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Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion

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In the Monday night game, the surging Manchester United travels to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion. So far in the young season, West Brom are 1-1-1 at home, having beaten up on Burnley three weeks ago in their last home match. The Baggies seem to be carrying on their long tradition of being offensively challenged, as they’ve already been shutout three times in seven games. This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that’s been paying attention, because outside Sadio Berahino, no one on the squad has any real firepower. Manchester United on the other hand is a whole different story. Since the transfer window slammed shut, the Red Devils have significantly upgraded their attacking options with the additions of Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, and Ander Herrera. The issue with United so far is their lapses of intensity and haphazard defending. There has been a noticeable improvement on the back line over the last two matches against Everton and West Ham, as they’ve switched to a four-man back line featuring Rafael, Luke Shaw, Patrick McNair, and Marcos Rojo. With that said, even with the improved play of the back line keeper David De Gea had to more or less stand on his head to keep Everton from scoring the equalizer two weeks ago. Whether this is the week the new look Red Devils squad puts it all together remains to be seen.

 

Tactical Overview

I expect United to employee their usual 2-1-3-4 formation with Robin van Persie and Falcao up front with Juan Mata filling in for the suspended Wayne Rooney in the playmaker role. The midfield should consist of Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria out wide with Dutchman Daley Blind patrolling the middle. The back line should stay the same with Rafael at right back, Luke Shaw at left back, and Patrick McNair and Marcos Rojos anchoring the middle.

The Baggies have typically stuck with a 1-3-2-4 formation using young gun Sadio Berahino in the lone striker role. They have a midfield with some interesting value plays in Stephane Sessegnon, James Morrison, Craig Gardner, Chris Brunt, and Graham Dorrans. Sessegnon is by far the most intriguing of the bunch, a few years ago he was a great value as a 4th midfielder on fantasy teams. The difference is he played mostly as a second striker at Sunderland, but has been deployed primarily as a playmaker in the Baggies attack. So his lack of form could be due to his playing out of position. West Brom’s back four consists of Sebastien Pocognoli, Andre Wisdom, Joleon Lescott, and Craig Dawson. Pocognoli and Dawson are interesting options as a third or fourth defender. Overall a solid group, I’d expect them to at least make it difficult for the United attackers to find space in the box.

 

Projected Lineups

Manchester United:

West Bromwich Albion:

 

Players to Watch

Angel Di Maria, Midfielder – Manchester United
David De Gea, Goalkeeper – Manchester United
Robin van Persie, Forward – Manchester United

Sadio Berahino, Forward – West Bromwich Albion
Stephane Sessegnon, Midfielder – West Bromwich Albion
James Morrison, Midfielder – West Bromwich Albion

 

Prediction

Manchester United 3-1

  1. J-FOH says:
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    and to think if I would of never plugged you to Sky this may have never happened.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-FOH: Yes the demise of Razzball is squarely on your shoulders.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: the apocalypse is all my fault

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @J-FOH: You’re a one man four horseman

  2. Garreth says:
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    Seriously, are formations in the US typically described as from front to back rather than from back to front? Pretty sure the rest of the football world would call a formation 4-4-2 rather than 2-4-4 (or 2-1-3-4 as in this example)… Strange.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Garreth: Hahaha ummmm sometimes. My mistake, I’ll post it 4-4-2, etc. going forward.

      Forgive me Brits!

  3. Swfcdan says:
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    “The Baggies have typically stuck with a 1-3-2-4 formation ”

    Hahaha sorry had to laugh at that bit, well the terminology you use throughout for football (“soccer”) is pretty funy really. As an Englishman as its our national sport (who could tell looking at our National team) I’ll help you out. Ive spotted your first mistake, youve written the formations backwards! Its 4-2-3-1 not 1-3-2-4 , always start from the defence upwards (at least you didnt include the goalkeeper lol). The easier way to describe MUs formation is to call it playing a 4-4-2 diamond midfield (hence the shape).

    Anyway good addition to razzball as a soccer and baseball fan, will be checking in on here! Any desire to include Championship analysis as well in future (being a Sheffield Wednesday fan…ill let you google them)?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Swfcdan: Hahaha I’m well aware of Sheffield Wednesday! My grandfather is from Blackburn and my first exposure to Football was Alan Shearer and the magical season of 1994-1995 for the Rovers. So I know my way around all the tiers of the Football league. It’s also one of my favorite names in sports.

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Wow consider me impressed sir! You really do know your stuff then, lets just consider that formation cockup a minor boobie eh lol.

        Yeah Shearer was awesome back at that time, still haven’t replaced him in the England squad (Rooney isn’t fit to lace his boots imo). That was when Sheffield Wednesday were back in the big time too, now we are midtable in the Championship, still dreaming of a return back to the bigtime someday!

        So what kinda football (yep im using that term now!) leagues are you planning on doing here? You know American’s should call this football really man :)

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Swfcdan: Yeah I thought Michael Owen was Shearer’s heir apparent, but we know what injuries did to him. I’d like to just open a league or two on the Premier League site. I’ll try and do that in the next few weeks if I can.

          I also call it Football when amongst fellow EPL fans but it’s obviously tough in this market.

  4. Hey Guys,

    So happy Razzball decided to finally do a EPL site! Curious, what site will you be using as default? BPL, ESPN, other? Just want to make sure as I read I know which scoring your referring to.

    Again, really excited about this. After a great year last year my squad needs a lot of help/advice this year.

    Turd

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Turd Ferguson: We’re focusing on the Premierleague.com format. That’s by far my favorite of the different sites, I’m not crazy about ESPN’s or Yahoo’s model.

  5. EnglishMetsFan says:
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    Excellent. Congratulations on yet another way I can now avoid work…and on a subject matter more dear to my heart than baseball.

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @EnglishMetsFan: Seems the English fans are all coming out of the woodwork now!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mark: That was an oversight on my part. Apologies, I knew he was inactive for Northern Ireland’s games against the Faroe Islands and Greece and thought two weeks plus of rest would be enough that he had a chance of playing.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I also like to pretend like Phil Jones doesn’t exist.

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