Even though both of these clubs don’t have anything left to play for, all eyes at certain to be on The Hawthorns as Sir Alex Ferguson prepares for his final game in football management. He will end his tenure with Manchester United champions for yet another season, although it’s also been a very successful campaign for West Brom who look set to finish the term in 8th.
In fact, some would describe West Brom’s year as one of the most fruitful in the Premier League. They are another side in the division who don’t live beyond their means, with a strict but prudent transfer policy providing them with a perfect platform for top flight success. There were worries when Roy Hodgson departed for the England post last year, but Steve Clarke has stepped in and taken the Baggies to the next level and established them as a top half club. Unfortunately, things aren’t exactly concluding to plan, with the club on a losing run of three games. Moreover, with their last clash ending in a 4-0 hiding to Norwich, the omens certainly aren’t looking good as they prepare for the visit of the new Premier League champions.
Despite West Brom’s success, there’s no doubt that the day will revolve entirely around the visitors and their retiring manager. Described as the greatest manager to have graced football by many quarters, it could be argued that the game will no longer be the same without him as he prepares to lead his United side out for the final time. The Red Devils wrapped the title up many moons ago yet the respect for Ferguson means that the players won’t be thinking about their holidays just yet, and will be desperate to record a victory for their departing boss. The club happen to have only won two of their last five, a bad statistic in United terms, yet many pundits believe that Ferguson simply won’t allow his players to sign off his career with anything other than a win.
As for team news, West Brom are approaching the fixture with a doubt hanging over Steven Reid after he picked up a minor knock in the Baggies’ game last weekend. On a more positive note, Steve Clarke will at least be able to select Marc-Antoine Fortune as he returns from suspension. Manchester United meanwhile look poised to rotate their squad, with Anders Lindegaard being one man who has been promised a starting role. Wayne Rooney is unlikely to feature again following his recent transfer request, while Rafael is still suspended.
It’s been stated through the course of this article that Sir Alex Ferguson will be demanding nothing but the best for his final game and that’s exactly what we expect. West Brom may have enjoyed a successful year, but our tip will be a traditional, comfortable United victory – 2-0.