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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Ruud Doubtful For Hawthorns Trip

Ruud van Nistelrooy may miss Saturday's trip to the Hawthorns to take on
West Bromwich Albion due to a calf injury.

The Dutchman, who scored his eighth European goal of the season in Tuesday's
2-1 win over Lyon, was forced off in the second half suffering from a calf

Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed after the match: "Ruud is feeling a bit of a
calf strain. He was the same on Saturday, we had to take him off towards the

"We'll just have to have a look at it now and maybe leave him out on
Saturday," he added.

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Moore hails 'mature' Rooney

West Brom defender Darren Moore expects to face a more mature Wayne Rooney
when Manchester United visit The Hawthorns on Saturday.

The last time the pair came face-to-face was two years ago when the impudent
Rooney, then a 17-year-old Everton star in the making, came on as a
substitute to tease the Albion defender.

The West Brom skipper described Rooney as "arrogant" when, with Everton
winning 1-0, he stopped with the ball at his feet and put his hands on his
hips as if to humiliate the centre-back.

Moore threatened to kick Rooney "up the backside" but the West Brom stalwart
feels the England forward has developed as a player and a person despite
last week's antics in Spain on international England duty.

Moore said: "I still remember playing against Wayne that day. He came on as
a substitute with about three minutes to go and what he did against me was
purely to try and entertain the crowd.

"We were chasing the game because we were only 1-0 down. That is why it
annoyed me more than anything else.

"But I can't see him doing it again now because he is a different and far
better player. He has matured.

"He's improved a great deal in the last two years and will only get better
at Old Trafford with the array of talent he is surrounded by every single

"Wayne is a fantastic player, with a superb eye for goal and with his
ability on the ball but I'm looking forward to trying to keep him quiet this

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Sakiri eager for more
By Oliver Bhurrut

ARTIM Sakiri is hoping he has done enough to keep his place against
Manchester United on Saturday (ko 3pm) after making his Barclays Premiership
debut against Arsenal at the weekend.

The Macedonian international had previously only made six league starts and
17 substitute appearances for the Baggies since his move to The Hawthorns 16
months ago.

But new boss Bryan Robson handed the 31-year-old a fiery top-flight baptism
in a five-man midfield in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

Sakiri, who had been in Skopje on Wednesday night captaining his country in
their World Cup qualifing defeat against Czech Republic, lasted 85 minutes
before being replaced by Thomas Gaardsoe.

"It was a busy week for me because I was away with Macedonia for a tough
game with Czech Republic," he said.

"But I was really happy to get the chance against Arsenal - it was a big
moment for me.

"I've always wanted to play in the Premiership.

"Now I'll do my best to keep my place by working hard."

The former CSKA Sofia claims the plucky point at the home of the champions
has renewed 19th-placed Albion's self-belief.

And he insists Robson's men should show no fear against Sir Alex Ferguson's
Champions League brigade.

"It was a really great result for us against Arsenal at Highbury," Sakiri

"Nobody was expecting it but all we did was our job and what the manager
asked of us.

"We believed we could get something and we did.

"Confidence is really good now so Saturday will be interesting.

"United over the years have always been one of the top two sides. But maybe
we've got a chance of getting something because we're playing well at the

"We need to start winning games to pull away from the drop zone."

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Robson waiting on AJ
BRYAN Robson is sweating on the fitness of Andy Johnson for Saturday's
sell-out clash against Manchester United (ko 3pm).

The former Wales midfielder suffered a hamstring injury in last weekend's
1-1 draw at Arsenal and wasn't able to train until yesterday (Wednesday),
when he suffered an adverse reaction.

Robson said: "Our only doubt is Andy Johnson, who is still carrying a knock
from Saturday.

"He was just feeling his hamstring a little bit and had a couple of days off
earlier in the week.

"He trained on Wednesday but had a slight reaction so we'll just have to see
how that settles down tomorrow. Hopefully, it will clear up and he'll be

"Everyone else is all right."

