After back to back defeats on the road against Chelsea and Everton it’s imperative that Manchester United get back to winning ways against West Brom at Old Trafford on Saturday. United need to get two wins from their remaining four games to secure Champions League football at Old Trafford next season. The two defeats at Chelsea and Everton have seen United dominating possession but failing to score in both games. Both Chelsea and Everton sat back and hit United on the break. Michael Carrick has been missing from both games and I feel these two games have shown how important he is to Manchester United at the moment. He is only midfielder who is defensively minded while he can also get United moving forward quickly with the defence splitting passes he can play. The build-up play in the two defeats to Chelsea and Everton was far to slow and they were able to get there shape and defend against United’s attacks.
The last time West Brom visited Old Trafford was in the first half of last season and West Brom came away with a 2-1 victory. That defeat for United was one of many disappointing results Manchester United suffered at home under David Moyes. Last season many teams came to Old Trafford believing they could get a result for the first time in many years. This season Louis Van Gaal has restored some of the fear factor for visiting teams back to Old Trafford. United have suffered two defeats at home to Swansea and Southampton and drawn with Chelsea and won the rest of the seventeen games they have played at Old Trafford so far this season.
This game will see Darren Fletcher returning to Old Trafford for the first time as a visiting player and sure everyone inside Old Trafford on Saturday will give him the reception he deserves. Fletcher’s contract at Old Trafford would have been up in the summer and he was struggling to get into Louis Van Gaal’s starting eleven. Therefore the club rightly granted him a free transfer in February to enable him to play regular games and continue his recovery from the terrible illness he has suffered. On joining West Brom Fletcher was immediately made captain by West Brom manager Tony Pulis. That shows the respect that Fletcher has in the game for him to made captain as soon he joined the club. Darren Fletcher is a very good player and even though his time at United didn’t finish as I’m sure he would have hoped, I’m sure he will have a good careers at West Brom and maybe one day return to Old Trafford in some capacity.
Manchester United have several injury concerns going into this match with Carrick, Jones and Rojo all missing the defeats to Chelsea and Everton through injury and Wayne Rooney limped off in the 88th minute due to a knee injury suffered just minutes before and has been a doubt for this game all week. Van Gaal confirmed in his pre match press conference this afternoon that Rooney has recovered from this knock and is fit to play against West Brom. As are Van Persie, who played 80 minutes for the under 21s in midweek and bagged himself two goals. Jones is also available to return for United. There was bad news for Luke Shaw and Jonny Evans, with both being unavailable for Van Gaal. Another blow for Shaw who just seems to suffered injury after injury in his first season at Old Trafford.
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