Manchester United set to wave goodbye to the real King

by Sam Peoples

A hectic fortnight for everyone associated with Manchester United comes to its conclusion on Sunday as does the 2012/13 Premier League campaign. Sir Alex announced his retirement, Paul Scholes quietly slips away, David Moyes takes charge at Old Trafford in July and United claimed a convincing 20th league title – all followed by a 1999 topping parade through the streets of Manchester to give Sir Alex Ferguson the sending off he deserves.

Manchester United’s 38th and final game of the season, in which they have collected 88 points from, finishes with a game at The Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion.

With the title already sealed and with four games to spare, on paper it won’t be one for the neutrals to savour but with it being Sir Alex Ferguson’s final match in charge, the spark is still there (along with some left-over tissues from last weekend’s farewell speech at Old Trafford).

What will we miss the most? The chewing gum? The squeaky bum time? The hairdryer treatment? Fergie Time? The Scotsman raving on at the fourth official on a bad call from the referee? For some of us, all of it. For others, none of it.

The last time these two sides met in December, little did any of us know what awaited us in May. A routine 2-0 victory to United thanks to an own goal from Gareth McAuley and a late goal from Robin van Persie maintained United’s seven point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table.

As confirmed in Ferguson’s last press conference, Anders Lindegaard will start in goal with a central duo of Jonny Evans and Phil Jones, a pair which ‘could be the future’ according to Sir Alex.

Antonio Valencia may well step in at right-back with the current shortage in the position thanks to Chris Smalling‘s injury and Rafael’s suspension.

Uncertainty remains whether Wayne Rooney will be involved at all after he was left out in Ferguson’s last home game against Swansea after he wasn’t ‘too keen’ to play, before Ferguson confirmed that Rooney had handed in a transfer request.

A war-cry of ‘I want to win this one more than last week’s even’ from Sir Alex Ferguson on Friday morning must have sent a shiver down the back of Steve Clarke, even in these circumstances. The winning mentality created by the Scot over the years has had his team playing from the first whistle to the very last.

And this Sunday at precisely 17:45 BST (excluding Fergie time), it will be just that.

Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Manchester United

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