View: Outstanding West Brom ace must repeat Spurs display v Manchester United
West Brom will need to be at their best defensively if they are to get something out of their trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
While United have scored just 12 goals so far this season, they have plenty of attacking talent in the shape of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
The two England men are both doubts and trained ahead of the match (via The Sun), but Edinson Cavani could play after scoring his first United goal against Everton.
Therefore, if the Baggies are to get a result they need to play well at the back and Semi Ajayi will be crucial.
Against Tottenham Hotspur in their last match, the Nigerian international was outstanding. Playing on the right side of a back three, the former Arsenal defender made five tackles, four interceptions and two aerial duels (via WhoScored).
Competing well against Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, Ajayi did a great job keeping the Spurs danger men away from the West Brom goal and limiting Jose Mourinho’s side to just three big chances (via InfoGol). The winner from Kane was largely the fault of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone too, whose premature movement off his line made the chance far easier.
Whether in a back three or four, Ajayi needs to meet the same level against United. Using his height and aggression to great effect, he is the Baggies defender that can best deal with the speed and trickery of Rashford and Greenwood.
Ivanovic has plenty of experience and can defend his box very well, but does not possess the speed or agility to handle United’s rapid attackers. The Serbian matches up far better with Cavani, but the speedy Daniel James could come in if Rashford or Greenwood miss out.
Slaven Bilic has rotated his defenders often this season and it is no surprise that Ajayi has played more than any other centre-back (via WhoScored). Against Spurs he was excellent and his boss needs a repeat performance if they are to get anything out of a difficult trip to Old Trafford.
In other West Brom news, this Man United star is fit to face Albion this weekend