Writer: Red Boy
Date:Friday December 31 2010
Manchester United travel to 'The Hawthorns` keen to keep the pressure up on their title rivals by winning whilst also keeping their unbeaten, in the Premier League, record intact. There`s also the added incentive of gaining some sort of revenge for the draw West Brom snatched at Old Trafford earlier this season.
United, traditionally, come on strong in the second half of the season, so with us sitting pretty at the top of the table, Sir Alex Ferguson is quite right when he infers,
"I always say if we get to that top position on New Year's Day, then we've always got a great chance [of winning the title]"
Roberto Di Matteo is showing great promise as a manager, having worked his way through the leagues`, his side started the season well but are spluttering a bit at the moment.
Matters will not be helped by the fact his side are currently suffering something of a defensive crisis with Gabriel Tamas and Gonzalo Jara both serving suspensions. Throw into the mix the fact that Paul Scharner is doubtful with an illness and you can understand why Di Matteo has recalled Gianni Zuiverloon from his loan spell at the East Anglian side, Ipswich Town.
Also out injured, with an Achilles problem is Jonas Olsson.
On the positive side, Di Matteo is able to welcome back Chris Brunt with the Northern Irish international having served a one game suspension.
Tricky, pacy and with a fierce shot, the Northern Irish international has firmly established himself as a Premier League player.
Sir Alex Ferguson takes his squad to the nations; second city for the second time in a week without the injured quartet of Antonio Valencia, Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes and John O`Shea.
The squad will also be without Ji-Sung Park who is away on international duty with South Korea, in the Asian Cup.
But, it is widely expected that Nani, who has been suffering from a hip problem, will be available for selection.
Once again we`ll focus on Wayne as the one to watch in the hope that he`ll be able to get that first elusive goal, from open play, since March.
United are on a good run against West Bromwich Albion having won four of the last five meetings, the only gliche in that record being the recent 2-2 draw at Old Trafford we previously mentioned.
Visiting the Hawthorns, United are able to boast six consecutive wins dating back to 1984.
West Brom, after a decent start to the season, are finding life tough in recent times having lost their last three league games. Clean sheets are also a rarity for West Brom with Di Matteo`s side having kept only one all season and his side have shipped thirty-four goals, the most in the Premier League
One away win in eight attempts is hardly title winning form but somehow, probably due to the ineptitude of the others around us, we`re still leading the pack. Looking at West Brom`s recent form, and their inability to keep a clean sheet, this, in our opinion, has a United win written all over it, three clear goals possibly!
Next up is our first home game of 2011 when Stoke City are the visitors to Old Trafford, followed by a monumental FA Cup 3rd round clash with Liverpool next weekend.
Date:Friday December 31 2010
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