Stadium : The Hawthorns
Time : 15:00 GMT
The Baggies vs The Red Devils ( Steve Clarke vs Sir Alex Ferguson)
Another season of top flight Premier League action wraps up. We’ve seen youth players evolve, controversial transfers take place, shocking retirements of some greats and of course, the closely fought battles down on the pitch every single week of the season. All in all, it was a great year for fans across the globe, and this match, like any other will not fail to deliver on every aspect.
Hosts West Bromwich have had a fantastic season, ending up in the top half of the table. Steve Clarke has won praise for his managerial skills, taking WBA to achieve its highest ever points in a Premier League season. Of course, they could have done better but due to a late season form dip, they lost quite a few matches. Their previous match against Norwich was torture as they stumbled and lost 4-0. Of late, they have had an inconsistency in playing patterns and cannot play at a high level for 90 minutes. Fatigue is a killer factor for the players. Leading scorer, Lukaku (14 goals) shall look to find the net and bring his team back on track.
Manchester United left all competing clubs in the dust by taking home the trophy earlier than most expected. With a total of 28 wins this season thus far, United will look to equal Chelsea’s record of 29 wins in a season, a brilliant feat that would be. But today’s match mainly revolves around Sir Alex Ferguson, the man behind United’s success. He will take charge in his 1500th and final match of his outstanding career and see to it that they grab a win to end on a high note. Keeping his emotions under control last week, it will a sad moment to see him once the final whistle blows and curtains close down on one of the greatest managers the football world has ever seen. Players too will be motivated on an emotional level to do their best for the man himself. Last time around, Van Persie scored a late substitute winner back in 2012. He will look to score one or two goals to end his campaign winning the Golden Boot for a second season running.
West Bromwich Albion – Steven Reid seems fit to return after suffering an ankle injury. A late fit test will determine his place in the starting line up. As for Thorne and Gera, they will not return for this match due to some seriously sustained injuries.
Manchester United – Alex Young and Chris Smalling continue to be sidelined due their Ankle/Foot injury. Besides these two, every player in the roster is fit to play.
West Bromwich Albion – Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Popov; Yacob, Mulumbu, Morrison; Long, Lukaku, Brunt
Manchester United – Lindegaard; Valencia, Evans, Jones, Buttner; Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Kagawa; van Persie, Hernandez
• A win for United would see them equal their highest-ever points total in a Premier League season (91 in the 1999-00 campaign)
• Albion have not beaten United in a league game since March 1984, a run of 17 matches without a victory
• United have the best points per game ratio in May (2.07) of any current Premier League side while Albion (0.84) have the worst
• Billy Jones has received eight yellow cards so far in 2012-13 despite committing 28 fewer fouls than Claudio Yacob, who has been booked on seven occasions
• Javier Hernández has the best minutes per goal ratio (119) of any player to have scored 10 or more times in their Premier League career
United look to be the better team in terms of players, consistency, and zeal to win. WBA will give it their best shot and if Lukaku finds his striking form today, we might see a slight turn of events. Supposing that happens, the Red Devils are known to make a comeback. Other than that, WBA is a minor threat to Manchester United.
Manchester United 4 – 1 West Bromwich Albion