Manchester United have only one more game left with the familiar figure of Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm, which is against West Brom in the last fixture of the 2012-13 season. With the Premier League title already sewn up, the Red Devils could usually be tempted to take their foot off the gas, but in this case will want to end the legendary Scottish manager’s 26-year tenure with three points.
Speculation over who would take over from Ferguson in the Old Trafford hotseat was rife, with the odds constantly changing and the favourite tag swapping between David Moyes and Jose Mourinho. The Everton boss vindicated many punter’s free sports bets by being crowned as his countryman’s successor, and will take over at United after this game.
West Brom have had an up-and-down campaign, but will look to record a positive result here to secure a place in the top half of the table. Despite this, the Baggies have not beaten United since their return to the top flight of English football. The teams have squared up 14 times since 2002, with United winning 12 of the encounters and drawing twice.
The current West Brom side has some players that could worry United should they not be at their best. Romelu Lukaku is one that has shown promise at the Hawthorns this term, and the Belgian’s enviable blend of speed, power and eye for goal will need to be curtailed by the visiting centre-backs. It is likely that Lukaku will play against United for parent club Chelsea next term after a loan spell with West Brom.
It will be an emotional day for Ferguson and the United fans, as they part company after a long standing and successful time together. The travelling support have the honour of witnessing the Scottish boss’ last game in charge, and will undoubtedly give their manager the send off that he deserves.
Paul Scholes is also set to retire this summer, and as such this will be his last game donning the red of United. The talented midfielder will leave quite the hole in the club’s midfield, with the transfer priority this summer to buy a deep-lying playmaker good enough to soften the blow of the former England star’s absence.
Scholes has won 11 Premier League titles with the club and played his entire career at Old Trafford, and should also receive a fitting send-off.
Usually this would be a nothing game for United, however in this case it is important that the side go out and get three points for those that won’t be with the club next term.