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Ratings: Fernandes on spot for United as they defeat the Baggies; De Gea, Telles, Maguire and Fred all did well

Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It was a match that I expected more from but a penalty was all that sealed the victory. Some will say that it was a controversial match with the Baggies’ penalty not being given after consulting with VAR then United winning one, seeing it saved By Sam Johnstone, who had a great game against United, only for it to be retaken. Bruno Fernandes was involved in almost everything against the strugglers with United sealing the win with a clean sheet. They will be back in action in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, against Istanbul Basaksehir.

United started well against the Baggies, who were playing in a defensive formation with players back to deal with the threat of the Red Devils. Former United academy goalkeeper Sam Johnstone played his first match at Old Trafford against United and in the first half, made a few good saves to deny United from taking the lead. United found themselves in some good positions at times, playing some good football but Johnstone’s personal form stopped them from taking something from the match, which was a shame for United. The Red Devils has five shots, three of which were on target in the first half. They need to be better in the second half.

At the start of the second half, the Baggies won a penalty for what seemed like slight contact. The referee then went to look at the replay on VAR and did not give the penalty, to the commentary team’s dismay on BT Sport. Minutes later though, United had a penalty of their own. Bruno Fernandes took it and Johnstone saved it, but he came off his line before the ball was struck, so the penalty needed to be taken again. This time, Fernandes found the back of the net to put United ahead for the first time in the match. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Edinson Cavani replacing Juan Mata.

United had few chances to cement their victory against the Baggies as the away side were getting back in number to avert any damage from United. Solskjaer made his second substitution in the 79th minute with Donny van de Beek replacing Marcus Rashford. That gave United more dominance in the midfield to break through the extra numbers at the back for the Baggies. Four minutes later, Solskjaer made his final substitution with Scott McTominay replacing Fred. It would seem like United have thrown at they can at this match and will have to settle for the victory they got from the penalty, ensuring that they did not concede.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made the odd save to deny the Baggies. He was not really pressured by the Premier League strugglers. He did need to remain aware though, especially with United having a large majority of the possession, pressuring the Baggies themselves.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

He defended well, as he usually does but going forward, especially against teams who defend deep, he needs to work on his delivery of the ball. It is not the best in these situations.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Performed well against the Baggies and was never really pressure defensively. United were poor on attack and need to find out a way to deal with that.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led United well from the off, both vocally and physically. Got forward a lot of the time and looked to find a goal himself from set-pieces. United needed this victory to turn a corner in the league, especially at home.

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27 Alex Telles

Started for United a month ago against Paris Saint-Germain and missed a lot of football because of a positive coronavirus test. Made his Premier League debut and was not too shabby. Definitely an upgrade on Luke Shaw and will be seeking to keep his place even when Shaw is fit.

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31 Nemanja Matic

He played in the anchor position in the midfield, shielding the defence. At times though, he made the easiest decision to offload the ball. He should have perhaps tried more difficult things to get the ball forward.

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17 Fred

Had a lot of involvement in the match in the midfield. Chased a few players and won the ball many times. aiming to get it forward for United's attacking players to get something - which was not happening for much of the match. Played well but was replaced by McTominay in the 83rd minute of the match.

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8 Juan Mata

Played well and tried to offer something creative for United but I think both he and United struggled at times against the Baggies, who were defending in numbers at times. He was replaced by Cavani in the 63rd minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The new talisman for United. He seemed to be all over the pitch at times, doing his best to help United. 19 goals since signing for the club, which is a great show of his talents. He has been linked with both Real Madrid and Barcelona recently, which is good news for United as it shows they have a great player in their midst once again.

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10 Marcus Rashford

He did not offer much for United, which is worrying, especially given the fact he seems to be carrying an injury again. He found form not that long ago by scoring the first hat-trick of his career and that needs to be his mindset again soon. He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 79th minute.

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9 Anthony Martial

It was a frustrating performance for the Frenchman who did not get a lot of service. United should have started Van de Beek, which may have solved this problem from the midfield.

