West Brom Set to Continue Riding High?

Things are looking pretty right now for Tony Pulis and his merry band of Premier League superstars. Eighth in the table and seven points clear of Stoke in ninth, it appears the Baggies are on for a record haul of points and their highest-ever finish in the Premier League.

Head coach Pulis often has a reputation as a “firefighter” at the expense of good football; however, that reputation is often unfair.

After all, the Welshman has never been relegated as a manager and is perhaps not gaining enough credit for turning West Brom from potential relegation candidates to potential Europa League competitors since taking over the reins in 2015.

What Does the Rest of the Season Hold?
Safety assured and seemingly a top ten spot in the bag, what can Baggies fans look forward to from now until May?


Darren Fletcher has defended his teammate David de Gea by saying that the Spanish goalie should not be criticized for the mistake that he committed towards the end of the Capital One Cup game against Sunderland.

United were ahead by 1-0 in that match and were well on their way to secure a win, but, with just about a couple of minutes to go, the Black Cats managed to level the scores courtesy de Gea’s fumble. However, that didn’t make much of a difference as moments later, the Red Devils managed to restore their lead with a Javier Hernandez goal. But, despite that goal, they didn’t make it to the final of the tournament as the aggregate score of the semi final tie had become 3-3. So, the tie eventually went into the penalty shootouts in which United lost.

Just as the game ended, people started criticizing de Gea, but, Fletcher doesn’t think it’s fair. According to him, the Spaniard has been terrific right since the summer and to bash him for just one mistake is a bit harsh.


Darren Fletcher made his return to the playing fields in the main team of Manchester United, something he had not done since 2012 as his bowel condition had restricted him to a limited number of appearances not only this season but some years ago as well.

It was a condition that has plagued him for the past 2 years but the midfielder made his long awaited return during Manchester United’s match against Aston Villa as he came on as a substitute and he is nothing but confident and determined to get his career back rolling in full force.

“This is it, I’m back for good. This is hopefully the game which means I’m back now. I seem to have come through the setbacks and health issues and I’m thankful for that. It’s onwards and upwards now’’.
“I always believed I would come back, I kept that mindset. I think other people around me were trying to make me think otherwise, but I stayed strong and believed I would get back. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to play football. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play for Manchester United and wasn’t going to give that up lightly’’. Fletcher added


There is some good news for Darren Fletcher fans. The Scotland captain who has been completely out of action since the last 9 months is slowly getting back to 100% fitness. He has even started to train with the first team of his club Manchester United and that’s definitely a big positive for him.

However, the Red Devils boss David Moyes has made it clear that there is no chance of Fletcher returning to action in near future.

Fletcher has actually been struggling with his health since the last couple of years. Towards the end of 2011, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and since then, he hasn’t been able to make too many appearances for United. The last time that Fletcher had featured in Manchester United shirt was on December 26 last year. That was a game against Newcastle United and the Red Devils had won it by a close margin of 4-3.

Fletcher went through operation at the start of this year because of which he couldn’t play any match for United in the second half of the last season.

Fletcher to miss start of season for United

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher is on the road to recovery after a bowel surgery this summer but still expects to miss the start of the new season under David Moyes.

The 29 year old Scottish international midfielder has been out of action since Boxing Day last year and in January, he underwent a surgery for a long standing problem of ulcerative colitis. And when asked when he would me making his return, the Scotland captain stated that he hopes to be back soon and expects it to be not too late into the start of the season. He added that he thought that he would just miss the beginning of the season.

Fletcher was given an extended break from the game by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson back in December 2011 for a chronic bowel disease and the problem flared up again next year which forced Darren Fletcher to undergo surgery in January. He stated that he has had the condition for five years but it had become hard to control over the last three years.


After taking charge as United manager, David Moyes is looking to strengthen the defense of his team straightaway. He is close to signing the centre-back of Benfica Ezequiel Garay.

According to the reports, both the clubs have agreed on a transfer fee of 17 million Pounds and the deal is set to be finalized in a couple of days.

With Rio Ferdinand in his mid thirties and with question marks over the fitness of Nemanja Vidic, Garay might prove to be a vital player for United in their title defense next season.

Garay has been playing for Benfica since the last couple of years. He had joined the Portuguese club in July 2011 after leaving Real Madrid. Benfica had paid a transfer fee of 5.5 million Euros for buying Garay.

In the last season, Garay was in fabulous nick for Benfica. He helped his team cruise into the final of Europa League with some fine performances. Benfica didn’t eventually manage to win the Europa League though. They got defeated by Chelsea in the final.

During his tenure at Benfica so far, Garay has played a total of 51 matches and has scored 3 goals.
Meanwhile, United is also linked with the Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara.


Manchester United managed to extend their lead at the top of the table to 15 points following the 1-0 win over Reading during the weekend.

Due to the fact that there are only a handful of games remaining in the league campaign, there has been suggestions that United may become complacent due to this huge advantage. However, the manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that the club will not repeat the mistakes of the last season. United managed to throw away an eight point advantage last season, as they lost the title on the final day on goal difference.

There are only nine matches left in the campaign, but Ferguson has said that they will be treating all the remaining nine matches with the most importance. He has reminded his players that they will not be getting any medals if they are complacent. He has also said that the 15 point advantage is not something that has been created overnight, but it reflects the dominance United have had in the league for the past six months. The same sentiments were echoed by the United captain Nemanja Vidic. He has recalled how United lost the title last season, and how it has had a huge effect on them this season.

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United

Table toppers Manchester United kick off 2013 by welcoming to Old Trafford a Wigan Athletic side sitting just one point clear of the relegation zone.

The hosts go in to the game on the back of Saturday’s impressive 3-0 victory over Aston Villa; a result which saw them leap-frog Paul Lamberts men and climb out of the bottom three.

Roberto Martinez is set to name an unchanged side, as Antolin Alcaraz, Albert Crusat, Antonio Lopez, Ryo Miyaichi and Ben Watson remain side-lined.

Striker Arouna Kone grabbed his sixth goal of the season at the weekend, and the Ivorian is widely available at 11.0 (10/1) to open the scoring.

Wigan are as highly priced as 6.25 (21/4) with Bet Victor to take the points, with United odds on at 1.62 (8/13) with the same firm. The draw is 4.33 (10/3) with Ladbrokes.

The visitors made it eight games unbeaten with their 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion last time out, a result that maintained their seven point advantage at the top of the division.


The Scotland international team captain Darren Fletcher has said that he is extremely looking forward to getting some period of stability for the national team. The Scotland football Association recently sacked the manager Craig Levein after a run of poor results that left the team in danger of failing to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup even at this early stage in the qualification campaign. The likes of Wales and Belgium have been able to get off to a good start in the campaign. Scotland are searching for the sixth manager during the time of Darren Fletcher as a first-team regular.

This is not ideal for the team according to the Manchester United midfielder, who has called for some stability to be introduced into the system. Berti Vogts gave the midfielder his debut for the Scotland national team, but since then, Fletcher has played for numerous managers including Craig Levein. Fletcher has also highlighted that the next manager could do with a bit more luck than the former manager. He has said that the performance and the effort put in by the players during the period of the manager has not always translated into results on the pitch.


The manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, has said that Darren Fletcher could feature for United in the match against Wigan Athletic which is going to be played on Saturday. Fletcher hasn’t played any regular season match for United in the last 1 year. His last match for United was against Benfica in November last year.

After that, he came to know that he was suffering from Ulcerative Colitis which is a very dangerous disease. He had to miss the remaining part of the last season due to this disease. He was expected to miss the first half of the current season as well. But, he has shown great determination and has managed to comeback much before the expectations of the people.