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Boss: Tough start will help judgement
By Oliver Bhurrut

BRYAN Robson insists his fiery baptism as Baggies boss can only help him
discover what characters he has in his squad as he prepares to face former
club Manchester United on Saturday (ko 3pm).

The new Hawthorns chief has already seen his troops turn in battling
displays against top-four duo Middlesbrough and Arsenal.

And although he is expecting a similar response against sixth-placed United,
he has challenged his men to maintain that standard against teams lower down
the Premiership.

"This is where you find out about the different characters in your team,"
said Robson.

"If I get the same type of performance from the boys against United as I did
against Arsenal that is all well and good.

"But it will be a different proposition when we play Portsmouth the
following week in terms of whether the players lifted their game to face
Arsenal, Middlesbrough and United.

"Will the players then be up for it when they face Portsmouth or are they
going to level off?

"It will give me a guide as to where they are as players."

Robson added: "It's important they're mentally prepared so they can enjoy
the task ahead of them.

"If they are, the lads will give a good account of themselves because the
things I know I can get from these lads are effort and work rate.

"But they know if they drop below that standard they will probably get

Robson did not reveal whether he would be sticking with the same XI against
Sir Alex Ferguson's Champions League hopefuls but claimed he would not
hesitate to make changes to fit his gameplan.

And the Baggies boss is looking for the same response he got from his trio
of substitutes at Highbury - Geoff Horsfield, Robert Earnshaw and Thomas
Gaardsoe - from any of his men waiting in the wings.

"Any player I leave out on Saturday will be upset because you come into the
Premiership to play in these big charisma games," he added.

"I try to communicate with the players as to why I leave them out and go a
certain way when we play against different teams. The players need to
understand that.

"They're not going to agree with me all the time but that's my decision as a
manager and they've got to get on with it.

"I was pleased at the way the three subs came on and looked sharp against

"Geoff Horsfield held the ball up well and worked very hard.

"Robert Earnshaw did exactly what we know he can do and got down the sides.
He's a threat all the time and scored a really good goal.

"Thomas Gaardsoe also came on, sat in front of the back four and did exactly
the job we wanted him to do.

"When you've got players who are coming off the bench and doing a job like
that, it is good for the squad."

United have injury problems after their midweek Champions League win against

Ruud van Nistelrooy picked up a calf strain and was substituted with 20
minutes to go while Gary Neville was replaced at half-time, suffering from a

Ryan Giggs is also on the treatment table after collecting a hamstring
problem in training.

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think it was always going to be a baptism of fire for Robson when he took charge, games v Middlesbrough, Arsenal then Man U.

Our next game is v Pompey IIRC.

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Robson delighted with 'Jonnos' double act
By Oliver Bhurrut

BRYAN Robson reckons he's got a right pair in Andy Johnson and Jonathan

The Baggies boss has partnered the duo in central midfield in his first two
games in charge of the Black Country club.

And he believes the combination of the two 'Jonnos', who appear to have
become good pals off the pitch, has worked well having picked up a point at
champions Arsenal last Saturday.

"I feel Jonathan doesn't go beyond people in wide positions but he's got
great energy levels and playing him centrally means he can use those levels
to a greater effect," said Robson.

"He and Andy Johnson have got a good bond, they seem as if they're friendly
off the pitch and that sometimes makes a difference to the way they perform
as a pair.

"If you've got a good work rate from your two central midfielders then you
have more of an effect on the game.

"If you've got a player who sits there all the time it is easier to play
against because the opposition can plan for it.

"Players who can do a sitting role and get forward are a bit more awkward to
plan against and that's what I want from those two.

"I want them to sit when they need to but attack when it's on to attack."

The Albion chief also reserved praise for Artim Sakiri after his all-action
Premiership debut at Highbury, which Pro Zone statistics backed up according
to Robson.

"I was impressed with the amount of distance Artim Sakiri covered on the
pitch which did surprise me a little bit," he added.

"I knew he sat in areas and his possession of the ball was very good but I
didn't realise he'd worked as hard as he did, which is pleasing.

"He's captain of his country and although he's not really been getting a
chance at Albion he showed a good mentality to come in and work really hard
for the team."

