Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion: Five players under the spotlight

Manchester United will look to bounce back after a disastrous defeat at rivals City last weekend.

David Moyes will be looking for his side to build some momentum after a good win against Liverpool in the League cup.

West Brom will have to recover quickly after their cup-tie went to penalties, they’ll have to be on top of their game if they want to come away from Old Trafford with anything.

Steve Clarke will know his side have the players to hurt Manchester United and the defence will be low on confidence after the heavy 4-1 defeat last Sunday.

I’m expecting a close game but I think the home side will have too much for the Baggies. It looks like it will be a confidence-boosting win for the Champions.

Odds: Manchester United 13/10, Draw 19/4, West Bromwich Albion 11/1

Last meeting:

West Brom 5 – 5 Manchester United – May 19th 2013, The Hawthorns

A quite extraordinary game to mark Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match in charge of Manchester United. United led 3-1 and 5-2 before West Brom pegged them back and grabbed an unlikely point. On loan Romelu Lukaku got a hat trick and both sets of fans will be remembering this game for a long time to come.

It was Ferguson’s 1500th game in charge of United but he was denied a farewell victory by Steve Clarke’s side. I doubt that many games would live up to that in terms of excitement.

Five players to watch on Saturday:

Shinji Kagawa

The mystery over his absence seems to be over at Manchester United, Kagawa started the Capital One Cup 3rd round win against Liverpool on Wednesday night. Manager David Moyes will surely persist with starting the Japanese midfielder from now on; his influence along with Wayne Rooney will be key if Manchester United are to get on good run of form.

Wayne Rooney

After looking like he would leave the club over the summer to being an integral part of their team, it has been an interesting few months for the England international. Manchester United might not be playing well at the moment but Rooney has been the one bright spot. They will need him to be good again with uncertainty with Robin van Persie’s fitness.

Stephane Sessegnon

Sessegnon proved his old manager Paolo Di Canio wrong by scoring on his debut for West Brom against Sunderland. His creativity will be so important to the Baggies when they travel to Old Trafford. He has the ability to set up chances for Nicolas Anelka and Victor Anichebe, this could be vital if they are to take anything from the game.

Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand didn’t exactly cover himself in glory during the 4-1 defeat at the Etihad on Sunday and he will be looking to bounce back with a better performance on Saturday against West Brom. The entire defence struggled and he will try and get the back on track, a clean sheet would calm a few nerves in the back five.

Robin van Persie

van Persie’s absence on Sunday was quite telling for Manchester United and they will need him back sooner rather than later from a thigh injury. The Dutchman will have a fitness test before the game to see if he is ready to start, if he doesn’t make it then United will have to get through another game without their top scorer from last season.

image: © Paolo Camera

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