West Brom vs Manchester United: Can United impress away from home again?
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

If this Manchester United team has any real hopes of challenging for the league title this season, Sunday's encounter against Sam Allardyce's West Bromwich Albion is a must win game.

With Leicester City and Manchester City both picking up three points on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men find themselves one point behind the Foxes and eight behind their noisy neighbours.

Dropping points against West Brom would be a huge blow to what seems like a very confident Manchester United team – despite Dominic Calvert Lewin's last minute equaliser a week ago.

So what should United fans be looking out for ahead of Sunday's encounter at the Hawthorns?

  • Can Ole's men emulate the United of old?

Although United fans would typically expect games against West Brom to end with a positive result, it has not always been plain sailing against the Baggies in recent years.

In United's first 17 Premier League encounters against West Brom, the Red Devils found the back of the net 43 times – averaging an impressive 2.5 goals per game.

However, the eight most recent fixtures have seen United score just seven goals and fail to beat the keeper on four of those occasions – resulting in a mere 0.9 goals per game.

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Also, if Solskajer's men were to defeat the home side on Sunday, it would be the first time that a United team had recorded a Premier League double over West Brom in nine years.

Tomorrow's game provides Ole's men the chance to emulate the United of old in another way, too.

This current team has scored 49 league goals so far in the 2020/21 season, but scoring just one more against Allardyce's men would see them become the first United team to score 50 goals in 24 league games or less since 2012/13 – the season of Sir Alex Ferguson's departure and Manchester United's most recent league title.

It is uncertain if it will come to fruition, but three points against West Brom would stir a real buzz across the red half of Manchester.

  • Will Mason Greenwood be given more minutes? 

After what has generally been a difficult season so far for Mason Greenwood, things have been starting to look on the up again for the youngster.

After a neatly taken goal against Liverpool a few weeks ago, Greenwood hasn't found the back of the net – but it is far from all doom and gloom.

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The previous three United fixtures have seen the academy graduate play 85 minutes or more in three consecutive games – the first time this can be said in the 2020/21 season.

And despite not scoring, his involvement across these games has been reminiscent of the player we all fell in love with last season. His ability to take defenders on and create the space to get a shot off can be a huge asset to both himself and the team. Thankfully, this side of his game has been more evident in recent performances.

If Solskjaer gives Greenwood enough time to have an impact against West Brom, it will be interesting to see if 19 year old seizes his opportunity and continues to impress – potentially going one step further and adding to his already impressive collection of goals for his boyhood club.

  • Will the top scorers capitalise on a leaky defence?

Solskjaer's men haven't been too shy in front of goal this season and as a result find themselves as the top scorers in the Premier League having beaten the keeper on an impressive 49 occasions. 

On the contrary, West Brom have conceded a whopping 54 goals so far this season – the most by a Premier League team this season.

On top of this, the West Midlands outfit have only managed to keep two clean sheets across the entirety of the 2020/21 campaign, and that isn't too promising if you're a West Brom player or fan when coming up against an attack as formidable as United's.

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However, Solskjaer's men did struggle to beat former United keeper Sam Johnstone at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign as he made a string of fine saves.

If United were to score just once again against West Brom it would keep them firmly in the race at the top of the table, but the game has potential for many more goals than the previous encounter.

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