West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United: Tight Affair on The Cards at Hawthorns
As Santa Claus gets ready for his worldwide journey, The Premier League cranks up a notch over the festive period, with top flight English action coming thick and fast. Recently appointed WBA boss Alan Pardew will attempt to gain his maiden league win for the Baggies on Sunday as they host Manchester United – kick-off 14:15.
Albion won their opening two Premier League games this season, but have yet to taste victory since, as former boss Tony Pulis paid the price for such indifferent form. Pardew’s side has yet to find the scoresheet in his opening three games in charge of the Baggies, who are likely to find profligate United a difficult defence to breach.
After suffering defeat to neighbours, and title rivals, Manchester City last weekend, United got back to winning ways in midweek with a narrow 1-0 win over Bournemouth. United currently sit second in the Premier League standings, and nothing less than a victory will do against struggling Albion if their faint hopes of catching City are to be realised.
United will roll into the Midlands for this fixture as the obvious favourites with the bookmakers, especially considering their differing league positions. Jose Mourinho’s side can be backed at the best available odds at the time of writing of 61/100 with Marathonbet. The Draw is a generally available 3/1 chance, but Unibet offer 41/13 as the market best, while a home win for West Brom can be taken with Bet365 and BetFred at 11/2.
Despite being strong favourites for this contest, United have not had an easy ride when taking on Albion at The Hawthorns in recent seasons. A solitary Salomon Rondon goal gave the Baggies a 1-0 win against former boss, Louis van Gaal in 2016. Mourinho showed his Dutch counterpart the way forward last season however, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck twice as United gained a comfortable 2-0 away win.
The Reds are again missing midfield talisman, Paul Pogba, who will serve the final game of a three-match-ban suffered at Arsenal recently, and United have struggled in attacking areas since the Frenchman’s absence. Albion will look to keep the game tight, but United should have enough within to claim a narrow victory.
Individual Goal Scorers
During his spell at Chelsea, Manchester United striker, Romelu Lukaku spent the 2012/13 season on-loan at West Bromwich Albion. Lukaku hit 17 goals in that campaign – including a hat-trick in the memorable 5-5 draw in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge of United. Lukaku has already endured a rise and fall start to his Old Trafford career, but the Belgian forward could be the man to be on to score first in this game.
Lukaku is a top priced 7/2 with Paddy Power to score first and heap further misery on his former club, in what looks to be a solid bet. Fellow United striker, Marcus Rashford came on late against Bournemouth, and could start against the Baggies in place of Anthony Martial. Mourinho likes to rotate his wide-forward pair, which makes Rashford worthy of consideration at 5/1 with Bet365.
West Brom’s first interest in the opening goal scorer market comes from Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon, who can both be backed at 10/1 with Boylesports and Bet365 respectively. Welsh forward Hal Robson-Kanu is a 14/1 chance with Bet365, while Matt Phillips has an impressive long shot within his arsenal, and can be taken at 16/1 with Sporting Bet and Sport Pesa to score first.
Other Side Bets
As previously stated within this preview, this game is likely to be a tight affair. On that basis, the offer of 87/100 with Marathonbet for UNDER 2.5 goals in the match could be the way to go. United have conceded just 11 goals in 17 Premier League games this season, while Albion has scored just three goals in their last seven league games, helping the cause to make this particular bet to being a no-brainer.
Our final selection comes from the Half-time/Full-time market with a Draw/Man Utd outcome at BetFred’s best odds of 7/2. Pardew’s men could make life hard for United early in the contest, but the Red Devils are a confident selection to ultimately leave The Hawthorns with the spoils late on.
- UNDER 2.5 Goals at 87/100 with Marathonbet.
- Romelu Lukaku FIRST GOALSCORER at 7/2 with Paddy Power.
- Draw HT, United FT at 7/2 with BetFred.