West Brom vs. Manchester United: Complete Premier League Final Day Preview
Sir Alex Ferguson will take charge of his final game for Manchester United this Sunday.
The long-serving manager bade farewell to Old Trafford last weekend, but it is West Bromwich Albion's Hawthorns stadium that will provide the setting for his final hurrah.
Here is a preview for the game, complete with team news, projected lineups and key players.
Brace yourself for the last game in the Premier League for three painful months.
Injuries and Suspensions
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Both West Brom and Manchester United are relatively injury-free heading into Sunday's clash (via Fantasy Football Scout).
The Baggies will be without midfielder Zoltan Gera, who continues to suffer from a serious knee injury, and youngster George Thorne.
The Red Devils will be missing long-term absentees Ashley Young and Darren Fletcher, who are out with an ankle injury and illness respectively.
Full-back Rafael is absent through suspension having picked up a straight red card in a recent game against Chelsea.
Zoltan Gera: Knee Injury
George Thorne: Knee Injury
Ashley Young: Ankle Injury
Darren Fletcher: Illness
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Predicting the lineups for Sunday's encounter will be no easy task.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke is expected to field a similar lineup to last weekend, but Sir Alex Ferguson's mindset is harder to read.
Though he will want to go out with a win, the Scotsman may choose to field several youngsters at the Hawthorns.
The Red Devils' team will therefore be a mix of experience and youth.
West Brom: Ben Foster, Steven Reid, Jonas Olsson, Gareth McAuley, Goran Popov, Claudio Yacob, Youssouf Mulumbu, James Morrison, Chris Blunt, Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku.
Manchester United: David de Gea, Phil Jones, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, Alex Buttner, Michael Carrick, Anderson, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie.
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West Brom: DWLLL
Manchester United: DWDLW
Both West Brom and Manchester United enter the game in underwhelming form.
The Baggies have lost their last three Premier League games, most recently getting thrashed 4-0 by an inspired Norwich City side.
They have only won one of their last eight fixtures—a 3-0 victory at St. Mary's against Southampton.
Sir Alex's side claimed a late 2-1 win over Swansea City last Sunday thanks to a dramatic Rio Ferdinand goal.
Before that, a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Chelsea threatened to overshadow the manager's victory lap.
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West Brom: Romelu Lukaku
The Baggies' striker Romelu Lukaku has had a terrific term at the Hawthorns on loan from Chelsea.
The Belgian has scored 14 league goals in 34 appearances, and will consequently head back to Stamford Bridge this summer with renewed self belief.
In an interview with FIFA.com earlier this month, Lukaku said: "I’m only 19. It goes without saying that I have still got a lot to learn. First and foremost, I need to keep my feet on the ground. I thank God every day for the opportunity to play in the Premier League."
Manchester United: Phil Jones
The immense improvement shown by Phil Jones this year has been one of the biggest positives of the season for the Red Devils.
The versatile player has featured in several different roles—in central defence, central midfield and at full-back.
He has played an increasing role for Sir Alex's side since recovering from an injury earlier this campaign.
Sir Alex recently said (via Daily Mail): "Jones is going to be a phenomenal player. I have no idea where his best position is. He could play anywhere on the pitch. But he will be one of the best players we have ever had."
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The Baggies attack through the middle of the pitch the most in the Premier League—33 percent of the time (via WhoScored.com).
West Brom average the fewest interceptions per game with 10.1.
The side will finish in the top half of the table in back-to-back seasons for the first time in over 30 years.
Claudio Yacob is the statistically best passer for the Baggies, completing an average of 87.5 per game.
Sunday's game will be Sir Alex Ferguson's 1500th in charge of Manchester United, and his last.
If the Red Devils beat West Brom, they will finish with 91 Premier League points, their second-highest total.
United have committed the fewest fouls per game this season with 10 (via WhoScored.com).
Sir Alex's side has scored the most goals from set-piece situations this season with 22.
What do you think will be the outcome of Sunday's game?