29 min “Every minute that passes without a United goal just tightens the noose around Ole’s neck,” says Mary Waltz. “Unfair but reality.”
28 min Pereira pulled Martial’s shirt for a split-second, which is why he went down and appealed for a penalty. Sometimes they’re given, sometimes not.
27 min: No penalty. We haven’t seen a replay yet.
27 min That penalty appeal is being checked by VAR. Play continues for now.
26 min Martial appeals unsuccessfully for a penalty after a challenge by Pereira.
24 min Here’s some footage from a Manchester United supporters’ watch party.
23 min Fred’s through ball towards Martial is crucially intercepted by the last man Ajayi.
20 min: Just wide from Grant! More good play from West Brom. Pereira nutmegs Matic and slides a pass down the inside-right channel for Grant. He drives a low cross-shot that takes a slight touch off Lindelof and drifts just wide of the far post. From the resulting corner, Ivanovic heads over from six yards. He was running away from goal so it wasn’t much of a chance.
20 min That really was an outstanding save from Johnstone a few minutes ago. He’s quite a big lad but he got down so quickly.
19 min Townsend plays a nice give-and-go with Diangana, dances round Maguire in the area but then runs the ball out of play. West Brom will be pleased with how they’ve started this game.
16 min: Brilliant save by Johnstone! That was a lovely move from United. Maguire nicked the ball on the halfway line, surged forward and found Rashford on the left. He fizzed a square ball towards Bruno Fernandes, who was in a bit of space at the far post. Fernandes laid the ball off first time to Martial, who sidefooted a low first-time shot towards goal from eight yards. Johnstone got down superbly to his left to push it away.
15 min United can be such slow starters, especially at home, and tonight has been no different.
13 min Fernandes plays a good pass down the right to Martial. His low cross is slightly behind Rashford, who dummies the ball at the near post in the hope that Fred arrives in the area in time. He doesn’t.
12 min West Brom look quite bright going forward, Diangana and Gallagher in particular.
11 min United are already looking a bit frustrated, Bruno Fernandes in particular.
8 min Maguire moves forward with the ball and finds Rashford on the left. His inswinging cross just evades the stretching Fernandes and goes out for a goalkick. It’s been a scruffy start to the game.
5 min West Brom have had plenty of the ball in the first few minutes. I thought they might park the bus but that hasn’t happened yet.
2 min Martial beats three players down the right before being fouled by Barkley. Mata’s free-kick is headed on at the near post by Martial and pushed away by the diving Johnstone. That was a pretty good save.
1 min Peep peep! Bruno Fernandes gets the match underway for United, who are kicking from right to left.
West Brom are in their evocative yellow and green change strip. United are in red; both teams are wearing black armbands in tribute to Albert Quixall.
“Rob,” says Stig. “Appreciate that Utd are struggling, but would any of the WBA players make it into the Utd team?”
Ten minutes until kick-off. A victory would move United into the top half of the table, perhaps as high as seventh. If West Brom win they will move out of the relegation places.
In other news
Here’s more on a very good night for Jose Mourinho
United have won none of their last six league games at Old Trafford, which I think is their worst run since the bleak winter of 1989-90. They have plenty of incentive to win tonight, not least because it would move them above Manchester City. Solskjaer out!
United’s new left-back Alex Telles makes his Premier League debut. He is returning after Covid-19, as are Branislav Ivanovic and Matheus Pereira in the West Brom side. But West Brom have lost two more players to Covid, with the captain Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs unavailable.
Donny van de Beek is still only on the bench for United, while Paul Pogba isn’t in the squad. He has an ankle injury.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, Matic; Mata, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.
Substitutes: Henderson, Tuanzebe, Williams, James, McTominay, van de Beek, Cavani.
West Bromwich Albion (5-4-1) Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Ivanovic, Bartley, Townsend; Pereira, Sawyers, Gallagher, Diangana; Grant.
Substitutes: Button, O’Shea, Phillips, Harper, Krovinovic, Robson-Kanu, Robinson.
Referee David Coote.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Manchester United v West Brom from Old Trafford. It’s 14th versus 18th in the league - or, if you look at the relevant home and away tables, 19th versus 19th. Both teams have picked up one point in four games, with United scoring two goals and West Brom conceding 10. It’s the resistible force versus the movable object.
Most people will expect a comfortable home win; we always do when West Brom go to Manchester. But they have won three of their five games at Old Trafford since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, including a shock win in 2018 that confirmed Manchester City as champions.
It’s hard to know what constitutes a shock these days, particularly with a team as mercurial as United. They were excellent in their last league game, the 3-1 win at Everton, and if they score early tonight they could win handsomely. But if it’s still 0-0 after half an hour, all bets are off.
Kick off 8pm.