Friday 1 May 2015

Match preview: United v West Brom, Sat 2nd May 5.30pm

Manchester United can move to within three points of securing a place in the top four with victory over the Baggies in this Saturday tea time kick-off.

We could even seal our Champions League qualification this weekend should we win and Liverpool fail to defeat QPR. 

A win would also put us into second place with City not playing until Sunday and Arsenal travelling to Hull on Monday.

West Brom arrive at Old Trafford in 13th place and four points from two games, after five defeats in six, have effectively banished any lingering relegation fears.
Baggies boss Tony Pulis will ensure there is no resting on laurels, though.
Any team managed by the highly respected Welshman are always tough nuts to crack so there is no guarantee here for United. 

Wayne Rooney limped off with a knee injury late on at Goodison Park but has been passed fit and Robin Van Persie is also available.
Phil Jones will have his fitness assessed and could play but Michael Carrick, Luke Shaw and Jonny Evans are all ruled out with injury.

Louis van Gaal faced the media as usual on Friday, and said on selection:

"Wayne is very important to us, so I am very happy that he shall play against West Bromwich.
"Robin (van Persie) can play but we will have to wait and see if I let him play of course and Jones is also fit but I shall need to assess his match rhythm before I can select him.
"We need balance in our selection and I have said that many, many times.
"I cannot deny that we need balance in our selection, I think also the preparation of our season.
"I think that Manchester United has already adapted to a better preparation this season."

The last two games have seen players now in Red returning to former clubs, but, this time, a familiar face lines up against United in opposition colours.

Long serving stalwart Darren Fletcher, who made 223 appearances for the Reds, makes his Old Trafford return having moved to the Hawthorns in January where he was appointed captain under Pulis. 

Having been asked about a potential title challenge for next season, LVG added: 

"There is not a big gap, I don't think so.
"You can judge that when the clubs are playing matches against each other.
"We are very close to the second position, Chelsea are far above the other clubs but that can be different next year I think.
"We started very badly this year because when you cut the start of it, I think we equal Chelsea, for example.
"Now we have to start better, we have to make the balance of our selection better and then we have to perform better in different moments." 

Form guide: United W W W W L L West Brom W L L L W D 
Match odds: United 5/2 Draw 17/4 West Brom 19/2
Referee: Anthony Taylor 

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