Stephane Sessegnon

Premier League Preview: Manchester United v. West Brom

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• West Brom’s win at Old Trafford last season is their only victory in the last 21 league meetings (D4, L16).

• Wayne Rooney has scored 15 goals in his last 16 Premier League appearances at Old Trafford, compared to one in 17 away from home.

• The Baggies could win back-to-back Premier League away games for the first time since November 2012. (BBC Sport)

Despite being in fourth place, seven points ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham, the Red Devils find themselves in an unfamiliar position with two straight losses.

Last week, it was an inspired Everton side that burst out to a 2-0 lead before the half and then added one more in a 3-0 victory, a result Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could’ve predicted due to weak warm-ups.

The prior week, Chelsea beat United in a close match, 1-0, but one where Jose Mourinho and the soon-to-be champions had the upper hand.

[RELATED: Preview of Liverpool-QPR]

While these negative outcomes signal a tough conclusion to the year for United, four league games still exist, including a fixture against West Brom on Saturday at 12:30 PM ET, set for viewing on NBC Sports Live Extra and CNBC.

The Baggies are sitting at 13th place and are seven points away from the final relegation spot which Sunderland occupies. They have won two of their last eight contests, with their recent 0-0 draw to Liverpool signifying life at the Hawthorns.

Albion last played United in October 2014 and stayed on level terms by answering the goal of Marouane Fellaini after Stephane Sessegnon scored the opener.

Now, the stakes are higher as WBA looks to ascend the Premier League ranks further, while Van Gaal is aiming for the most respectable finish possible and a return to Champions League action.

What they’re saying

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal on transition to next season (The Guardian): “We need balance in our selection. I have said this many times. I cannot deny that we need balance. I think also the preparation of our season, Manchester United has already adapted to a better preparation….We shall have two bases in the US so we are not flying between matches, we are going via bus which is better. They have adapted to my criteria so we shall have a better preparation.”

West Brom boss Tony Pulis on avoiding relegation (Birmingham Mail): “The thing with this league is that nobody packs it in, everybody keeps going. I’m sure Sean Dyche will be saying that to the lads at Burnley and Chris Ramsey will be saying that to the lads at QPR…While there’s that chance it is that spirit and commitment that this country is renowned for when you are up against it…Nobody gives in.”

Match injuries/absences

Captain Wayne Rooney, although his attendance used to be in question, is ready to go following a knee problem sustained during the loss to Everton. Michael Carrick is still out with a calf injury, and Luke Shaw’s groin ailment is keeping him off the pitch. Defender Jonny Evans will also abstain from play due to sciatic nerve trouble.

On the other side, West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu will be back from suspension, and loanee from Anfield Andre Wisdom can now take the field, not the case when the Baggies faced his actual club.

Prediction

United’s form should be a lot better at the moment considering the squad is hoping for a top-three finish. WBA will put out a good effort, but the Red Devils will step up when it matters. Manchester United 3-1 West Brom.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. West Bromwich Albion (Lineups and Live Stream)

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It’s Pulis vs. Palace, and Tony’s West Brom side has received a big boost in the health of forward Brown Ideye (Watch at 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

A dip in form has sunk the Baggies back into the relegation mix, but Ideye’s return to join Stephane Sessegnon in the attack is a good thing for Pulis.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace has been humming, with Yannick Bolasie coming off a hat trick for the Eagles.

WATCH AT 10 A.M. ET ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Ledley; Bolasie, Jedinak, McArthur, Zaha; Puncheon; Murray. Subs: Hennessey, Hangeland, Kelly, Souare, Ameobi, Gayle, Sanogo.

West Bromwich Albion: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Lescott, Brunt, Gardner, Fletcher, Yacob, Morrison, Berahino, Anichebe. Subs: Rose, Wisdom, Olsson, Baird, McManaman, Sessegnon, Ideye.

Watch Live: Manchester City vs. West Bromwich Albion (Lineups and Live Stream)

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Swooning Manchester City needs a win at home against West Bromwich Albion to ensure its second-place Premier League status for at least another week (Watch live at 8:45 a.m.ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

City has lost 2 of 3 in the Premier League, the lone win coming against last-place Leicester City, and bowed out of the UEFA Champions League to a dominant Barcelona side at midweek.

