Man Utd Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs West Bromwich Albion

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Everything you need to know ahead of the Red Devils’ Premier League clash at Old Trafford on Saturday

Manchester United’s season reaches its final furlong on Saturday when Tony Pulis brings his West Bromwich Albion side to Old Trafford, yet the prospect of 16 more games in the last seven-and-a-half weeks of the campaign means that Jose Mourinho’s men still have a hell of a lot of work to do before their summer break.

With a Champions League spot still up for grabs in both the Premier League top-four race and the Europa League, in which United have progressed to the quarter-final stage, the final verdict on their season is still far from being reached. They may well have already secured a Community Shield and EFL Cup double, but the lack of Champions League football for a third time in four years would mark the 2016-17 campaign down as another failure.

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Saturday gives United the chance to set the tone for the rest of the season, with a victory propelling them ever-closer to the pack at the top of the league 24 hours ahead of a clash between Arsenal and Manchester City which will hand a setback to at least one of United’s rivals for the top four positions.


MAN UTD INJURIES


Paul Pogba’s continued absence with a hamstring injury would have been worrisome enough for Jose Mourinho ahead of Saturday’s game, but the international break has piled on further complications.

Wayne Rooney might be expected to return to the squad after recovering from a knee injury sustained in a training-ground collision with Phil Jones, but Jones himself is now expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a foot injury in England training at the hands of another United team-mate, Chris Smalling.

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And the domino-effect of injuries doesn’t stop there, with Smalling also ruled out for the foreseeable future due to a knee injury which curtailed his spell with England. Add in a toe injury for Marouane Fellaini picked up playing for Belgium against Greece and there are a series of headaches for Mourinho to contend with over a crucial period of the season.

Henikh Mkhitaryan, though, is expected to return to action after sitting out the victory over Middlesbrough due to a slight fatigue injury which ruled him out of the match, even if he was still named among the substitutes with Mourinho short on numbers.

HD Phil Jones Manchester United


MAN UTD SUSPENSIONS


Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s elbow on Tyrone Mings against Bournemouth continues to prove costly, with the Swede ruled out for a third domestic game on Saturday as a result of his revenge mission on the Cherries defender.

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Meanwhile, Ander Herrera sits out the second and final game of his suspension following his first-half dismissal in the FA Cup quarter-final loss to Chelsea three weeks ago.

West Brom have a clean disciplinary record of late, leaving Tony Pulis free to choose from all of his fit players for the trip to M16.


MAN UTD POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP


Where to start with United’s potential line-up for Saturday? The injuries to Smalling and Jones leave Mourinho with far fewer options at the back, meaning the experiment with a back three may have to be curtailed for now. Elsewhere, the Portuguese manager will be hoping for Fellaini to overcome his toe problem in time to join Michael Carrick at the heart of midfield, since he has few other bodies available in the engine room.

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If the Belgian doesn’t make it, there are other options open to Mourinho. He could use Timo Fosu-Mensah alongside Carrick, since it is a position he played numerous times at youth level, and the Dutch youngster has even insisted before that it remains his favoured spot. There could also be a recall for Rooney, whether that be deep alongside Carrick or slightly higher up in a re-shaped 4-1-4-1 formation.

In the higher midfield line, it appears to be a shoot-out between Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard for a start on the right. Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial are highly likely to start in the other two attacking positions behind Marcus Rashford.

Man Utd poss XI


WEST BROM TEAM NEWS


Tony Pulis has rarely managed to give any of his teams such a buffer as the one enjoyed by West Brom right now. Having already racked up 43 points, the Baggies are well ahead of the relegation mire and have little to play for but a higher league position heading into the final stretch.

Their successes this season have been based on a stubborn defence, while the goal-scoring input of their raft of excellent midfielders has helped to support Salomon Rondon in attack. Remarkably, defenders Gareth McAuley and Craig Dawson are among a list of seven West Brom players to have scored three or more league goals so far this season, which compares well to United’s tally of six men with similar records.

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One of those seven, Matty Phillips, continues to be unavailable to Pulis though. He hasn’t featured since the 2-2 draw at West Ham in early February due to a calf injury and is not expected to return in time for the Old Trafford trip.

United have good memories of the Baggies from earlier in the season, with the 2-0 win at the Hawthorns in December representing one of their more professional and convincing performances under Mourinho.

Gareth McAuley West Brom


BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS


  • Manchester United have lost two of their last three home Premier League games against West Brom (W1), this after being unbeaten in the previous seven.

  • Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals and assisted five more in his last 10 Premier League appearances against West Bromwich Albion.

  • Manchester United have scored with just 9.1% of their shots in the Premier League this season; their lowest shot conversion ratio in the competition in a single season since 2005-06 (8.2%).

  • The Red Devils have already had 33 more shots (463) and 26 more shots on target (170) this Premier League season than they did in the whole 2015-16 under Louis van Gaal.

  • West Bromwich Albion have outrun their opponents in a league-high 93% of their matches in the Premier League this season (27/29), including the last 19 games in a row.

  • On the other hand, Manchester United have been outrun by their opponents in all but three of their 27 Premier League matches this season – the worst record by a Premier League side in 2016-17.


TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME


For only the fourth time this season, United play a home game at 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon. This means there is no live national television coverage of the game under the protective restrictions placed in law. Mike Dean takes charge of a United fixture for the first time since refereeing the 2-0 win at West Ham which kicked off 2017.

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