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·

West Brom v Man Utd

Saturday, 27 November
Kick-off: 1500 GMT

West Bromwich Albion have a doubt over midfielder Andy Johnson, who has a
hamstring problem.
Robert Earnshaw could return to the side after being dropped to the bench
for the game against Arsenal.

Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs have all
been passed fit.

But Gary and Phil Neville, and Cameroon midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba remain
doubtful after a virus swept through United's Carrington training complex.

West Brom (from): Hoult, Scimeca, Moore, Purse, Clement, Contra, Johnson,
Greening, Gera, Earnshaw, Kanu, Hulse, Horsfield, Koumas, Gaardsoe,
Albrechtsen, Robinson, Dyer, Sakiri, Kuszczak.
Man Utd (from): Carroll, Howard, G Neville, P Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre,
Brown, O'Shea, Heinze, Fortune, Ronaldo, Bellion, Keane, Scholes,
Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson, Fletcher, Giggs, Van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Smith.


a.. WEST BROMWICH ALBION are without a win in six, as they prepare to face
Manchester United, who have not lost in six. For Sir Alex Ferguson, it's his
1,001st match in charge of United. For his protégé, Bryan Robson, it's a
third match in the hot seat of the Black Country club.

a.. The Baggies take on the former champions, having held the current
champions in their last match. The 1-1 draw against Arsenal at Highbury,
when the home side had to rely on a howler from Albion keeper Russell Hoult
for their goal, will be a great boost to a club who've only recorded one
maximum in 14 League outings since returning to the Premiership. Albion need
to score just once, to bring their total in home League meetings with United
to exactly 100 goals.

a.. Albion knocked Manchester United 'Reserves' out of the Carling Cup with
a 2-0 Fourth Round victory at the Hawthorns last December. But their only
points in seven League meetings was 20 years ago, a 2-0 top flight home
victory on 31 March 1984.

a.. MANCHESTER UNITED head for the Midlanders after a night of great
celebration on Tuesday. Ruud van Nistelrooy ensured it was party time for
Sir Alex on becoming the 13th manager to pass the 1,000 milestone and the
third to do it with one club following Sir Matt Busby (Manchester United),
and Dario Gradi (Crewe).

a.. United have won their last four in all competitions, and the last two in
the Premiership. The defeat at Portsmouth is their only loss in 13 League
outings. They go into the match five places and nine points off the pace and
seven points behind second placed Arsenal.

a.. United had to come from behind to win this corresponding fixture 1-3 two
seasons ago. They were only in deficit to a Jason Koumas goal for 60
seconds. Ruud van Nistelrooy put them on terms and additional goals from
Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave the Red Devils a comfortable
victory. United hold a 100% Premiership record over the Baggies after two
meetings. They have 'doubled' the Midlanders in the last three seasons they
have met, but overall United lead the League head-to-head standings by only
41 wins with 37 with 24 draws.

Steve Bennett (Orpington)
a.. Steve Bennett will be in the middle for his first Premiership game
involving Manchester United this season. He was in control of West Brom's
2-2 draw at Southampton, and did not issue any cards to Baggies players.

19th 10 points
Highest realistically achievable after Saturday's games: 16th
Lowest could fall: BOTTOM