Boaz Myhill is between the sticks for the Baggies with Ben Foster out. Injured Brown Ideye also will not be a part of West Brom attack. Saido Berahino gets the start up-top, and Stephane Sessegnon also gets a run for Tony Pulis’ side.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

Wilfried Bony gets a start for City, with Frank Lampard and Eliaquim Mangala also changes from the midweek set-up.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy, Navas, Fernando, Lampard, Silva, Bony, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Demichelis, Milner, Fernandinho, Jovetic, Dzeko.

West Bromwich Albion: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Lescott, Baird, Morrison, Gardner, Fletcher, Sessegnon, Berahino. Subs: Rose, Wisdom, Davidson, Pocognoli, Mulumbu, Nabi, Anichebe.

Premier League 2014-15 preview: West Bromwich Albion

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New new new new new.

There’s tons of new players and a new manager for West Brom as they look to improve on last year’s near-miss at the bottom of the table.

Things are looking bleak for the Baggies, and while there’s plenty in the mix that could surprise the Premier League, but chances are the ingredients aren’t going to bake a tasty cake.

Instead, the chances are likely to have West Brom near the bottom of the table again, for the same general reasons, although the personnel may be different.

[Related: Full PL season preview]

Transfers in: Craig Gardner (Sunderland), Jolean Lescott (Manchester City), Chris Baird (Burnley), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hannover), Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev), Andrew Wisdom (Liverpool – loan).

Transfers out: Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers), Billy Jones (Sunderland), Steven Reid (Burnley), Cameron Gayle (Shrewsbury Town), George Thorne (Derby County), Diego Lugano (unattached), Zoltan Gera (unattached), Nicolas Anelka (unattached), Scott Allen (unattached).

Full PL schedule | Watch West Brom live via Live Extra | BPL on NBC schedule |

Last season: West Brom struggled down the stretch, saving their Premier League status by the hair on their chinny chin chin. Three points separated the Baggies from the Championship.  They went through two managers last year, parting ways with both Steve Clarke and Pepe Mel, with Keith Downing in between.  They looked toothless going forward – their leading scorer had just five goals – and struggled to stay consistently competitive.

Star Player: Stephane Sessegnon

Joint leading scorer in last year’s struggle of a season, Sessegnon is an above-average player on a below-average squad. That’s about all West Brom has at this point. They dumped full-season fixtures like Diego Lugano and Zoltan Gera in the offseason, and added squad players like Jolean Lescott, Chris Baird, and an expensive left-back. Sessegnon is the creative “force” up front, and that will have to do for the Baggies.

Coach’s Corner: Alan Irvine

A surprise appointment to say the least, Irvine’s former jobs include the manager at Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday and Everton’s youth system. Wednesday was relegated to League One under his watch, and and didn’t make it past February in the lower division.

The club reportedly asked Tim Sherwood to take the job but he turned it down, leading many to believe the job was an undesirable one. The club insisted Irvine was their first choice, but that’s just plain hard to believe. The 56-year-old is very green, and it will be interesting to see how he handles a Premier League job, and likely a relegation battle.

PST Predicts: As you probably guessed, West Brom fans are in for a nervy campaign.  Like Fulham before them, West Brom brought in a number of free transfers and aging players, and don’t have a large amount of cohesiveness preserved from last year. A new manager as well, things are looking to be a recipe for disaster.  With both Robbies on NBC’s Premier League preview show predicting West Brom to go down, it’s a likely bet.

Premier League Roundup: Man City clinch title, Chelsea, Liverpool win

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What. A. Finish.

The ribbons have been neatly tied on the 2013-14 Premier League season and a huge congratulations goes to Manchester City for clinching the title.

By beating West Ham on the final day Manuel Pellegrini’s side sauntered to their second PL title in three years, as Liverpool came up short in second place despite beating Newcastle on the final day at Anfield.

MORE: Final Premier League standings

Elsewhere Chelsea finished third, as they fought back to beat Cardiff City, while Manchester United drew 1-1 away at Southampton, Everton ended their season on high by beating Hull City, Arsenal won away at Norwich and Tottenham hammered Aston Villa at home. Plus plenty more happened during a hectic finale to a stunning season.

In case you missed any of the action from a extremely busy Championship Sunday which saw all 10 PL games kick off at the same time, we’ve got you covered here at PST.

Below we have recaps, analysis and videos on every single PL game.

Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea

Craig Bellamy’s deflected effort put Cardiff 1-0 up early in the first half and they held that lead until 20 minutes from time when Andre Schurrle tidied up to equalize. Moments later Fernando Torres bagged the winner as Chelsea finished third and were four points off the top. As for Cardiff, they finished rock bottom of the PL.

Hull City 0-2 Everton

James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku scored in either half as the Toffees finished in style, and in fifth spot, as Roberto Martinez’s men grabbed a record points tally in the PL. Everton were extremely dominant in this one as Hull had one eye on next Saturday’s FA Cup final. It has been a shocking finish to the season for the Tigers but they don’t care because they achieved their aim of staying in the PL. As for Everton, a terrific season which they will hope to build on.

Fulham 2-2 Crystal Palace

Two youngsters scored for Fulham as Cauley Woodrow and Chris David gave a glimpse of the future at Craven Cottage. Crystal Palace led twice through a Dwight Gayle double but David scored a late equalizer to finish Fulham’s season off positively. Palace finished in 11th place, while Fulham finished in 19th and four points from safety as they were relegated from the PL.

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle United

The Reds came up short as they finished second in the PL, just two points behind champions Man City. On Sunday they went behind to Newcastle as Martin Skrtel scored a record-breaking fourth own goal of the season. However the Reds weren’t to see their sensational season finish with a whimper, as two quick-fire goals from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge turned the game on its head. Newcastle finished with nine-men as Shola Ameobia and Paul Dummett were both sent off, the Magpies finished in ninth.

Norwich City 0-2 Arsenal

Two second half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson saw the Gunners ease to victory and Norwich relegated. Arsenal go into the FA Cup final against Hull next weekend in fine form after winning five-straight to finish the season. As for the Canaries, their three-year stay in the top flight is over and all is not well at Carrow Road.

Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United

Manuel Pellegrini’s side eased to the PL title as they only need a point against the Hammers… but took all three. Samir Nasri banged one in off the post just before half time then Vincent Kompany thumped home another just after the break as the party started early at the Etihad. 102 goals this season for the Citizens, as City turned on the style as they peaked at the right time. West Ham finished the season in 13th place as mystery still shrouds Sam Allardyce’s future.

Southampton 1-1 Manchester United

Saints went ahead early on through Rickie Lambert’s cool finish in front of England manager Roy Hodgson and the home side tore United apart in the first half. After the interval Ryan Giggs’s side were much better and Juan Mata curled in a wonderful free kick to level things up. Overall a draw was a fair result as Saints finished in their highest ever PL position of eighth, while United finished seventh and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1990. The Red Devils’ nightmare season is over.

Sunderland 1-3 Swansea

Two early goals from Nathan Dyer and Marvin Emnes put the Swans in a commanding position at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland fought back as Fabio Borini made it 2-1 however soon after Swansea’s leading scorer Wilfried Bony made it 3-1 and that was how it would finish. Swans finished the season in 12th, Sunderland in 14th after their ‘Great Escape.’

Tottenham 3-0 Aston Villa

Tim Sherwood’s time in charge of Spurs may well be up but he’s done a superb job. Tottenham will play in the Europa League next year after battering Aston Villa at White Hart Lane. Paulinho opened the scoring, then there was an own goal from Nathan Baker before Emmanuel Adebayor made it 3-0 from the penalty spot before the break. Spurs finish sixth, while Villa finished 15th and five points above the bottom three.

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Stoke City

What a season for the Potters who finished ninth after winning six of their last 10 matches. They went ahead after Gareth McAuley scored an own goal but Stephane Sessegnon equalized as the Baggies looked to have secured their 17th draw of the season. However Charlie Adam scored a late winner to give Mark Hughes’ team their first-ever top 10 finish in the PL. West Brom finished one place above the relagtion zone and Spanish boss Pepe Mel could well be on his way this summer.