The vultures were circling around Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United before their trip to Everton, but they managed to pull a result out of the fire and Solskjaer needs that game to be a line in the sand.
United are yet to win a Premier League game at Old Trafford this season, failing to score against Chelsea and Arsenal, and they will not get many more presentable chances than a fixture against West Bromwich Albion. Slaven Bilic’s team have scored one goal in their last five league games, have the lowest expected goals tally in the league and the second-highest expected goals conceded total. Not the ideal combination, then.
Solskjaer is hopeful of having Marcus Rashford fit despite reports of a shoulder injury troubling him. Alex Telles could be available, but Victor Lindelof’s ongoing back problem and Mason Greenwood’s recent illness puts their involvement in doubt. All eyes will be on what Solskjaer does in central midfield, with Paul Pogba and Donny van De Beek struggling to nail down regular spots. A brief flirtation with a midfield diamond looks to have been abandoned.
West Brom have some Covid-19 absences to contend with, including their key creative outlet last season Matheus Pereira. Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement though, West Brom have recorded three wins at Old Trafford.
“As a club, recently, we’ve been doing really good at Old Trafford.” Bilic said. “Last four or five times. I have a pretty good record, considering it’s Man United, with West Ham.
“Every game is difficult, especially for us because we’re newcomers. But this is still Man United away. If you see their roster, it’s massive.
“It’s also a big opportunity for us, but first we have to do what we did against Spurs and against a few others – to make it hard, to try and penetrate, to keep the ball, to be resilient, to have numbers behind the ball when needed and to keep them far from our box.
“That’s our plan, whoever we play against. We know what they have in their locker. We know they have pace, quality, they can score from midfield.
“We have to be on top of our game, but we’re ready.”
Team news on the way shortly.