The Red’s travel to the Hawthorns on Monday night to face a West Brom side who have won two out of their last three league games. United will be looking to make it three Premier league victories in a row after tight victories over Everton and West Ham’s in the last two encounters. Last season United cruised to a 3-0 win in the same fixture and who could forget that famous 5-5 result the season beforehand to mark Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge.
The good news for Van Gaal is that the injury crisis is easing with the injury list down to just four players including the impressive Paddy McNair along with Antonio Valencia, Jesse Lingard and Jonny Evans. The boss has confirmed that Michael Carrick has returned to full training although Monday could come too soon, but both Ander Herrera and Phil Jones should be available for selection. Wayne Rooney will sit out his second match with suspension and with all this considered this is how United could take to the field tomorrow:
David De Gea is an absolute certainty to start. The Spaniard pulled off a man of the match performance in the Red’s last encounter against Everton to help secure all three points, including one penalty save and putting in two contenders for save of the season.
United are still looking leaky at the back and have David De Gea to thank for the three points against Everton. New signing Marcos Rojo has been impressive in a red shirt so far however though and he will be a guaranteed starter in the heart of United’s defence tomorrow. I then expect Phil Jones to come back into the side and partner the Argentine with youngster Paddy McNair now set for a brief spell on the sidelines.
At right-back I see no reason why Rafael won’t continue after several impressive performances of late and Luke Shaw should continue at left-back as despite limping off against Everton he featured for the England U21’s in the International break as they secured a place in next summers European Championship’s in the Czech Republic.
United’s midfield area is looking a lot stronger now with the return of Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick. Daley Blind will be confident of starting again in the middle of United’s engine room, the Dutchman has looked an astute signing so far by Louis Van Gaal and could play a vital role tomorrow. Ander Herrera should also hopefully be fit enough to feature again tomorrow, the ex-Athletic Bilbao man’s energy and high tempo game has been a breath of fresh air in the United midfield this season.
Forming the other part of the diamond there is one man who is an absolute guaranteed starter and his name is Angel Di Maria. With three assists and three goals in a red shirt so far his performance could be vital again tomorrow in helping United secure their first away win of the season. Then with Wayne Rooney still out suspended, Juan Mata will have another opportunity to impress as the Spaniard will spearhead the diamond.
Radamel Falcao got his much coveted first United goal in the victory against Everton and with two further weeks to improve on his fitness the opposition have every reason to be worried about the threat of the Columbian tomorrow night. Robin Van Persie will also start up top at The Hawthorn’s and is likely to captain the side again in Wayne Rooney’s absence. United’s number twenty will be looking to build on his two goals netted so far this campaign.
Predicted Starting XI (4-1-2-1-2):
(1) De Gea;
(2) Rafael, (4) Jones, (5) Rojo, (3) Shaw,
(21) Herrera, (7) Di Maria;
(9) Falcao, (20) Van Persie.