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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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7 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

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

7 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

Jesse Lingard wanted by both West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United as Manchester United future looks bleak – reports

West Bromwich Albion are reportedly plotting a move for Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard, who seems to be out of favour at the Theatre of Dreams. It is also suggested that West Ham United manager David Moyes is interested in signing the 27-year-old along with out of favour defender Phil Jones.

In the recent past, Leicester City, Newcastle United and Everton have all been linked to Lingard. The Independent suggest that the Baggies will go all out for the 27-year-old this summer providing they secure Premier League football next season. Slaven Bilic’s side moved to the top spot in the Championship after a 2-0 victory over Derby County on Wednesday.

Lingard will most likely be one of the Croatian’s top transfer targets this summer, which would be good for United as the more interest in the player, the more chance he will leave the club as for well over a year now, he has been pointless at the club not even looking semi-decent in his only appearance since the restart of the Premier League.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking to add quality to his squad this summer with moves for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish reported in the media, however, the fees quoted for each player would certainly mean that United would not sign both players, as much as they would like to.

This season, Lingard has made 36 appearances for United in the Premier League, UEFA Europa League, Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup, scoring two goals and two assists, which for a player that should be in the peak of his career is dreadful. He would be out of contract next summer, although there is an option for a further year to be added.

At this stage, United will need to offload many of the players who have continually failed to reach any kind of impact at United. In his time at the club, Lingard was always known as a late developer. He has made 203 appearances at the club scoring 31 goals and 20 assists, which is poor for a player in the attacking ranks. Mason Greenwood has scored 15 goals this season alone, which provides a comparison.

Sam Johnstone leaves Manchester United for West Bromwich Albion

Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has left the Old Trafford club after coming through the clubs academy in 2009. Johnstone had not made a single competitive appearance for his club but had played during pre-season with stars such as David De Gea not involved due to international competition. Johnstone, 25 had been loaned out to clubs since 2011 with spells at Oldham Athletic, Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Yeovil Town, and two spells at Doncaster Rovers, Preston North End, and Aston Villa, where he finished last season.

Johnstone was always going to face problems in earning his place at United with David De Gea the mainstay in the goalkeeping position at the club along with the likes of Anders Lindegaard, Sergio Romero and even Joel Pereira who have all played as the second or even third choice goalkeeper at the club. Johnstone’s contract at United was due to expire this summer but when he signed the contract, an option of a further year was inserted, which was activated earlier this year. A fee of £6.5 million has been suggested, which could rise to £10 million.

Johnstone rose to prominence whilst at Aston Villa last season, playing half a season at the club the season before. He made 70 appearances in both loan spells, keeping 30 clean sheets, which is close to one clean sheet every two matches. Despite Johnstone being a competent goalkeeper, being at United was never going to see him take the number one shirt at the club, not whilst De Gea and Romero were still there, let alone other talented goalkeepers rising from the clubs academy, who may have to do the same thing and leave the Old Trafford club.

Dean Henderson recently signed a new two-year contract and was immediately loaned out to Championship side Sheffield United for the entire 2018/19 season and it is understood that he will reevaluate his position at the club in a year’s time, which could see a place in the squad for him. Joel Pereira could also find himself leaving the club on loan with United close to signing Lee Grant this summer. Johnstone will no doubt be another United academy graduate who has gone on to forge a career for himself in the game, albeit away from United.

The 25-year-old has played for England from U16 to U20 and will be seeking to find a way to play for his country. He could find the same problem he found at United with Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, and Nick Pope all ahead of him this summer in the FIFA World Cup squad, which could see him end up not only failing to achieve a debut at United but also for England. Johnstone will find his feet and be the goalkeeper his new club wants him to be and I am sure he will be a name to look out for in the Championship this coming season as the Baggies look for promotion.

On leaving United, Johnstone who has been at the club for 15 years spoke to the official Manchester United website, saying:

“I’ve grown up at United and has the most amazing time, it’s the best club to learn when you are a young player and prepare you for the future. I have been here since I was 10-years-old so it’s a sad day for me to leave permanently.

“The last few seasons I have been playing week in-week out on loan so I felt it was the right time to settle down and I can’t wait to do this at West Bromwich Albion. Thank you to everybody for the support and I wish United the best luck in the upcoming seasons.”

Speaking to the official West Bromwich Albion website about his move to the club, who will be seeking a return to the Premier League next season, Johnstone said:

“I’m happy to be here. I’ve spoken to a lot of people about the club and heard nothing but good things.

“It’s good to get through the door. I’ve played Championship games and won a promotion from League One with Preston but always seemed to end back at Manchester United or going somewhere else.

“Now it’s time to settle down and take my game up to the next level which I believe I can do here.”

copyright: JW