Predicted Manchester United XI to play West Bromwich Albion - Mata MUST play centrally!

Match to be played on Saturday 8th March 2014 at 12:45. Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich.

Manchester United travel to West Brom in this Saturday’s early kick-off and they cannot afford to lose any more ground in the race for a top four place.

This is the first game David Moyes’ men have had since the poor performance against Olympiakos in the Champions League, which saw the boss and his players blasted for their display.

A win for United would take them up a place on goal difference with Everton playing in the FA Cup. Here’s the side Moyes could go with.

GK – David De Gea

De Gea has been one of United’s more consistent players and he should be one of the first names down on the team sheet.

RB – Chris Smalling

Smalling will probably keep his place on the right hand side of defence. He’s arguably better through the middle but with Rafael injured, Moyes doesn’t have a choice.

CB – Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand didn’t play during the international break and he’s had time to recover from the game in Greece. He’ll slot into the middle of defence with Phil Jones and Jonny Evans absent.

CB – Nemanja Vidic

No turning back for Vidic in terms of his summer move to Inter Milan but United need him to carry on doing the business over the rest of the Premier League season.

LB – Patrice Evra

Evra was superb in France’s win against the Netherlands last night and he should keep his place. He’ll be important going forward and providing extra width.

RM – Antonio Valencia

Valencia injects pace into the team. He’s not a refined attacking player by any means but his pace can put West Brom’s defenders onto the back foot.

CM – Michael Carrick

Carrick needs to sit and make it difficult for the Baggies to move the ball around easily. United may need him to show a bit more aggression and grit than he displayed at Olympiakos if they start to take a lot of pressure.

CM – Juan Mata

Mata simply has to play in the middle of the team. If he’s put out on either wing again then it’ll be another example of wasted talent.

LM – Adnan Januzaj

Januzaj will be fresh and he needs to start because he’s one of the only United players who can make things happen out wide and cutting in centrally.

ST – Wayne Rooney

Rooney should play just in behind the main striker at the top of the attack. He can drop off into the midfield if United are under pressure and need an extra body.

ST – Robin Van Persie

Regardless of the stories surrounding Moyes and Van Persie, United need their Dutch forward to turn up and do the business. If they want to ace him in the summer then fine, but they need him over the last ten games.

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