 December 2017, United won 2-1 with Romelu Lukaku opening the scoring in the 27th minute and Jesse Lingard doubling the lead in the 35th minute. Gareth Barry scored a consolation for the Baggies in the 77th minute of the match. At Old Trafford that season, which was played on the 15 April 2018, United were beaten 1-0 with a solo Jay Rodriguez strike in the 73rd minute of the match. United did beat the Baggies 1-0 earlier this season and it was a dire match in which Bruno Fernandes’ penalty was the only real highlight of the match. Sam Allardyce’s side have found themselves in a dire situation this season, which United should aim to keep going for them, getting the win away from home.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League at The Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has kept just eight clean sheets in the Premier League this season, which puts him joint fifth in the league needing to do more to be compared to the likes of Kasper Schmeichel (fourth), Edouard Mendy (third), Emiliano Martinez (second) and Ederson (first). De Gea is a capable goalkeeper and has the ingredients to correct his mistakes, but it might be too late in his career to change something that has never really been corrected. In set-pieces, it seems he does not have the courage to keep his position at times, which can result in him being beaten quite easily. Two of the goals that he conceded against Everton should never have been goals. Hopefully, De Gea will start to make a mark, otherwise, Dean Henderson will.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence needs more improvement. In terms of inspiration, there is not much for many. Some supporters thought it was possible to sign a top of the range central defender in January, when it was not really possible. It might not even be possible in the summer because of the coronavirus pandemic and the way it has changed the financial landscapes for all the clubs in the world. Against the Baggies, Eric Bailly should return to the starting XI, partnering Harry Maguire. They had a good run together in December and it worked quite well at times. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should keep their places in the fullback positions, as right now, both are in good form and looking to make it even better for the club.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred, Donny van de Beek

A three-man midfield would work well for United in matches such as this one. Everyone will expect the Baggies to play for formation that is going to see them play for a point, rather that have any kind of attacking prowess and seek the victory that they desperately need. In which case, United packing the midfield in a way to contest with that would be beneficial. Paul Pogba is injured, so he will be out of contention. In which case, Scott McTominay, who scored the only goal int he 1-0 FA Cup victory over West Ham on Tuesday should be the first name on the team sheet. Fred is another who offers something going forward with Donny van de Beek the other that needs time on the pitch to find the form to fight for his place at the club this season.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has 18 goals and 11 assists so far this season, which puts his as the top scorer of the club, scoring two more goals than Marcus Rashford and level in terms of assists, with Rashford on the same amount. Fernandes was a great January signing in 2020 and brought about a different fortune for United, being the player most likely to score, assist or even create a goal. He was on the bench earlier in the week, which gave him a rest, although he came off the bench. The Baggies will be seeking to ruin any attacking play for United and Fernandes will need to work hard, along with his teammates in order to get another three points on the board this season. It will be a tough match for United and one that they need to win.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani

United usually play with one striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation but with the fact the Baggies will be dropping back to defend, probably for a point. United have more players further up the pitch could be needed. Edinson Cavani is a great striker and can find the positions to score, or even drag defensive players out towards him to let another play find a goal. This will be important if United are to get another result on the road this season. A point will not be good enough. Mason Greenwood would be the best partner for Cavani in this match. He is fearless going forward and needs to play in a more central position. The form of both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial is questionable and them being on the bench could give United something later in the match, if needed.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Daniel James; Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial

Nine substitutes can be named on the bench with only three of them being used in the Premier League this season. This will give United more of a choice in the substitutions, which could change the game if that is needed. Dean Henderson will probably be back on the bench after his clean sheet against the Hammers on Tuesday. In defence, Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles and Brandon Williams could all be called upon. In midfield, Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, if he recovers from the illness that kept him out of the U23’s 3-0 victory over Arsenal on Friday and Daniel James could all provide something, should they be required. In attack, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial might be able to offer something, should they be needed.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Solskjaer to help consign the Baggies to the relegation positions; Cavani, Greenwood and Fernandes to launch United’s attack?

West Bromwich Albion -v- Manchester United

Premier League

The Hawthorns, West Bromwich

Sunday 14 February 2021, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Harry Lennard, Richard West

Fourth Official: Jarred Gillett

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United return to Premier League action as they travel to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat West Ham United in the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday evening and a 1-0 victory in which the only goal of the match was scored seven minutes into the first period of extra time. Scott McTominay was the scorer of the goal, reaching seven goals for this club this season. United currently sit in second place in the Premier League this season but with Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool (the latter two facing each other) all play before United do on Sunday, so their position could change, if Leicester beat Liverpool, which is a distinct possibility at this stage of the season.

Sam Allardyce’s side are in dire straits at this stage of the season, sitting in 19th place, a point ahead of Sheffield United at rock bottom and three points behind 18th placed Fulham. The Baggies are now 13 points from safety with Newcastle United and Burnley both on 25 points so far this season with Burnley’s goal difference putting them ahead of the Magpies. Burnley’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace will be a worrying sign for Allardyce’s side, who now need to start winning to have any chance of surviving in the Premier League this season. I don’t have any sympathy for them as they only have themselves to blame for their position in the league table at this stage of the season. If United beat them, dire consequences will remain for them.

