On Saturday Manchester United welcome West Bromwich Albion to Old Trafford in an unusual 3pm kick off. The visitors have made their best start to a Premier League season (11 points from 7 games) and currently find themselves sitting pretty in sixth position. The Baggies are likely to be full of confidence after their recent victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and will be looking for a repeat result against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
Rather than I discuss West Brom you can read the thoughts of Iain, the author of West Bromwich Albion Mad in the Stretford End Arising feature ‘Other Side Of Coin’ here: Other Side Of Coin: Baggies Fan On Di Matteo Plus Much More
Patrice Evra replacing John O’Shea is the only likely change from the backline that started against Sunderland. Hopefully the International break has allowed Evra to recuperate and we’ll see the best of the Frenchman now on. Considering Rio Ferdinand played on Tuesday for England, there is perhaps a claim for Jonny Evans or Chris Smalling to start alongside Nemanja Vidic? Ferdinand should be okay; little was asked of him against Montenegro – the match was basically a stroll for him. If Sir Alex believes otherwise, who do we prefer – Evans or Smalling? Although less convincing so far, I’d like to think Evans has earned the right for a recall taking into account past performances.
In central midfield Paul Scholes is a cert to start, but who will be his central midfield partner? Darren Fletcher has yet to reach peak form (compared to last season) and his involvement with Scotland may allow Michael Carrick to make his first Premier League start of the season. A Scholes & Anderson partnership? I’m not sure these two are an ideal pairing..?
The left wing spot could become a continuous discussion point throughout the course of the season. Ji-Sung Park, Gabriel Obertan and Bébé are the obvious options. Regular readers of my blog will know my personal preference is Obertan, the attacking option – ahead of Park. However, since his return from injury the Frenchman has failed to spark, which has seen the much maligned Bebe leapfrog the former Bordeaux man. Is Bébé about to receive his first Man United start? What about Anderson on the left? Personally, I’m not a fan of the idea. He will naturally drift into a central position leading to a lack width on the left. We may see a repeat of Sunderland where the formation was best described as a mess.
Does Wayne Rooney start? We all know Rooney is struggling, but what is the best course of action – persevere in the hope football is a release or take him out of the firing line? His comments regarding his non injury are barely worth discussing – in a quiet news week the media have made a mountain out of a mole hill. Though, I was a tad disappointed he contradicted Sir Alex in public. The great man was only trying to protect his striker. Perhaps Rooney is the real reason why Sir Alex decided on a self imposed media ban? Rooney starts for me. If not Rooney, Hernandez appears to be the likely option – his confidence will be high after his goals against Valencia and Venezuela.
Preferred team: Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Obertan; Rooney, Berbatov
Match Prediction: I’m expecting a tough, open, entertaining game. I think we’ll run out 3-0 winners, goals from Berbatov and Rooney (2).
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