Albion looking for second successive win at Old Trafford

Published on: Author: Jon Want

Albion to return to the scene of what was arguably the Baggies’ highlight of last season. Saido Berahino announced himself to the national press with the winner at Old Trafford in September 2013, in what remains Albion’s only win over United in the Premier League, and Steve Clarke’s last away win in charge of Albion. While Manchester United are now under a different manager having sacked David Moyes towards the end of last season, Albion have dispensed with three head coaches since that win, and have managed just five away wins in the 32 Premier League fixtures since.

Albion were unlucky not to beat LVG’s men at the Hawthorns earlier in the season, but with United having rediscovered some of their poise, at least at home, it will be another tough test for Tony Pulis’s side. The hosts have won their last six Premier League games at Old Trafford and will take another defensive display and a fair bit of luck for Albion to prevent that run being extended.


West Bromwich Albion first met Newton Heath at Stoney Lane in a league match in October 1892. The game finished goalless but the Baggies won the return fixture at North Road a week later by four goals to two with Archie Bostock’s brace added to bu Billy Bassett and Roddie McLeod.

Twenty years later, Newton Heath were now called Manchester United and Albion visited Old Trafford for the first time in January 1912. Harry Wright scored twice for the Baggies in a 2-1 win in front of around 10,000 spectators. Albion’s biggest ever win at Old Trafford came in an FA Cup Third Round Replay in January 1939. After a 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns, second division Albion trounced first division United by five goals to one with Ginger Richardson, Doug Witcomb, Harry Jones (2) and Ike Clarke scoring the goals.

In the league, Albion’s 4-0 win in 1958 (Kevan, Allen (2) and Greaves (og)) is their biggest at United, but their most famous came twenty years later. No Baggies fan can be unaware of that most auspicious of days when, fresh from a Boxing Day win at Highbury, Ron Atkinson’s Albion taught Dave Sexton’s United a footballing lesson in front of the ITV cameras winning 5-3 with goals from Bomber Brown (2), Len Cantello, Cyrille Regis and the late great Laurie Cunningham.

United’s biggest win over Albion came in 1970 when the home side ran riot with Bobby Charlton, John Fitzpatrick and Alan Gowling all scoring twice, with a certain George Best also on the scoresheet in a 7-0 win.

In recent years, Albion have generally left Old Trafford pointless, but there have been a few memorable visits. Back in 2002, West Bromwich Albion returned to the top flight after a 26 year absence with their opening fixture at “The Theatre of Dreams”. The men in stripes were not disgraced and they kept United at bay for much of the game, but when Derek McInnes saw red just after the hour mark, it seemed a matter of time before the home side scored; Ole Gunnar Solksjaer broke Baggies hearts with the winner 12 minutes from time.

A couple of seasons later, I remember walking up to Old Trafford for Albion’s last away game of the season thinking that Albion were already down when the news came through that Danny Higginbotham had scored a last minute equaliser for Southampton at Selhurst Park – Albion had an outside chance of staying up and the bouyant Baggies fans went into the early evening kick off with a renewed sense of optimism. Against the odds, and thanks to a rare penalty to the away side at Old Trafford converted by Robert Earnshaw, Albion came away with a point and, a week later, they had pulled off the Great Escape.

Other than Albion’s win last season, Albion’s only other point at Old Trafford in the Premier League came in October 2010. Two-nil down after 25 minutes, an own goal from Patrice Evra put Albion back in the game just after half time, before Somen Tchoyi pounced on an error by Edwin Van der Sar to grab an equaliser five minutes later.


Team News

Albion have a fully fit squad bar long term absentee, Ben Foster, (if Big Vic can ever be considered “fully fit”) but I’d be surprised if Pulis makes too many changes to the side that started against Liverpool last weekend. Victor Anichebe is perhaps the only player whose starting place might be in doubt, with Brown Ideye or, perhaps, another midfielder like McManaman or Sessègnon in line to take his spot. Youssouf Mulumbu is available again having served his three match ban.

For United, Wayne Rooney has been passed fit despite having injured his knee in the defeat to Everton last Sunday. Robin van Persie is also back from injury but is likely to be on the bench. Evans Rojo, Carrick and Jones are all doubtful while Rafael is unlikely to play again this season, and Luke Shaw is definitely out with a groin injury. That may mean a back line of Valencia, Smalling, McNair and Ashley Young with Daley Blind just in front.


Albion came very close to getting their first Premier League win over United at the Hawthorns last October, denied by a late equaliser from Daley Blind, but the Red Devils are a different proposition these days. Louis van Gaal has got United playing well and getting results, and they had won six Premier League games on the bounce before successive defeats to Chelsea and Everton.

The absence of Carrick does weaken United – he was particularly missed in the 3-0 defeat at Goodison, but Pulis’s line up is unlikely to be forward-thinking enough to take advantage of any weaknesses at the back. I think the best that Albion can hope for is another 0-0 draw, but I’m expecting defeat.


Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion W L L L W D
Manchester United W W W W L L

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

20 Oct 2014 – Premier League
West Brom 2 (Sessègnon, Berahino)
Manchester United 2 (Fellaini, Blind)

Last meeting at Manchester United

28 Sep 2013 – Premier League
Manchester United 1 (Rooney)
West Brom 2 (Amalfitano, Berahino)

Last win

28 Sep 2013 – Premier League
Manchester United 1 (Rooney)
West Brom 2 (Amalfitano, Berahino)

Albion’s Record against Manchester United

Overall Away
League 117 38 28 51 179 217 57 12 14 31 69 117
FA Cup 6 2 3 1 11 7 3 1 1 1 6 3
League Cup 2 1 0 1 3 3 1 0 0 1 1 3
Total 125 41 31 53 193 227 61 13 15 33 76 123


Premier League Record
Pld W D L F A Pts
Home 9 0 2 7 11 27 2
Away 8 1 2 5 5 16 5
Total 17 1 4 12 16 43 7