As well as the good news about Smalling, unfortunately Bailly isn’t fit to play due to the injury he suffered against Crystal Palace.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 16, 2016
“He can’t be in this game but it doesn’t look as serious as we first thought,” Mourinho said about Bailly.
“Normally we hope to have him back for Christmas period. Smalling is coming back for this game.”
Although Smalling is now fit to return there is absolutely no guarantee he’ll go straight back into the starting XI and I personally don’t think he should. Jones and Rojo have struck up a good partnership and to push that apart for the returning Smalling seems an unnecessary risk.
West Brom scored three headers in midweek against Swansea so we know they’ll be really threatening in those areas, so maybe Mourinho will want Smalling’s added height and bring him back in but he’ll be under pressure to perform straight away and shake off the cobwebs of his horrendous performance away to Chelsea.
I thought United’s best partnership this year in defence was going to be Smalling and Bailly but the progression of both Jones and Rojo has thrown a spanner into the works, so he’s got a fight on his hands.