Premier League Preview: West Brom vs. Manchester United

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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  • Baggies won fixture 1-0 last season
  • Man Utd leads all-time 54W-31D-43L
  • WBA just 4 pts back of United

West Brom looks to continue its run up the table when its hosts streaking Manchester United at the Hawthorns on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Chris Smalling is ready to return, while another Manchester United center back may not be far off.

United boss Jose Mourinho announced the good news on Friday, confirming that Eric Bailly’s injury is less severe than initial expectations. Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Bailly as absent from Saturday’s match at WBA.

Mourinho raised eyebrows on Friday when he praised British managers for their relegation-avoiding “trophies”, a genuine sentiment aimed at West Brom manager Tony Pulis and other PL bosses.

The manager added that this match would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s last before a week off.

What they’re saying

West Brom’s Pulis on hat trick hero Salomon Rondon: “Salomon feels more part of the group this year and his English is a lot better. He can concentrate more on his football. The group really like Salomon because of the effort he puts in. You have to drag him in from training every day.”

United’s Mourinho on January transfer window: “I am quiet and calm. We will see what happens. I would like to keep my squad the same but I never feel I stop people from feeling happier and getting a different direction for their careers. If that moment arrives in January we will have to react. But are we chasing someone for 1 January? Not at all.”

Prediction

Aside from a draw with Spurs, West Brom’s fine season does not include any wins over top sides. We don’t expect that to change, especially given United’s depth is better suited to handle three matches in a week. Manchester United, 2-0.

Follow @NicholasMendola