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Substitutes

21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Mata 63'. Brought one to help United in attack, doing just that but not getting himself a goal to add to the one he scored against Everton.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Rashford 79'. Should have started, or at least have been brought on a lot earlier in the match as he only seems to get warmed up just as the match is coming to a close. I fervently believe that he should be given a lot more time on the pitch for United.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Fred 83'. Came on late in the game to help the midfield keep the ball so United kept the victory. It worked for United.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 56′ penalty

Assists: N/A

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Fred (McTominay 83′); Mata (Cavani 63′), Fernandes, Rashford (Van de Beek 79′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Williams, Tuanzebe; James

Bookings: Edinson Cavani 90+1′; Connor Gallagher 67′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Mata lead the line; Pogba not involved against West Brom

This evening, Manchester United will return to Premier League action after the final international break of 2020, welcoming West Bromwich Albion back to Old Trafford after they were relegated at the end of the 2017/18 season. United have not been in good form at the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League this season; playing four home matches, losing three and drawing once. At home this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have scored just twice, conceding 10 goals, keeping one clean sheet. Only in the UEFA Champions League has brought a victory at home this season, a 5-0 romp against RB Leipzig last month.

United’s league form has been poor this season with the club sitting in 14th place with just 10 points in the Premier League table with three matches being played ahead of the late kick off on Saturday evening.. The Baggies sit in 18th place with just three points this season with the club playing one more match than United (eight to United’s seven) but losing five times and drawing three times. They are seeking their first victory of the season, which puts them in much worse form than United at this stage of the season, which could be bad news for United. United’s starting XI for this match is as follows…

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Matic, Fred;

Mata, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Williams, Tuanzebe; James, Van de Beek, McTominay; Cavani

West Bromwich Albion:

Johnstone;

Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, Ivanovic, Townsend;

Pereira, Gallagher, Sawyers;

Diangana, Grant

Substitutes:

Button, Robson-Kanu, Robinson, Phillips, Harper, Krovinovic, O’Shea

United and West Brom have played a total of 24 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 15 times, the Baggies winning four times and the two teams drawing five times. United have scored a total of 49 goals; winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Baggies have scored a total of 20 goals; winning one penalty, and not scoring it. United have kept a total of 11 clean sheets with West Brom keeping four. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 35 yellow cards with one red card whereas the Baggies have been shown a total of 30 yellow cards with four red cards being shown.

United last played the Baggies in the 2017/18 season in the Premier League. At Old Trafford, in a match that was played on the 15 April 2018, United were defeated 1-0 with the only goal of the match scored by Jay Rodriguez in the 73rd minute. Five of the players who started in that match are still at the club; David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata. Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all came off the bench. At The Hawthorns that season, in a match that was played on the 17 December 2017, United won 2-1 with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles to start against West Bromwich Albion?

On Saturday evening, Manchester United will return to Premier League action after the final international break of 2020, welcoming West Bromwich Albion back to Old Trafford after they were relegated at the end of the 2017/18 season. United have not been in good form at the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League this season; playing four home matches, losing three and drawing once. At home this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have scored just twice, conceding 10 goals, keeping one clean sheet. Only in the UEFA Champions League has brought a victory at home this season, a 5-0 romp against RB Leipzig last month.

United’s league form has been poor this season with the club sitting in 14th place with just 10 points in the Premier League table before a ball is kicked this weekend, which could change prior to the kick off time on Saturday evening, the match being the last match of the day. The Baggies sit in 18th place with just three points this season with the club playing one more match than United (eight to United’s seven) but losing five times and drawing three times. They are seeking their first victory of the season, which puts them in much worse form than United at this stage of the season, which could be bad news for United.

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

United and West Brom have played a total of 24 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 15 times, the Baggies winning four times and the two teams drawing five times. United have scored a total of 49 goals; winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Baggies have scored a total of 20 goals; winning one penalty, and not scoring it. United have kept a total of 11 clean sheets with West Brom keeping four. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 35 yellow cards with one red card whereas the Baggies have been shown a total of 30 yellow cards with four red cards being shown.

United last played the Baggies in the 2017/18 season in the Premier League. At Old Trafford, in a match that was played on the 15 April 2018, United were defeated 1-0 with the only goal of the match scored by Jay Rodriguez in the 73rd minute. Five of the players who started in that match are still at the club; David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata. Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all came off the bench. At The Hawthorns that season, in a match that was played on the 17 December 2017, United won 2-1 with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea’s form has improved this season and ever since that defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, he seems to have been more determined to end the the period that he has faced over the last season and a half, or so. The Spaniard has been in good form in his last few matches for United, especially against Everton when United went for, and got the win they needed – which was a good result considering Everton’s early season form. United know what De Gea is capable of but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should also ensure that he gets use out of Dean Henderson, who is capable of doing his job in goal too.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence needs some work. At this moment in time, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly (although back in training) and Luke Shaw are all on the sidelines through injury which is also reduced by the fact that Marcos Rojo is not in contention to start for United this season, even with the current injury levels. Against West Bromwich Albion, Aaron Wan-Bissaka should keep his place at right-back with Alex Telles making his first start in the Premier League given that Saw is out of action. I the middle, Harry Maguire and Axel Tuanzebe should be give the chance to form a partnership, given that Victor Lindelof could be out of the match through injury.

Midfield Two: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay

The midfield is an area that has been problematic despite the fact that Solskjaer has a wide selection of players to field. Paul Pogba has been in terrible form this season, and last, and cannot help talking about his lack of desire to play for the club, so I feel that he should be given his wish and watch matches from the bench, or at home if he has no fight in him. Pogba has disappointed me with his attitude towards the fact that other players have done more than him. He has let himself down. Perhaps he should look into making his dream a reality and leaving. In this instance, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay should start.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James

United might need to try plan b at this moment in time with the likelihood that Marcus Rashford might miss this match due to injury. Mason Greenwood has been training at the clubs training ground all week, so should be in contention to face the Baggies on Saturday. Given that he scored for his country on Wednesday evening, Daniel James could have the high confidence levels to add something for his club, showing that there is a player in him who wants to succeed. Bruno Fernandes should start against the Baggies and perhaps come off should the job be done early with United back in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has played just five times this season, all from the bench, playing just 93 minutes of football. Against Everton, after coming on for the remaining eight minutes of the match, the Uruguayan scored his first goal for the club. During the international break, he scored for Uruguay against Colombia, scoring in the fifth minute of the match but was sent off in the 71st minute in a 2-0 defeat to Brazil, giving him a mixed international break. One thing is for sure, he will be ready to be called upon for United, if he does start keeping in mind the injuries to both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams; Paul Pogba, Juan Mata; Anthony Martial, Odion Ighalo

Solskjaer will have three substitutions in the Premier League and domestic cup competitions this season, whilst he will have up to five in the Champions League. Against the Baggies, Dean Henderson could remain on the bench again, which may not be ideal but with De Gea’s uptake in form, might be the best thing for now. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams could be there if needed. In midfield, Paul Pogba and Juan Mata could add something, providing the former can be bothered. In attack, Anthony Martial, providing he is fit and Odion Ighalo could offer something, should they be required.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Time for Manchester United to make Old Trafford a fortress against the Baggies?

Manchester United -v- West Bromwich Albion

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 20 November 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: David Coote Assistants: Lee Betts, Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson

VAR: Peter Bankes Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday

On Saturday evening, Manchester United will return to Premier League action after the final international break of 2020, welcoming West Bromwich Albion back to Old Trafford after they were relegated at the end of the 2017/18 season. United have not been in good form at the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League this season; playing four home matches, losing three and drawing once. At home this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have scored just twice, conceding 10 goals, keeping one clean sheet. Only in the UEFA Champions League has brought a victory at home this season, a 5-0 romp against RB Leipzig last month.

United’s league form has been poor this season with the club sitting in 14th place with just 10 points in the Premier League table before a ball is kicked this weekend, which could change prior to the kick off time on Saturday evening, the match being the last match of the day. The Baggies sit in 18th place with just three points this season with the club playing one more match than United (eight to United’s seven) but losing five times and drawing three times. They are seeking their first victory of the season, which puts them in much worse form than United at this stage of the season, which could be bad news for United.

