As we leave 2010 Manchester United enter the New Year with an away fixture against West Bromwich Albion as they look to extend the lead at the top of the Premier League in the early kick-off on New Years Day.
Going into the game United have no new injury worries and will be looking to make amends following the disappointing draw with Birmingham on Tuesday.
As a result of the injury situation an unchanged backline is expected with Edwin van der Sar in goal, behind Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic with Patrice Evra on the left and Rafael on the right.
The young Brazilian has impressed of late and has no doubt made the right-back slot his own.
John O’Shea is still out with a calf strain and Paul Scholes has still not recovered from a groin injury.
After the lacklustre midfield display on Tuesday, Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to shake things up a little. Anderson will keep his place despite a poor match, while Darren Fletcher may come in for Michael Carrick.
With Ji-Sung Park away on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup, Nani is expected to come in on the right side, while either Ryan Giggs or Gabriel Obertan will fill the left midfield role.
Dimitar Berbatov is in tremendous form and has show a real desire to work for the team of late which has resulted in three goals in two matches. There has also been suggestions he is passing more often to Wayne Rooney in a bid to help the striker break his goal scoring duck. So expect more of the same tomorrow.
West Brom on the other hand have Gabriel Tamas and Gonzalo Jara both out through suspension, while Paul Scharner is a doubt due to illness.
Coming as a boost for the Baggies, midfielder Chris Brunt is available once more after a one-match ban.
Going into the game West Brom have lost three on the trot and the early season optimism has wilted slightly but Roberto Di Matteo has his team playing attractive football which could play into our hands, though after another away draw this season left us with only one win away from home, it is vital we address the problems away from Old Trafford.
Counting in our favour will be the fact that we have won our last six visits to The Hawthorns, a run that goes back to 1984. Even more telling is the last time United were at West Brom they bagged five goals.
Plus the Baggies have the worst defence in the Premier League, conceding a mammoth 34 goals thus far and they haven’t kept a clean sheet since August.
So the omens are good for United, lets just hope we can improve on our measly one win away from home this season and start 2011 on a high.
On a more personal note, I would like to thank you all for reading the previews/reviews I have been writing over the last year or so as this will be my last for Red Rants. It has been a pleasure.
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