Man Utd v West Brom preview
Manchester United will be looking to return to winnings ways when they host West Brom at Old Trafford.
Last Updated: 15/10/10 11:40am
Manchester United will be looking to return to winnings ways when they host West Brom at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men return from the international break undefeated in the Premier League this season, but have secured just one three-point haul from their last four matches, leaving them third in the standings and five points adrift of leaders and reigning champions Chelsea.
United's most recent victory came against Liverpool at home last month, but their last two road games, away to Bolton and Sunderland, have seen them held to stalemates.
History is not in the Baggies' favour, with Roberto Di Matteo's side having won none and lost 16 of their 18 matches against the 'Big Four' prior to their shock victory over Arsenal last month.
But that upset at Emirates Stadium no doubt provided the ultimate confidence boost to Albion, who have enjoyed their best-ever start to a Premier League season and sit an encouraging sixth in the table after seven matches.
Statistically, the Red Devils look set to run away with a win on Saturday, having won 11 and lost none of their last 12 league meetings with the Midlands club.
However, with United failing to hit the heights so far this season, and with misfiring striker Wayne Rooney still falling noticeably short of his top form, it is not out of the question that the Baggies could spring another surprise.
Injury-plagued Owen Hargreaves will not make his return this weekend, despite claims from knee surgeon Dr Richard Steadman this week that he is poised for a comeback.
Ferguson insists the midfielder, who has been battling tendinitis in his knees for much of the last two years, is sidelined with a calf injury and will not feature against the Baggies.
United could, however, receive a boost with the return of veteran Ryan Giggs, who has been recovering from a minor hamstring knock.
Rooney is waiting on a recall into Ferguson's side having missed United's last two encounters against Sunderland and Valencia in the UEFA Champions League.
Ferguson blamed an ankle injury for Rooney's absence but the striker, who represented England on international duty on Tuesday, has refuted those claims, insisting he is fully fit.
West Brom news
The Baggies could be without Peter Odemwingie for the visit to Old Trafford, with the striker struggling to shake off a knee strain.
The Premier League player of the month, who has notched three goals for Albion this season, sustained the knock during his side's 1-1 draw against Bolton earlier this month.
Midfielder Jerome Thomas is also a doubt for the clash having missed the Trotters match with a calf problem.
Manager Di Matteo has reported that all of his players involved in international games have come through unscathed.
Possible starting XIs:
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea, Fletcher, Scholes, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Berbatov.
West Brom: Carson, Jara, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Scharner, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Morrison, Odemwingie.