Manchester United: WLLWDW

Everton 3-1 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 L, Arsenal 1-0 L, RB Leipzig 5-0 W, Chelsea 0-0 D, Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 W

West Bromwich Albion: LLDDLD

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 L, Fulham 2-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 D, Burnley 0-0 D, Southampton 2-0 L, Chelsea 3-3 D

Top Scorers: Marcus Rashford has scored four goals fewer than West Brom this season. United have an opportunity to put their season back on the right track against the Baggies.

Manchester United Goals: 7 – Marcus Rashford, 6 – Bruno Fernandes, 2 – Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood, 1 – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani, Harry Maguire, Own Goal, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay

United’s Premier League season has not been the best with seven matches played so far this season with three wins, three losses and one draw. They have a game in hand over 16 teams after each round of matches because their start to the season was a week later than the rest, along with Manchester City for their participation in the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League last season. United got back on track with a 3-1 victory over Everton last time out and will need to continue that form in this match, which could be tough with the Baggies seeking to find their first victory of the season.

West Bromwich Albion Goals: 3 – Callum Robinson, Hal Robson-Kanu, 1 – Grady Diangana, Karlan Grant, Kyle Bartley, Matheus Pereira, Rekeem Harper

The Baggies have been poor this season, playing eight times in the Premier League, losing five and drawing three – still seeking their first win of the season. They are the worst of all three promoted teams last season – sitting in 18th place in the league with three points. Fulham sit 17th and Leeds United, the champions of the Championship, sit in 15th place. The Baggies will need to start getting wins on the board otherwise this is going to be a long hard season for them. Heading into 2021, with the pressure mounting, the lack of victories will continue to damage their chances of remaining in the Premier League.

Team News: United have three players ruled out this weekend with the Baggies having two players ruled out. United will be sweating on the fitness of several players though, which could be a worry.

United have three players ruled out of action for this match; Phil Jones (knee), Luke Shaw (thigh) and Eric Bailly (muscular). However, there are also quite a few doubts in the run up to the match with Mason Greenwood (illness) having a 75% chance of being involved and Marcus Rashford (shoulder), Harry Maguire (foot), Jesse Lingard (other), Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof (both lower back) all having a 50% chance of being involved against the Baggies. This could suggest that Edinson Cavani will start his first match for the club after scoring his first goal against Everton almost a fortnight ago.

The Baggies have two players who have been ruled out from the clash against United at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening; Hal Robson-Kanu (arm/elbow) and Sam Field (knee). Branislav Ivanovic and Matheus Pereira, who had been sidelined by COVID-19 should be ready to go but Callum Robinson, who had been suffering the same problem, only has a 75% chance of featuring against United this weekend. This could be good for the Baggies, who will need ot get their first win on the board sooner rather than later which could see them take advantage of United’s poor home form this season, at least so far.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to lead the line against the Baggies?

Solskjaer has a few injuries and a few more doubts ahead of the class with the Baggies on Saturday evening. I think that David De Gea will keep his place in goal with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles playing in the back four. In the two-man midfield, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek should both start. In the attacking midfield places, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James could all be raring to go after the international break with Edinson Cavani starting for the first time in the Premier League to lead the line against the struggling Baggies.

Match Prediction: United have been the team to beat for the Baggies in the Premier League with the last match played at Old Trafford being a loss for United, between these two teams. United have won 15 of the 24 meetings in the Premier League with the Baggies.

United and West Brom have played a total of 24 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 15 times, the Baggies winning four times and the two teams drawing five times. United have scored a total of 49 goals; winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Baggies have scored a total of 20 goals; winning one penalty, and not scoring it. United have kept a total of 11 clean sheets with West Brom keeping four. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 35 yellow cards with one red card whereas the Baggies have been shown a total of 30 yellow cards with four red cards being shown.

United last played the Baggies in the 2017/18 season in the Premier League. At Old Trafford, in a match that was played on the 15 April 2018, United were defeated 1-0 with the only goal of the match scored by Jay Rodriguez in the 73rd minute. Five of the players who started in that match are still at the club; David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata. Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all came off the bench. At The Hawthorns that season, in a match that was played on the 17 December 2017, United won 2-1 with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard.

Manchester United 3-0 West Bromwich Albion

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW