West Bromwich Albion will host current league champions Manchester United at the Hawthorns on Saturday in a game which has a much more than three points at stake for the two managers involved.
Having finished eighth last season under Clarke, their best Premier League finish yet, West Brom's decision to bring in a replacement came at a point where the club had managed to pick up maximum points from just four of their first 18 games this season. However Pepe Mel hasn’t quite adjusted to his role at the club and has had a slow start to his new west Midlands career - since the arrival of Mel, The Baggies are yet to win in the Premier League and have picked up only four points from a possible 21.
Manchester United will travel to The Hawthorns on the back of their dismal Champions League performance against Olympiakos. David Moyes’ team has come under hard criticism this year with remarks made about the club’s transfer policy and many fans doubting if Sir Alex’s choice was the right decision for the record 20 time English champions.
The Red Devils have picked up 6 points from a possible 15 from their last five league fixtures which include conceding a late goal against Fulham in a 2-2 draw at home and a 2-1 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium earlier in February.
Moyes will encounter a new face in the opposite dug-out this game, having faced a Steve Clarke West Bromwich Albion side who handed the Scot a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford, a first win for The Baggies at Old Trafford since 1978. Both West Brom and Manchester United have a steep road to safety ahead of them. While Albion will be looking to pick up three points at home for the first time since New Year day, United travel to the West Midlands looking for a result in their favour after a poor footballing display in Europe.
Both managers are in desperate need of three points. The Baggies will be without striker Nicolas Anelka and given their current run of form, it may be a match where Manchester United pick up three vital points away from home, which may propel them to a Champions League qualification finish at the end of the season.
KICK OFF: Saturday, 12.45pm (BT Sport)
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Man Utd 1 (Rooney) West Brom 2 (Amalfitano, Berahino), Premier League, September 2013
West Brom 5 (Morrison, Lukaku 3, Mulumbu) Man Utd 5 (Kagawa, Olsson og, Buttner, van Persie, Hernandez), Premier League, May 2013
Man Utd 2 (McAuley og, Van Persie) West Brom 0, Premier League, December 2012
In the reverse fixture, West Bromwich Albion won at Old Trafford for the first time since 1978. None of the Baggies squad that day were born when they had previously won at United.
Pepe Mel is yet to win a match with West Bromwich Albion after his appointment in January 2014.
West Brom have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five home games.
West Bromwich Albion to win: 5.1
Manchester United to win: 1.84