Manchester United: WDWDLW

West Ham United 1-0 W, Everton 3-3 D, Southampton 9-0 W, Arsenal 0-0 D, Sheffield United 1-2 L, Liverpool 3-2 W

West Bromwich Albion: LLDLLW

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Sheffield United 2-1 L, Fulham 2-2 D, Manchester City 5-0 L, West Ham United 2-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 W

Top Scorers: The Baggies have scored 24 goals in all competitions this season with Bruno Fernandes (18) and Marcus Rashford (16) outscoring the club. United should be seeking to overthrow their opposition easily to keep them struggling for Premier League survival this season.

Manchester United Goals: 18 – Bruno Fernandes, 16 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 3 – Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Donny van de Beek

In the last six matches, United have won three, drawn twice and lost once. Solskjaer’s side have scored 17 goals, conceding seven and keeping three clean sheets. The 9-0 victory over Southampton is the reason why United have increased their goal tally in the past six matches, which is an anomaly based on the other matches which have been played. That said, United go into this match in good form, defeated in only one match and having an unbeaten record on the road, which has broken an old record. Solskjaer’s side should be seeking to breakdown their opposition as soon as possible and playing for the victory. The two hours they played against West Ham United on Tuesday might be costly with players being rested for the match and having to be used.

West Bromwich Albion Goals: 6 – Matheus Pereira, 3 – Semi Ajayi, Callum Robinson, Hal Robson-Kanu, 2 – Kyle Bartley, Conor Gallagher, 1 – Grady Diangana, Darnell Furlong, Karlan Grant, Rekeem Harper, Matt Phillips

The Baggies are inn dire form at this stage of the season. In their last six matches, they have won once, drawn once and lost four times. Allardyce’s side have scored seven goals, conceded 15 and kept no clean sheets. With the team in 19th place in the Premier League table right now and 11 points from safety, if they are unable to beat United and Burnley beat Crystal Palace, which is played at 3pm on Saturday, it could leave the Baggies with 14 points to make up to get out of the bottom three, which is going to put pressure on Allardyce and his squad. It does not look good for their survival in the Premier League this season, which will be a shame for them. I won’t feel sorry for them though. They only have themselves to blame.

Team News: Two players on the sidelines for United and one on the sidelines for the Baggies. Injuries are not really a big factor for either of these sides at this stage of the season.

Phil Jones (knee) and Paul Pogba (thigh) are the only two players on the sidelines for United through injury. Amad Diallo was missing from the U23’s on Friday evening because of illness, which if he recovers in time for Sunday could see him in contention to feature for Solskjaer’s side after appearing in the bench in the 1-0 extra time victory over West Ham United on Tuesday evening. Eric Bailly, who has been missing for the past two matches, could be back in action this weekend, which will be good news for Solskjaer, who has seen his defence play poorly of late, especially in the 3-3 draw with Everton in the Premier League last weekend. Aside of the injuries, Solskjaer’s side will have a relatively full squad for this match.

Grady Diangana (thigh) has a 25% chance of being involved in the clash with United on Sunday afternoon. His participation will be decided after a late fitness test, which may seem unlikely for the player. The Baggies will need to get a good result in this match to have a chance of clawing back an 11-point deficit between them in 19th place and Burnley in 17th place in the Premier League table. However, with Burnley playing on Saturday, facing Crystal Palace, it could be a 14-point deficit by the time the match kicks off on Sunday afternoon between the Baggies and United. Allardyce will have a big job one his hands to try and steer this team away from the relegation zone this season, which seems unlikely at this stage of the season.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to lead the line against the Baggies? Bruno Fernandes to continue his goal/assist run which has changed United’s fortunes since his arrival? Amad Diallo to recover from illness to feature on the bench against the Baggies?

Solskjaer will be seeking to restore Edinson Cavani to the starting XI against the Baggies with him being the best striker at the club at this period of time. I think there could be a two-man forward formation which should consist of Mason Greenwood as Cavani’s partner. Bruno Fernandes will play in the advanced midfield position inn this formation with a three-man midfield of Scott McTominay, Fred and Donny van de Beek. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw will play in the fullback roles with Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire partnering in the central defensive area. David De Gea will be recalled after being rested in the Emirate FA Cup on Tuesday evening, which should have given him some time to recover from that 3-3 draw with Everton.

Match Prediction: 25 Premier League matches between United and the Baggies with United winning 16 times, drawing five times and losing four times. Solskjaer’s side should be seeking to add more misery to Allardyce’s side this season.

United and the Baggies have played a total of 25 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 16 times, drawing five times and losing four times. United have scored a total of 50 goals with the Baggies scoring 20. United have won four penalties, scoring three of them with the Baggies winning one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept a total of 12 clean sheets against the Baggies, who have kept four clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have received a total of 36 yellow cards and one red card with the Baggies receiving 31 yellow cards and four red cards. United beat the Baggies 1-0 earlier in the season and will be seeking to take all three points on offer in their first trip to the Hawthorns in just over three years.

In their last visit to the Hawthorns, which was on the 17 December 2017, United won 2-1 with Romelu Lukaku opening the scoring in the 27th minute and Jesse Lingard doubling the lead in the 35th minute. Gareth Barry scored a consolation for the Baggies in the 77th minute of the match. At Old Trafford that season, which was played on the 15 April 2018, United were beaten 1-0 with a solo Jay Rodriguez strike in the 73rd minute of the match. United did beat the Baggies 1-0 earlier this season and it was a dire match in which Bruno Fernandes’ penalty was the only real highlight of the match. Sam Allardyce’s side have found themselves in a dire situation this season, which United should aim to keep going for them, getting the win away from home.

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW