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  • 16 October 2010
  • • 15:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Jones
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Manchester United - West Bromwich Albion Preview: Wayne Rooney returns as Owen Hargreaves’ comeback is put on hold

Manchester United - West Bromwich Albion Preview: Wayne Rooney returns as Owen Hargreaves’ comeback is put on hold

TEAM NEWS

Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to welcome back veteran duo Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes to the fold after they shook off injuries.

Wayne Rooney's declaration of match fitness should see him selected to start unless the fall out from the revelation extends to the team sheet.

News of knee pain for Park Ji-Sung on international duty could see the South Korean miss the cut. Owen Hargreaves' long-awaited return is still on hold after it was confirmed he has missed training this week.

Possible starting XI: Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Anderson, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney
.

West Bromwich Albion

Roberto Di Matteo will have his fingers crossed that top scorer Peter Odemwingie can declare himself fit after he picked up a knee injury. Reserve striker Ishmael Miller faces a race against time to be on standby to deputise with a thigh strain.

Youngster Joe Mattock could also return to the first team fold after an extended spell on the treatment table with the same injury.

Slovakia international Marek Cech is unavailable with a damaged ankle.

Possible starting XI: Carson; Jara, Olsson, Pablo, Shorey; Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Dorrans, Morrison; Odemwingie
.

Home comforts


Manchester United are looking to get back on the Premier League pace after the disappointing 0-0 draw with Sunderland before the international break.

The stalemate at the Stadium of Light left the club in third place in the table, five points behind leaders Chelsea and one place behind bitter rivals Manchester City.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson comes into tomorrow's West Bromwich Albion clash with the media glare centred on his reportedly fractious relationship with Wayne Rooney. The intrigue from the out of form striker's contradictory statements about an ankle injury will only be defused by a flurry of goals.

United's perfect home record will be expected to be extended against West Bromwich Albion. Another setback would see Chelsea disappear further into the horizon.

Buoyant Baggies

West Brom have shot to sixth place in the standings and are in no mood to be cowed into submission.

The 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers a fortnight ago has seen Roberto Di Matteo enjoy a stunning introduction to top flight management. Expected to be headed straight back to the Championship, the Baggies have lacked the praise they deserve after Blackpool's similarly impressive opening stole the headlines.

The spine of this challenge has come at the Hawthorns. Away from home, a haul of just three points hints at a difficult afternoon in the north west.

The memories of the 6-0 thrashing on the opening day may still be in the mind of the Italian's troops. Furthermore, the Baggies will be fighting against more than 30 years of history since they last took the spoils at Old Trafford.

West Brom have made a mockery of the pre-season predictions of doom thus far. Another fine result would be the greatest upset of all.

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Players to watch

W. Rooney

Position: Attacker

Games: 21

  • 7
  • 2
  • 0
Man Utd - Rooney's phantom ankle injury has ensured all eyes at Old Trafford will be on him.

On the pitch, he was United's inspiration last season but has registered just one goal so far this campaign. A salvo against the Baggies will put him, and United, back on track.

J. Olsson

Position: Defender

Games: 18

  • 1
  • 4
  • 0
Di Matteo has added a steel that wasn't present under previous supremo Tony Mowbray when the club were last in the Premier League.

Jonas Olsson is a veteran of that campaign and has used that experience to look assured in the centre of defence.

The giant Swede will have to be at his best once again to stop United running rampant.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Manchester United

West Bromwich Albion

Wins
2
1
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
Manchester United FC Manchester United
Draw
West Bromwich Albion FC WBA
West Bromwich Albion FC West Bromwich Albion
85%

Top 3 Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
3 - 0
West Bromwich Albion FC WBA
Manchester United FC MUN
4 - 0
West Bromwich Albion FC WBA
Manchester United FC MUN
2 - 0
West Bromwich Albion FC WBA

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