Javier Hernandez scored a late winner for Manchester United in a thrilling mid-week clash with Newcastle. The victory stretched the Red Devils' Premier League lead to seven points as they prepare to face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
West Brom are on a roll of their own. Following a minor skid, which caused the Baggies to slide down the table, they have earned points in three straight matches. That includes a 2-1 triumph over QPR on Wednesday, pushing them into sixth place.
It sets up an intriguing battle between the Red Devils and Baggies. Here's a look at all the important viewing information for the match followed by a preview and prediction.
Where: Old Trafford in Greater Manchester, England
When: Saturday, Dec. 29, at 10 a.m. ET
Watch: ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Wayne Rooney is sidelined by a knee injury, which the BBC reports could cost him up to three weeks of action. As United illustrated against Newcastle, however, they can still produce offense without the England international helping lead the way.
The more pressing concern, at least in the short term, would be the club's defense. There were countless errors against the Magpies and it's always tough to rectify those type of errors when there is limited practice time between matches.
What's your prediction for the match?
It was the second time in December the United offense was forced to bail out the back line. A similar 4-3 victory against Reading exhibited similarly lacking form. Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking for an immediate turnaround on Saturday.
While West Brom can't match the Red Devils' star power, they have been successful thanks to balanced production throughout the roster. Romelu Lukaku leads the club in league scoring with six goals, but a total of five players have found the net at least three times.
The Baggies don't want to get into a shootout like United played against Newcastle, so expect a more defensive-minded approach. They have allowed more than one goal just a single time over their past five matches.
Ultimately, that will play right into United's hands because it will take pressure off their back line. Look for the Red Devils to score once in each half to secure three more points. It will also send United into the new year with plenty of momentum.
Prediction: Manchester United 2, West Brom 0