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Premier League Preview: Manchester United v Birmingham City

Birmingham face a long afternoon at Old Trafford

Manchester United are looking to get back to winning ways after a 0-0 draw away at Tottenham Hotspur.

United were made to withstand large spells of pressure during the match against Spurs and Harry Redknapp’s team missed a very good chance to end United’s unbeaten run this season.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking for a response and there could be one or two tweaks to the line up for the visit of Birmingham. Few players, apart from the back line, came out of the game against Spurs with any credit.

There is no doubt that United will go with a 4-4-2 formation that should see Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov leading the attack. Ferguson will be looking for an emphatic win and both of these players have looked more comfortable playing at home so far this season.

Rafael will not play any part in the game after he was sent off for two yellow cards in the match against Spurs. He was then charged with improper conduct for his reaction to the decision, which means he could be out of the side for a few games. John O’Shea or Gary Neville will come in to replace him.

There could be a slight change in the middle of the team with one of Darren Ferguson or Michael Carrick being dropped for Anderson. The Brazilian will offer more flair and creativity going forwards and this was missing from the team at White Hart Lane.

The problem against Spurs was that there was very little support from the midfield when the side were forced to counter attack. Ferguson and Carrick can both have very defensive mindsets and this means someone like Anderson will be more useful to exploit the pockets of space that either of the strikers create.

Ryan Giggs is due a rest as he’s now 37-years-old and has played a lot of games in a confined period of time. However, the absence of Park Ji-Sung because of the Asian Cup could mean that Ferguson has little choice but to play Giggs for another game.

The club does not have any fresh long-term injury worries. Antonio Valencia is improving on course and will be itching to get out of the treatment room to add width to the United team. For Owen Hargreaves it’s the same old story as his battle against a knee and hamstring injury continues.

Ferguson could approach this game with caution and playing Rooney up top will allow the team to drop to a five man midfield if Birmingham prove difficult to break down. However, when United have had a dodgy display in the past, Ferguson has always asked for an attacking response and the omens are good ahead of this clash.

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