Last meeting: The Reds won both encounters last term – a 2-1 away win in August, and a 2-0 triumph in March during an excellent spell of league form as United appeared destined for title glory. Rooney scored three of those four goals, but he is sidelined and won’t reprise that form this time around.
Did you know? Prior to the Premier League era, West Brom boasted a notably strong record against United; in 106 pre-1992 clashes, the Reds had won 40, drawn 27 and lost 39. Since Albion’s initial promotion to the top-flight in 2002, United have won 11, drawn two and lost only once – a 2-0 League Cup defeat in December 2003.
Opposition boss: Steve Clarke has made a huge impression since taking over at The Hawthorns in the summer following Roy Hodgson’s departure to become England boss. The fact that they are above Arsenal and Liverpool in the table and level on points with Everton and Tottenham, just two points behind Chelsea, speaks volumes. Reds defender Jonny Evans knows Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley in the Baggies squad and he tells United Review: “Chris and Gareth both speak very highly of him. He does it in a quiet way. Even in his interviews he doesn’t give much away, but he’s clearly a very good coach and has his players really well organised.”
Star man: Steve Clarke’s biggest threat is arguably the goalscoring ability of his midfield players: James Morrison, Zoltan Gera and Chris Brunt in particular are all dangerous from any distance. Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie are talented goal-getters, but Romelu Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea