Friday 31 March 2017

Match preview: United v West Brom

United return to action as the Premier League resumes after a two-week hiatus for international fixtures.

The Reds will be without five first team regulars for the visit of the Baggies, who are enjoying a fine season under the shrewd tutelage of Tony Pulis. 
This match is the first of nine in a packed April for the team, with nine games - five at home and four away - across two competitions in 29 days. 

Ibrahimovic serves the final game of his three-match ban, with Ander Herrera also suspended but both players will be available to face Everton on Tuesday. 

Paul Pogba (hamstring) will also miss out, while Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face a lengthy spell on the sidelines having sustained 'long term' injuries on international duty. 
Wayne Rooney is in contention to play for the first time since March.

Gareth McAuley and Matt Phillips are doubtful for the visitors, but ex Reds Darren Fletcher, Jonny Evans and Ben Foster are all set to face their former team-mates. 

Highly rated Academy prospect Axel Tuanzebe is in the squad and could feature, after he made his first team debut against Wigan in the FA Cup earlier this season.

The West Midlands side look on course for a best ever Premier League points tally and currently sit in eighth place.
United have won the last two meetings, both by the same 2-0 scoreline, but the Baggies enjoyed back-to-back successes at Old Trafford in 2013/14 (1-2) and 2014/15 (0-1). 

United manager Jose Mourinho said: "Usually, West Brom set up to defend and look for set-pieces, which they are brilliant at so it is difficult, they are dangerous, particularly without two defenders.
 "For us the important players are the ones that are ready to play, and the ones I trust.
"Some players are tired, of course, after the international break but I know they are going to give everything tomorrow to try to keep us in the fight for the top four. 
"I have a lot of quality and many options so that is important in a time when we play a lot of games.
"Smalling and Jones have long term injuries but I don't know how long they will be out for, I don't know."

Form guide: United W D D L W W West Brom W D W L L W 
Match odds: United 5/2 Draw 4/1 West Brom 10/1
Referee: Mike Dean 

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