a.. Drawn three and lost three of the last six Premiership matches.
a.. The only win this season in 15 League and Cup games was 2-1, home to
Bolton in the Premiership on 2 October.
a.. One of three clubs to have picked up only one victory in the highest
League - Norwich and Blackburn are the others.
a.. Recorded only one win in 17 League games (Premiership and old Division
a.. Drawn half of their League games this season (seven of 14).
a.. Only Norwich have recorded more stalemates in the top tier (eight).
a.. Looking for an eighth win in 53 Premiership games.
a.. Picked up 36 points from 52 Premiership matches.
a.. Managed just one clean sheet in 14 League outings this term. Blackburn
are the only other club to have notched just one top tier shut-out this
a.. Recorded one block-out in 17 League games, and just one in 29
Premiership contests.
a.. Failed to score in three top division matches this season.
a.. Scored 13 goals in the highest League. Only Birmingham (11) and
Tottenham (12) have scored fewer.
a.. Two points inferior to this identical stage in their first and only
previous Premiership campaign, the season before last. Then they picked up
12 points after the first 14 games, and 12 after 15 also, but went down.
a.. Scored first in just three top League games. Only Norwich have managed
it less often (twice).
a.. Fallen behind from the opening whistle 10 times in the top tier this
term. Only one club has allowed the opposition to score first more often in
Premiership games - Blackburn (11).
a.. The weakest club in the second half of Premiership games.
a.. Their 13 Premiership goals have been scored by six different players.
Only Southampton have a similarly short scorers list.
a.. Second bottom in the Premiership's Current Form table with three points
from a possible 18, leading only Tottenham (no points).

a.. Seeking a fifth home victory in their Premiership history.
a.. Won only one home Premiership match this season (v Bolton).
a.. Scored only seven goals in seven League engagements at the Hawthorns.
a.. Kept just one clean sheet in home Premiership matches this season.
Blackburn are the only other club who can identify with that low number.
a.. Failed to score just once in a home League game. Only Arsenal and Bolton
have scored in all their home games in the top division.
6th 24 points
Highest achievable after Saturday's games: 4th
Lowest could fall: 7th

a.. Won the last three League and Cup games against Newcastle (1-3 a PL),
Charlton (2-0 h PL) and Lyon (2-1 h CL).
a.. Undefeated in six in all competitions.
a.. Won seven of the last nine competitive encounters.
a.. Lost one of the last 21 outings in the Premiership, Champions League and
Carling Cup.
a.. Lost only two Premiership matches this season. Only Chelsea and Arsenal
have been beaten once.
a.. Conceded 10 Premiership goals in 14 outings. Only Chelsea (six) have a
stronger defence.
a.. Recorded the joint longest unbeaten sequence in the Premiership this
season of nine games. Only Arsenal can match that.
a.. Managed six clean sheets in the top division. Only Chelsea (nine) and
Everton (seven) have kept more.
a.. Conceded the opening goal in four top tier matches. Only Chelsea (two)
and Arsenal and Aston Villa (three each) have allowed the opposition to
score first in fewer games.
a.. Completed three goalless draws in the top tier. Only Norwich and
Southampton equal that.

a.. Lost one of the last nine away League and Cup games.
a.. Lost one of the last six on their Premiership travels, and returned with
no points from just two League trips this season.
a.. Conceded seven League goals away from the Theatre of Dreams. Only
Chelsea (three), Everton (four) and Tottenham (five) have shipped fewer
goals on their top flight excursions.



a.. If he plays, Ronnie WALLWORK will be facing his former club.
a.. If involved, Bernt HAAS will be making his 50th appearance for the


a.. Ruud VAN NISTELROOY is the second highest scorer amongst Premiership
players this season with 11 goals, three behind Arsenal's Thierry HENRY.
Only three of the Dutchman's goals have been in the League and all three
from the penalty spot.
a.. If he lines-up for the kick off, VAN NISTELRROY will be making his 150th
start for the Old Trafford club.
a.. Roy KEANE needs one goal to total 50 for Manchester United.
a.. If he runs out, Phil NEVILLE will be making his 250th Premiership
appearance for the Red Devils.

League: WBA 37 wins, Man United 41, Draws 24
Prem: WBA 0 wins, Man United 2, Draws 0

League: WBA 26 wins, Man United 14, Draws 11
Prem: WBA 0 wins, Man United 1, Draws 0

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Scimeca, Purse, Moore, Clement,
Contra, Gera, Johnson, Greening, Sakiri,
Kuszczak, Hulse, Horsfield, Gaardsoe, Robinson.

Man U:
Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze,
Fletcher, Keane, Scholes, Giggs,
van Nistelrooy, Rooney.
Howard, Ronaldo, Smith, O'Shea, Fortune.

Ref: S. Bennett (Orpington)
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