Manchester United will be aiming to continue their renewed assault on the top four of the Premier League by registering their fifth consecutive win in all competitions when they play West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
The home side are good form themselves and have shown some attacking vigour while taking four points which have seemingly put them well out of the reach of the bottom three. There was plenty of creativity and flair on display in their last home match against Crystal Palace as the front three wreaked havoc, and then the Baggies managed to take two points off leaders Leicester City, where they had to cling on in determined style during the closing stages.
The makeshift defence that Man Utd have cobbled together for recent games has not been exposed nearly enough, but in Salomon Rondon they have a player who is extremely capable of giving them a torrid afternoon. He took a while to settle in, but the skilful Venezuelan is showing why Albion broke their transfer record to sign him last summer and will certainly profit if his side decide to take the game to United here rather than sitting back and playing on the break.
All of a sudden there is more positivity around at Man Utd following an improved run of results in adverse circumstances. Ravaged by injury, a team made up of youngsters and players out of position have guided them through a terrific run of results and right back in contention for a Champions League place, with their city rivals only ahead of them on goal difference now. Victory in their last game against Watford was admittedly fortunate on the balance of play, but sometimes teams make their own luck.
It will be interesting here to see how the United team manages to compete physically against an imposing West Brom team, with their former hero Darren Fletcher set to be very much in the thick of the action. All eyes will remain on teenager Marcus Rashford, who has suggested that he can dovetail well with the fit-again Anthony Martial, while Memphis Depay is finally back in the team and playing well after several frustrating months.
Chris Brunt will miss the rest of the season for West Brom, so James Chester will continue at left-back. Jonathan Evans is also unavailable against his former club.
The Red Devils may be boosted at the back by the possible return of Chris Smalling, and Michael Carrick is also likely to feature after missing out on Wednesday.
Last Meeting: Two superbly taken goals from both teams ensured the points were shared in October 2014, with Stephane Sessegnon finishing off a stunning move to put West Brom in front before the break. Half-time substitute Marouane Fellaini levelled with a powerful strike before Saido Berahino curled home to give the hosts the lead for the second time only for Daley Blind to slam in for United late on.