The narrow defeat to Arsenal was no embarrassment to United so I don’t expect any great damage to confidence throughout the players or management team, however, I do expect the huge amount of chasing and the amount of effort we put into containing them to have taken it’s toll on a few pairs of legs. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a couple of changes here and there as we tackle a Throstles side who ran us very close at SJP a month ago.
We have had a very positive set of results lately but I do think, as we reach the half way point, that 8th is about the right place for us. We’re at least one striker away from having a side pushing for any higher places and I’d suggest that if Pardew really wants to play with 3 centre midfielders, then he could do with another one of them, to come in when there’s injuries or suspensions.
So it’s off to The Hawthorns to take on a Throstles side who appear to have dispensed with Steve Clarke’s services without having a back up plan in place. Keith Downing has been in temporary charge, but since Pepe Mel dropped out of the running, no new candidate appears to stand out.
WBA appear to now have a new distraction to take care of, having seen Nicolas Anelka celebrate his goal at West Ham by giving an anti-Semitic gesture. Should the FA find similarities between this and when Mark Bosnich made a gesture, then expect nothing more than a small fine to come of it. Either way, I don’t expect him to be unavailable for selection against us.
They’ll be disappointed to find themselves sitting 6th from bottom, given some of the talent at their disposal, but they’ll point to some disappointing home results, when assessing their current predicament.
They’ve won only twice at home, to Crystal Palace (2-0) and Sunderland (3-0). They’ve drawn against Arsenal (1-1), Aston Villa (2-2) and Hull (1-1) but lost to Norwich (2-0), Man City (3-2), Swansea (2-0) and Southampton (1-0.)
They’ve found it hard to replace Lukaku’s goals but Berahino has 7 although 4 of them were in the league cup, Shane Long has 3, all in the league.
Both Long and Victor Anichebe are expected to be fit for Wednesday. They are free from suspensions.
Moussa Sissoko managed to get through his final game of 2013 without getting a 5th yellow card meaning his threat of suspension is now lifted.
I think there are couple of players who looked in need of a rest by the 60 minute mark against Arsenal. Santon is one of them, Remy looked off the pace, Sissoko looked like he needed a breather, maybe Pardew will make some changes, maybe he’ll try and get through one more game and rotate for the cup game vs. Cardiff.
He has plenty options. Haidara, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, should all be chomping at the bit for a run out.
One man who appears to have hoyed a wobbler is Gabriel Obertan, who allegedly left SJP in hurry Pre match vs. Arsenal. Rumours that he trod on his coat and sped off down a series of blind alleys are unconfirmed! He’ll not be missed, as all he’s doing is hindering Sammy Ameobi’s progress. Fuck knows what’s going on with Jonas Gutierrez and Sylvain Marveaux. Are they still professional footballers these days??
Ryan Taylor – Knee – not expected back this year
Possible Team (4-2-3-1)
1.Krul: 2. Debuchy, 5. Williamson, 6.Coloccini (Capt), 3. Haidara: 8. Cabaye, 4. Tiote: 7. Sissoko, 10. Anita, 11. Gouffran: 9. Remy
Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Shola Ameobi, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Sammy Ameobi
Referee: Lee Mason
League History at The Hawthorns
1984/85 Lost 1-2 With United going through a poor run of form, a Boxing Day trip to the Midlands yielded nothing, with only an Ian Baird goal to show for our efforts. Attendance, 20,248
1985/86 Drew 1-1 Having just been dumped out of the FA cup at home to Brighton, Kenny Wharton helped our ‘concentrating on the league’ with a goal earning us our second point in January. Attendance, 9,100
1989/90 Won 5-1 Now in the second division, we renewed our acquaintances and thrashed them. An OG got us on our merry way, but after Don Goodman pegged us back, Gary Brazil, Kevin Brock, Mark McGhee and Liam O’Brien brought the 3 points back to Tyneside. Attendance, 12,339
1990/91 Drew 1-1 We were limping our way to a mid table finish in the second division, with a hangover from the play offs lasting longer than most expected. McGhee had missed chunks of the season to injury but Jim Smith had turned to ill-fated loan moves for the likes of Moran and Gaynor, Even the signing of Gavin Peacock couldn’t keep Smith in his job and he was replaced by Ossie Ardiles in March. Micky Quinn earned us a point but the team were in transition as Ossie drafted in the youths. Attendance, 16,706
2002/03 Drew 2-2 With the Champion’s League spot secured, a dead rubber match threw up a a diluted affair. The Throstles were already relegated. Jermaine Jenas and Hugo Viana notched for us. Attendance, 27,036
Viana’s free kick after 3 minutes 40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJkOypS8K4c
2004/05 Drew 0-0 A dull start to the new year. Typical Souness really. Attendance, 25,259
2005/06 Won 3-0 A rare good day under Souness. It was sometimes possible when Shearer and Owen played together to believe the little twat actually liked it here. This was one such day. Owen got 2, Shearer got 1. Attendance, 26,216 (Hideous green strip)
1 minute 35 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04hGDeosHLA
2008/09 Won 3-2 Kinnear in hospital. A crucial win (or so we thought at the time) although we probably didn’t expect to win only 1 more fixture out of 13. Damien Duff and Peter Lovenkrands scored early goals and Steven Taylor gave us some breathing space. Attendance, 25,817 (Hideous purple strip)
2009/10 Drew 1-1 A crucial opening day point that told the division, “We’re not to be fucked with!” Damien Duff with our second half equaliser. Attendance, 23,502 (Hideous yellow strip)
2010/11 Lost 1-3 Danny Guthrie’s time to check out as a Mag. Hughton’s too. This was an awful showing. Having followed an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at Bolton in our last away fixture, something had to be done, and it was. Peter Lovenkrands poked in a consolation. Attendance, 23,486
2011/12 Won 3-1 We were flying at this point and everything Cisse hit was flying in to the back of the net. Attendance, 25,049
Cisse 2 on 2 mins 20 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uucjvstiavw
2012/13 Drew 1-1 Still scrapping to fight off relegation, Gouffran put us in front, only for Billy Jones to equalise. Attendance, 25,671
Albion til we Die http://www.albiontillwedie.co.uk/fans/fanzines.html
Keep it posted on twitter on Wednesday and we’ll provide any info we can on where Mags are holing up at West Brom although I hear plenty are heading to The Vine.
Depends how knackered everybody is. West Brom need to pick up points at home to pull away from the bottom.
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