October 14, 2010

West Brom Preview: Just Bag A Win

After yet another two week lay-off for internationals matches, Manchester United is finally back in action as they take on West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in the Barclays Premier League.

United has had two weeks to ponder their nil-nil draw against Sunderland, so the players should be very eager to make amends for that disappointing performance.

Coupled with United's skeptical balance in their performances, and their own impressive form, West Brom will be full of confidence of getting a positive result from this match, which is something a newly-promoted team should never be thinking going to Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men are perfect at home this season, and have scored nine goals from their first three matches at Old Trafford, and have only giving up two goals - both in 3-2 win over Liverpool.

Despite their early season woes, United is currently in third place in the Premier League table - behind Chelsea and Manchester City - on 13 points, but, surprisingly, West Brom is only two points back of them sitting in sixth place.

Despite being predicted to go straight back down to the npower Championship, The Baggies have done quite well this season despite opening with a 6-0 loss to the league leaders, Chelsea.

What is so impressive is that the Baggies are level on points with both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, because they have taken an astonishing four points from their two early season matches with the North London rivals.

They have also shocked City by dumping them out of the Carling Cup, so they are a formidable side under second-year manager, Roberto Di Matteo.

The former Chelsea star has enjoyed a successful start to his young managerial career and led West Brom to a second-placed finish and automatic promotion last year.

Despite being Italian, Di Matteo plays the sport the way it is supposed to be played - positive and attack-minded - which does not change against the bigger clubs in the league, either.

The thrashing The Baggies received on the opening day of the season is proving to be a lesson learned, because they have only given up six goals in as many games since then.

The reason for the tightening of the defense is because Di Matteo opted to bring in two new defensive players to line-up along side Gonzalo Jara and Jonas Olsson to solidified his back-four.

Olsson and Gabriel Tamas (AJ Auxerre) have struck a good central defensive partnership, which Sir Alex, himself, says is the foundation to any team, and Di Matteo signed Nickey Shorey from Aston Villa to operate as his left-back.

Peter Odemwingie has been a revelation and will surely give both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand a torrid time with his electrifying pace.

The Nigerian international arrived from Lokomotiv Moscow and he has definitely enjoyed a fruitful start to his life in the Premier League by scoring three goals and registering two assists.

Besides the above mentioned players, Di Matteo brought in Boaz Myhill from Hull City to provide cover and ultimately challenge his captain, Scott Carson, to be the number one goalkeeper at the West Brom.

Paul Scharner (unattached / Wigan Athletic), Pablo Ibañez (Atlético Madrid), Steven Reid (Blackburn Rovers), Somen Tchoyi (SV Salzburg) and Marc-Antoine Fortune (Celtic) were the rest of his summer signings.

The news surrounding United's injury-front seems to be getting better and better as Wayne Rooney has recovered from his apparent ankle injury, and Owen Hargreaves has been rumored to be returning to the first-team as well.

The return of both players will give Sir Alex a welcomed headache, but Rooney has recently stated that he did not have an injury, which is creating a bit of a stir with the press.

Hargreaves, though, has only played 30 seconds in the last two plus years for United, and it seems to be his last chance to overcome his nagging knee injuries.

Manchester United need to start firing on all cylinders and there is no better way than to start at home against West Bromwich Albion, because the Red Devils are approaching a very busy stretch of matches, which can make or break their aspirations for they 2010/11 season.

Out: A. Valencia (leg); Doubtful: R. Giggs (hamstring), O. Hargreaves (knee), G. Obertan (ankle); Probable: W. Rooney (ankle)

E. van der Sar; J. O'Shea, R. Ferdinand, N. Vidic, P. Evra; P. Scholes, D. Fletcher, M. Carrick, Nani; D. Berbatov, W. Rooney

Manchester United 2, West Bromwich Albion 1

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