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    Can West Brom challenge for Europe? West Brom vs Manchester United 17/12/2016

    Are West Brom this seasons surprise team? Can they challenge the top five? Are Manchester United closing in on the top four?

    It seems Manchester United have finally started to pick up some momentum, as they’ve won their last 3, and West Brom striker Salomon Rondon is bang in form after his 13 minute hatrick in midweek against Swansea.

    United are starting to worry the top four, as they’ve now won their last 3 games for only the third time this season. Games which has saw them advance to the knockout stages of the Europa League after beating Zorya Luhansk, an impressive performance against fellow top four rivals Spurs, and recently a late goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed all 3 points at Selhurst Park in midweek.

    Paul Pogba and Ibrahimovic assisted each other in the team’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in midweek, and it seems Jose Mourinho has finally found a balance that works for his United side. Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera have started in midfield for the last three Premier League games, while Phil Jones has been impressive since coming back last month, a long side Marcos Rojo.

    They’ll be a few familiar faces for the travelling Manchester United fans, as Darren Fletcher and Ben Foster are expected to play, but former defender Jonny Evans faces a late fitness test.  But it’ll be Salomon Rondon that Manchester United will be wary of after he scored one of the fastest Premier League hatricks in history when he netted three in 13 minutes in midweek against struggling Swansea.

    Team news:
    Craig Dawson is available for West Brom after serving his one-match ban for collating five yellow cards.

    Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling are back for United, which is a timely one for the travelling men, as Eric Bailly is out with another knee problem, after coming back just 2 weeks ago.

    Henrik Mkhitaryan is out until at least Boxing Day after being stretchered off shortly after his goal against Spurs.

    Previous fixtures at The Hawthorns
    The Hawthorns has always been a place for three easy points for Manchester United in the Premier League, until last campaign when current inform striker Rondon got the only goal to earn West Brom’s first ever Premier League victory over United on home soil. This fixture is also famous for hosting Sir Alex Feguson’s last ever match as Manchester United manager in 2012-13, a game which finished an almighty 5-5.

    West Brom
    Salomon Rondon celebrates his goal against United
    West Brom have surprised many people this year, as they sit 11 points off relegation comfortably in seventh, just four points behind Saturday’s travelling men. The Baggies will be attempting to equal their Premier League club record of four consecutive home wins, and have lost just one of their last 6 league games. Manager Tony Pulis could join Alan Pardew, Mark Hughes and Pep Guardiola, as the only managers to beat Jose Mourinho more than twice in the league. Albion could earn back-to-back top flight victories over Manchester United for the first time since 1980.

    Manchester United
    Rooney celebrates another goal against West Brom
    The Red Devils have lost just once in their last 11 Premier League matches, but if United lose they will equal their lowest ever Premier League points tally after 17 games: 27 in 2001-02. Wayne Rooney will be hoping to start as he did in midweek, as he has scored seven and set up four in his last nine against The Baggies. And as each game passes, everybody is waiting for the United captain to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s record as Manchester United’s all-time top goal scorer. Rooney, on 248 goals, is two goals off surpassing Charlton, who has held the record for 43 years.

    Both teams are in unfamiliar positions in the Premier League, as Manchester United are underachieving in sixth, and The Baggies are somewhat overachieving and are just 4 points behind United in seventh. It is a massive game for both sides, as West Brom will look to keep up their hopes of potentially challenging the Europe League spot, while Manchester United must get into Europe to show they are not falling behind the likes of Manchester City.

    See who gets out on top and potentially closes the gap on the top four this Saturday.

    Kick Off: 5:30PM

    TV: BT Sport

    Venue: The Hawthorns
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    Item Reviewed: Can West Brom challenge for Europe? West Brom vs Manchester United 17/12/2016 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Grant McQuillan
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