Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Injuries should not prove too much of a distraction for the Manchester United juggernaut when Sir Alex Ferguson takes his decimated squad to The Hawthorns on Tuesday.

Albion last beat United on home soil 25 years ago when Steve Mackenzie and Cyrille Regis were on target and the visitors have the added incentive of claiming a sixth successive Premier League maximum and a new record of 11 successive clean sheets if they manage to keep Tony Mowbray's men at bay.

United hold a 100% record at The Hawthorns, having won three of three, and this is reflected in the football odds, with the champions as short as 2/5 to continue their title charge.

Albion have also been hit by injuries and manager Mowbray will be without four centre-backs in Abdoulaye Meite, Jonas Olsson, Leon Barnett and long-term casualty Neil Clement.

The big loss to Mowbray will be skipper and United old-boy Jonathan Greening because of a strained medial ligament in his left knee and this has had an impact on the home side's betting odds, with Albion as big as 11/1 to derail the Old Trafford giants.

Mowbray has made the right noises by promising to give United "an uncomfortable night" and he will have the backing of a boisterous home crowd as Albion go about inflicting revenge for a 4-0 drubbing by Ferguson's men at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Albion have not lost at home in the Premier League since a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on November 15 last year – drawing once and winning three on the spin since – but sill find themselves entrenched in a basement battle at the foot of the table on 21 points with four other teams.

United, however, tend to hit their straps at this stage of the season and will know they cannot afford to lose momentum with bitter rivals Liverpool breathing down their neck.

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