West Brom-Manchester United Preview

·3 min read

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no doubts over Mason Greenwood's quality, with the Manchester United manager suggesting people need to "step back" and appreciate how far the youngster has come.

Greenwood – who breached COVID-19 protocol on international duty with England in September – enjoyed a stellar campaign in 2019-20, though he has so far failed to replicate that form this season.

The 19-year-old was not in United's squad for their win at Everton before the international break, but Solskjaer set out to remind critics of just how much progress Greenwood has made.

"You have to take a step back sometimes," he told a media conference ahead of Saturday's clash with West Brom. "The boy's only 19 and he's had a fantastic year.

"If we go a year back, I left him out of the EFL Cup against Chelsea. Mason stayed back and played against Doncaster Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy to get game time, that's how far he's come. Now he's got lots of goals, made his England debut, scored in his first Under-21s game and, of course, the headlines are going to be about when he scores and doesn't play.

"Everyone's allowed to not be well. If you're not well you can't train. He's been away eight or nine days from training so we're just building him up again and I have no doubts about him. He has a very good head on him and the talent is there for all to see."

United have not won a home league game this season, but West Brom boss Slaven Bilic is under no illusions as to the challenge his team face at Old Trafford.

"Still they are Man United," Bilic said. "They didn't start the season the way they wanted to, especially at home, but even at home they still had some really top performances. They are a great squad with some great individuals."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Manchester United – Anthony Martial

Martial returned from a three-match suspension to help United to victory over Everton, and now the France striker will be aiming to really kick-off his campaign after a stuttering start.

West Brom – Jake Livermore

Livermore's experience and leadership in midfield will be crucial if West Brom are to clinch a result on Saturday. He must provide a platform from which the likes of Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira and Karlan Grant can attack.

KEY OPTA FACTS

• West Brom have won three of their last five away league games against Man Utd (D1 L1), including their last such visit in April 2018 (1-0). The Baggies had won just one of their last 31 league visits to face Man Utd prior to this run.

• United have failed to score in three of their last four home league games against West Brom, as many as in their previous 53 such matches against them. Indeed, the Red Devils have failed to score in their last two against West Brom at home, last going three in a row without scoring at Old Trafford vs an opponent against Arsenal in September 1982.

• United are winless in their four Premier League home games so far this season (D1 L3), while they're winless in their last six at home overall in the competition (D3 L3). They last failed to win any of their first five at home in a league season back in 1972-73, while they last had a longer overall winless home run in March 1978.

• West Brom are winless in their eight Premier League games so far this season (D3 L5), failing to score in four of their last five. Only in 1985-86 have the Baggies failed to win any of their first nine league games from the start of a campaign.

• Bruno Fernandes is one of just two players to have both had 20+ shots (20) and created 20+ chances (20) in the Premier League this season, along with Mohamed Salah (34 shots, 21 chances created).