Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will be looking to get a win under their belt ahead of the start of their Europa league campaign on Thursday evening. The Red Devils have the chance to go second in the table by the end of the weekend, with Manchester City facing Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon. The blue side of Manchester looking to close the gap at the top of the Premier League table.
United take the trip to the Hawthorns, with the hosts looking to put their winless drought to an end with no win in five league games. The Baggies have made a slight resurgence under Sam Allardyce since the Englishman’s appointment, with a draw to Liverpool at Anfield and a win away to Wolves at Molineux. The Baggies now find themselves in 19th place, 13 points adrift of safety with their revival hopes slowly fading.
Eric Bailly is back in contention for the trip to the West Midlands. He has been back in training this week after a six-match absence. The defender last played at Fulham on January 20th, after a knock ruled him out of recent games. He narrowly missed out on the midweek Emirates FA Cup match, and Solskjaer must decide on whether to stick with Victor Lindelof along Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence.
Paul Pogba remains out with a thigh injury as Phil Jones continues his recovery from knee surgery. Amad Diallo, a January signing, was on the bench for the first time in Tuesday’s Emirates FA Cup win against West Ham United. Man United are expected to welcome back Bruno Fernandes for this match who is likely to come in for Donny van de Beek. The Portuguese playmaker has scored 13 goals and created nine more in the Premier League this season, leaving him just one assist away from becoming only the fourth United player to reach double figures for both in a single campaign.
Edinson Cavani should lead the line as he looks to net for a third successive league game after Anthony Martial is on the sidelines. Tuesday’s match winner Scott McTominay may also have earned himself another start after netting his seventh goal of the campaign. He is likely to replace Nemanja Matic. David De Gea and Luke Shaw will also expect to be recalled to the Starting XI, while Marcus Rashford, who has six goals and five assists away from home this season should keep his place. Fred is on 99 appearances with his 100th on the horizon.
For West Brom, Grady Diangana is likely to remain sidelined for the clash with Man United despite the midfielder returning to training. The winger has missed the last seven games with a hamstring problem and West Brom boss confirmed he needs more time to get match fit. New signing Okay Yokuslu could make his debut after joining from Celta Vigo last month and coming off the bench in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
West Brom have conceded 28 goals under the 66 year old, averaging 2.8 per match compared to the average of two per match under Slaven Bilic. They are now facing an average of 16.6 shots per match compared to the 15.6 before Allardyce was appointed, with a clean sheet yet to kept under the new regime.
Solskjaer’s side have lost just one of their last 17 league outings and are in particularly good form away from home, with no team picking up more points on their travels than the Red Devils. They also have the only unbeaten away record in the top flight this season. Man United’s unbeaten away run now stretches back a club record 18 games going back more than a year. But that streak will be on the line in upcoming trips to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.
Solskjaer’s side kept another route to trophies open in midweek with a 1-0 win over West Ham to progress to the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup. The Red Devils did need extra time however to see off a compact West Ham side on the night.
Previous to the Emirates FA Cup tie, United have scored 12 goals in their last two Premier League games. A 9-0 hammering against Southampton at Old Trafford and then a dramatic 3-3 draw against Everton on home turf boosted their goal difference. Solskjaer’s men will be looking to boost this record even further against the division’s worst defence this weekend.
United’s last meeting with the Baggies will recall a tight game, memorable for some impressive saves from former United academy graduate Sam Johnstone. A game settled by Fernandes and his second half penalty. Man United haven’t travelled to the Hawthorns since 2017, but have won in their last two trips there. West Brom have lost seven of their last eight Premier League games that have taken place on a Sunday.
Players to watch
Allardyce brought in a few players during the January transfer window who could be involved this weekend, after featuring in West Brom’s previous game. Robert Snodgrass brings a great deal of hard work to the pitch with Mbaye Diagne a good versatile player. Ainsley Maitland Niles will be looking to impress after being brought in on loan from Arsenal on deadline day. All performed encouragingly in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Matheus Pereira and Conor Gallagher have been bright for the Baggies this season. With Pereira scoring two goals from the penalty spot in West Brom’s last win against Wolves. Gallagher, on loan from Chelsea, has impressed in the centre of the park, instrumental in his long range passing.
Looking to Man United, Cavani will have another opportunity to carry on his goalscoring fanatics. Fernandes and McTominay will look to dominate the midfield bringing assists and goals in numbers. Fred and Van de Beek could be used as impact players off the substitutes bench.
The clash kicks off at 20.15 (GMT) and will be broadcasted live on Sky Sports in the UK.
What the managers have said
Allardyce spoke to club media. When asked about the challenge Man United will pose. He said: “I hope the players can raise their performance levels. You need many things in a game like this on Sunday, when you are facing one of the best teams in the league. You need to have a resilient performance. We Know that Manchester United will probably have more possession than us.”
When Solskjaer faced the media, he was asked about the Reds' recent form in the Premier League. “Of course its an important game for us, this weekend. It’s an important spell. Every game, you tick one off and there are less possibilities to make up the points to the teams in front of you. That’s what we want to do, that’s what we’re here to do and Sunday’s a big one for us in that respect to get back to winning ways. The two points dropped against Everton were disappointing when it’s the last kick of the ball. But we bounced back well in the Cup against West Ham, we’re through and we’re into the quarters. That was a good step in the right direction and another clean sheet.”
He was pleased with the way his team responded to beat West Ham in the Emirates FA Cup: “Of course, going through is always the main thing in the cup. For us bouncing back after the disappointing last kick of the ball the other day, so very pleased with the mentality, how they reset their attitude and we’re positive about going through. I think the players saw the game out really well. We are getting stronger and fitter.”