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Match Preview: Manchester United vs West Brom

by Tom Parker

After a hard-fought 1-0 win against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, the attention now once again returns to the Premier League this weekend.

United have now got through a difficult start to the season and begin a set of five winnable games with a home fixture against West Brom on Saturday.

It  will be the first time the two sides have met since a chaotic final day encounter last season in the last match of the Sir Alex Ferguson era. The game ended 5-5 (the first time in Premier League history) and saw West Brom score three times in the last 15 minutes to seal a dramatic fight back.

Much has changed for United and West Brom this summer with plenty of departures and arrivals for both teams, so Moyes and Steve Clarke will be looking to kick on in the upcoming matches.

West Brom go into the match in reasonable form having secured their first win of the new season in emphatic style against Sunderland before they lost against Arsenal on penalties in the Capital One Cup in midweek. United suffered derby heartbreak at the Etihad last weekend but were able to bounce back at home to Liverpool on Wednesday in a real show of grit and character in the face of real pressure.

Former Red Ben Foster is still missing for Albion so Boaz Myhill will again deputise in his absence. Claudio Yacob, Victor Anichebe and ex-Chelsea and Manchester City striker Nicholas Anelka should all be available after recovering from knocks. Chris Brunt and Matej Vydra are expected to be among the absentees for Steve Clarke’s men.

United go into the match close to full strength after both Rafael and Phil Jones completed 90 minutes on their return from injury against Liverpool while Nani and Shinji Kagawa did their chances at starting tomorrow no harm with decent performances in the wide positions. Javier Hernandez and Jonny Evans, two players who both have been virtual bystanders so far this campaign, look nailed on to start the game after fantastic individual performances against Liverpool and Robin van Persie will also at least make the bench after returning a groin strain.

Honours were even at the Hawthorns last season but United beat West Brom 2-0 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in a game which featured a brilliant Robin van Persie goal. A similar scoreline will be more than satisfying for Moyes given the defensive display of last weekend.

Moyes has used a limited number of players so far because he opted for experience during United’s tough start to the season but now that is out of the way, the Scot is likely to ring in some changes to keep the squad fresh.

West Brom will be up for it but United will know that the defeat to City last weekend makes this one a must win to ensure that a gap doesn’t start to appear at the top of the table, and will be buoyed by the win over Liverpool from midweek so come into the game with good morale.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 West Brom

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