Manchester United will look to trim the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City back down to five points this afternoon when they take on Wes
Manchester United will look to trim the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City back down to five points this afternoon when they take on West Brom at the Hawthorns (2pm kick-off). City’s 3-0 win over Tottenham last night moved them eight points clear at the summit. Express Sport looks at the line-up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could name against the Baggies.
Goalkeeper: De Gea
Dean Henderson impressed in midweek in the FA Cup win over West Ham, at a time when first-choice goalkeeper De Gea is struggling.
But Solskjaer should keep the faith with the Spaniard a little longer given he has missed only been dropped without injury for one Premier League match this season, the win away at Sheffield United.
Solskjaer did tell the media coming into this game though: “I’m in a very fortunate position to have the goalkeeper department that I have – and it was a conscious decision to bring Dean back to have real competition.
“Dean has made it harder and harder for me of course to leave him out because whenever he plays he does really well. It’s about what you give to the team, here and now.
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“I think the whole squad knows they have to perform to be in the team. We have, I would say, at least two players in every position who would feel ‘I am a first choice’.
“The keeper position is no different to the right-back, left-back or centre-forward position. It’s about your performances and what you give to the team.”
Defence: Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw
United welcome Eric Bailly back to the fold and the Ivorian is expected to displace Victor Lindelof at the heart of the defence.
Bailly has not played since the victory at Fulham last month but returned to training earlier this week and should be involved.
Solskjaer confirmed: “Eric is available. He has trained for a couple of days so he’ll be available for selection. So that’s a positive.”
Bailly could therefore partner captain Harry Maguire while Luke Shaw should replace Alex Telles at left-back after dropping to the bench in midweek in the cup.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his spot at right-back having directly contributed to two goals in United’s last two league games.
Midfield: Fred, McTominay
Paul Pogba remains sidelined and Donny van de Beek failed to take his chance to impress against West Ham, so United’s midfield two almost picks itself.
Fred played 120 minutes against the Hammers but should be asked to go again having been taken off after 50 minutes of the draw with Everton a week ago.
Academy graduate McTominay has turned into a goal-getter of late and scored his third goal in his last three outings with the winner in the FA Cup.
Given that the Scot only came off the bench late on in normal time, he should be fine to return to the starting eleven here and will hope to maintain his fine goalscoring form.
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Attack: Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani
Mason Greenwood has completed the full 90 minutes in United’s last two league games and also played 86 minutes against West Ham but looks likely to be the main option on the right-hand side against West Brom.
Marcus Rashford has been directly involved in five goals in his last six matches and will play on the left.
Bruno Fernandes was benched against West Ham to allow Van de Beek some minutes but the Portuguese, United’s talismanic attacker, will reprise his position in the No 10 role in West Bromwich.
United have looked better as an attacking unit with Edinson Cavani leading the line over Anthony Martial and the Uruguayan has scored in both of his last two starts.
While Martial netted twice off the bench in the hammering of Southampton, he was an unused substitute in the 3-3 draw with Everton more recently.
Cavani only came off the bench for a half-an-hour cameo in the cup and will be backed to provide a focal point against a Baggies team who will hope to dig in and hit United on the counter or at set-pieces.
Cavani leading the line would complete six changes from the victory over West Ham and would represent two changes from the clash with Everton – Bailly replacing Lindelof and Fred coming in for Pogba.
Predicted Man Utd XI vs West Brom: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani