Premier League: West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United Preview and Team News
Roberto Di Matteo is confident his West Brom team’s fearless approach will get some reward against unbeaten Premier League leaders, Manchester United when they meet on News Year Day at the Hawthorns.
It’s been an unpredictable season all round and typified by this newly promoted West Brom side whose attacking philosophy has garnered an away win against Arsenal and it is are the only Premier League side to leave Old Trafford with a point this season.
Di Matteo said: “Any time you play Manchester United is difficult because they have such great players, Saturday will be no different.
“But we want to give United a hard time on Saturday. We play with no fear against everybody, that’s our strength.”
While West Brom have lost their last three games, the Baggies boss remains undaunted by the visit of in-form Dimitar Berbatov and the rejuvenated Wayne Rooney who have got United firing on all cylinders again.
“We will be under pressure and will need to defend well. But we’re confident we can come out with something positive from the game,” he added.
West Brom’s defensive headaches continue with Paul Scharner unlikely to feature due to illness. Gonzalo Jara and Gabriel Tamas are suspended, leaving Di Matteo having to manage with an unsettled back four.
Chris Brunt returns from his one-match ban and it’s hoped the dangerous Ulsterman can shine among the United stars along with 6-goal striker Peter Odemwingie who bagged a brace in West Brom’s last victory against Newcastle United.
Sir Alex has said he wants United in top spot at the start of the New Year, with neighbours City level on points and playing at home on Saturday, he will be looking to take three points against West Brom.
United haven’t enjoyed much success in the Birmingham area this season, managing draws at Villa Park and St Andrews while he won’t forgot the Baggies remarkable late fight back to get a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.
Ferguson made only one change in the last game against Birmingham with Park Ji-sung leaving for the Asian Cup, Darron Gibson was called into midfield action.
He could well consider freshening things up a little, Darren Fletcher may start having appeared as substitute on Tuesday although he must wait if see if Nani is fully recovered from the hip problem that has kept him out of the last two games.
Match odds for the game:
6/1 West Brom with Betfred
10/3 Draw with Victor Chandler
4/7 Man Utd with Stan James