The match between two in-form sides will mark the end of Matchday 29 in English Premier League, and while the Baggies will be hoping to extend the bright run of results, the game will be of much bigger importance to Manchester United, who now have a realistic chance of securing Champions League qualification.
Considering that they sit 12 points clear of the bottom three with ten games to go, West Bromwich can be pretty satisfied with how the current season has panned out, especially taking into account the latest uptrend in fortunes. The Baggies were in danger of getting involved in the relegation dogfight after losing at St James’ Park, but they responded brilliantly to said defeat, taking seven points from next three fixtures, albeit suffering a disappointing FA Cup loss to Reading. Back to back triumphs over Everton and Crystal Palace all but secured Premiership survival, but it was a very good performance in the 2-2 draw with leaders Leicester City that proved West Bromwich can match even the best side sin the league on their day. The Baggies now face another difficult encounter as they play host to red-hot Manchester United, but with the hosts high on confidence at the moment, we believe they stand a good chance of extending the unbeaten run.
Chris Brunt has been ruled out for the season through a knee injury and he will be missing the European Championship finals as well.
Meanwhile, James Morrison, Jonny Evans and Callum McManaman continue to miss out, but at least Tony Pulis has no fresh worries.
Louis van Gaal has been given a lot of stick for failing to take Manchester United to where they belong, but all the hardships are proving worthwhile now that the Red Devils squad is packed with academy players who could go on to play important roles in years to come. The likes of Rashford, Fosu-Mensah, McNair, Varela, Borthwick-Jackson and Lingard have already shown a great deal of potential, and with the results also improving of late, nobody is talking about the potential arrival of Jose Mourinho any more. Even if Manchester United had recorded two comfortable wins beforehand, the Arsenal game will have proved to be the turning point as the players themselves were able to see that if they gave their best, they could win any team in the league, in spite of the serious selection problems. The injury situation has improved a bit, but with several important players still not fully fit and busy schedule taking its toll, we are not convinced they can extend the winning run at the Hawthorns.
Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia are back in contention, but they will probable have to settle for a place on the bench.
Chris Smalling faces a fitness test, whereas Matteo Darmian and Jesse Lingard are pushing for starting places after making substitute appearances in midweek.
Key Factors to Consider
- West Brom and Man Utd have two wins each in last six meetings
- Over 2.5 goals were scored in last nine matches between two teams at Hawthorns
- West Brom recorded four draws in last five home games on all fronts
- Man Utd have one win in last seven away fixtures in EPL (D3 L3)
- Both teams scored in four of Man Utd’s last five away games
West Bromwich have seriously raised their form of late and seeing as how they are high on confidence at the moment, we believe they will be able to match in-form Manchester United at the Hawthorns. The Red Devils will be looking to make it five victories on the bounce, but they are likely to fall short.
Best Odds: 12/5