Match Report: West Brom 0-3 Manchester United

West Bromwich Albion 0 Manchester United 3

United cruising to an easy victory has been an all too unfamiliar experience this season, but the Reds produced arguably their best Premiership performance to give themselves that luxury at the Hawthorns and run out comfortable winners thanks to goals from Jones, Rooney and Welbeck.

For once, we were playing a team on an even worse run of form than ours. West Brom hadn’t won a game since New Year’s Day and in the first half they looked predictably nervy, defending deep and with only intermittent forays into the United half.. The Reds fielded something very close to our best side, with Januzaj, Mata and Rooney tucked in behind Van Persie, with Evra and Rafael playing high up the pitch to provide width going forward. There were some clever inter-changes between the front four early in the game, though service from the wings was poor until Januzaj delivered a peach of a cross in the 29th minute to find the head of Rafael, whose header was tipped onto the bar by Ben Foster.

It was service from the other side that soon provided United with the breakthrough. Rafael was upended by Brunt on the right and, from the resulting free kick, Van Persie supplied a simple but deadly ball that found the head of Jones, who powered home unchallenged by the Baggies’ defence. Until then, West Brom had possessed no more than an occasional challenge on the break, usually supplied by the powerful Anichebe, but now they pushed forward with greater purpose; Yacob came close to levelling the scores when he rose to head just over the bar, as did Anichebe himself when he turned and fired a shot narrowly wide.

Despite those efforts, United remained the better team and a major decision went against them when Foster’s clear handball outside the box just before half-time was ignored by the officials. The hand denied Van Persie a clear goalscoring chance following a sublime cross-field ball from Mata and was a clear sending off offence. Apparently the ref didn’t give it because he didn’t regard it as deliberate handball, which is a curious interpretation. Foster allowed his arm to dangle and for the ball to hit it: that’s handball – ask Harry Kewell in the last World Cup.

West Brom fans felt similarly aggrieved when the ref failed to show a second yellow card to Van Persie after a classic forward’s tackle just outside the home team’s area: although the Dutchman got a foot to the ball, there was no questioning the clumsiness of the challenge. The incident raised the volume in the stadium and preceded a frenetic period of play in which both sides came close to scoring. Anichebe fired a dangerous effort across the United area, which Mata half-cleared before Carrick supplied an uncompromising block when the ball was returned. Soon after, it was United’s turn to be thwarted when Fellaini’s shot found the body of a Baggies defender between it and the goal.

It was the Reds, however, who continued to look the more composed, with Fellaini and Carrick showing signs of gelling as a central midfield partnership and closing a firm door on most of West Brom’s attempts to get forward. It gave a secure platform from which United could produce the simple but devastating move that brought a crucial second goal, Rooney laying the ball off wide to Rafael before meeting the full-back’s cross to double the lead in emphatic style. Rooney was involved again in the third, supplying the final stage of a lengthy passing move to put in Welbeck, a substitute for Van Persie, who grabbed his tenth goal of the season with a sweet finish.

A win against weak opponents, perhaps, but there was no denying we saw more glimpses of the old United in this game than has been the case for a long time. Alongside the dominant performance in midfield and some impressive passing moves further up the field we can place a third consecutive clean sheet in the Premiership. There are, of course, some much bigger games on the horizon, but something close to the starting XI today keeping fit for the rest of the campaign might give David Moyes an opportunity to see out the remainder of the season on an unanticipated high.

14 Comments

  1. Look how sweet the team played when Kagawa came on…….need a lot more of that……………..with Mata central

  2. +9999999 peter… but i am genuinely baffled at how firstly carrick was MOTM, and why he is continually played. his performance is not influential and of no benefit to the team.

    fellaini was left alone to control the midfield, and did fantastic! more matches, he could genuinely be really good.

    yes we won 3-0, but for a team in such bad form, we should have dictated the match better. dont get me wrong, better than previous games, but that form may not be enough against liverpool or overcoming olympiakos.

    stand by what i have said, carrick out, kagawa in. our attack lacks a clever passer and mover to orchestrate attack… this is kagawa!!!

    glad to see that back 4… genuineoy believe its our current strongest.

    • like i said… i dont know how he got MOTM! im baffled by it!!! makes no sense!!

      the honest truth is the whole season uniteds midfield has been terrible. what has been the only consistent thing throughout… carrick has been there!!!

      at what point will people realise having a player of his attributes is whats holding us back. vs west brom, meh… much better but seriously its a team seriously struggling that still had great opportunities to score. that should never have been the case full stop!

      carrick should never have been motm, he shouldn not even be in the starting line up… everyone around carrick has been swapped and changed, and the results have still been mediocre or terrible. he is at the heart of the team, and is acting like a lead weight!

      trust me… swap him for kagawa, make fellaini the holding player which recently he has been doin fairly well… and we flourish like crazy!

      utd only need one holding player MAX!!! were an attacking team! we need to get the most from rooney, and this cant be done by aking him compensate for carrick hiding behind the back 4 all the time!

    • So you are saying play 4 number 10’s and 1 striker with Fellaini our 1 holding midfield player. Seriously, think about that. We have struggled in midfield all season and you want to remove players?!

      If we played that formation we will get battered. How is Fellaini meant to control midfield on his own when we have struggled with 2 or more players being there this season?

      You need someone to create and supply from center midfield and before you go banging on about Kagawa playing in that position, he can’t. If he could Fergie or Moyes would have played him there already.

      I like Kagawa, he has the potential to be an important player at United and i would prefer him to start against Olympiacos over Young and Tony all day long. but you need balance in a team. Our midfield does need improving with a quality CM but to remove a player in midfield and replace him with a number 10 just sounds like you’re putting square pegs in round holes.

    • rooney is not a no 10… he is a striker! everyone keeps branding him as this no 10 but i ask you this, is he realy effective in that position? look back at the season when he played as a striker, he was magnificent then, now he only shows glimpses of greatness. and my point is the full backs need to stop being as attacking as they currently are. yes attack, but focus more on actually defending. my point is that we rely on defenders to produce attacks, but that is not their strength! and in turn they are becoming a weakness in our defense.

      look at city, chelsea arsenal, liverpool, do they have natural wingers? no! are they actually being far more successful? YES!

      rooney is a striker! there is nothing else that should be said! playing him as a number 10 is simply putting square blocks in round holes!

      kagawa kanujaz mata trio behind 2 strikers are there to dictate attacks and maintain possession. janujaz is best further out wide, but kagwa and mata can also be effective there is needed. my point is that these three will interchange and move providing variety and unpredictability.

      fellaini will be the sole holding midfielder, but like i said, the defenders will be further back anyway so defending will be less of a responsibility on the midfield!

      to put it simply fergie was getting it wrong at the end. think of it logically, defnders first job is to defend! attack should be left to those in front. by removing the one defensive midfielder (carrick) who in all honesty barely does anything anyway, we actually gain 2 more defnders because the full backs can defend more, and we get a more natural attack that covers the full width, and rooney can drop back faaaaaaaarrrrrrr less!!!

      my point is this change is needed, but also the structure of the team!

  3. This is as close a positive team selection as we will get from Moyes.

    Jones and Smalling as a centreback partnership.

    Mata, Rooney and Januzaj as attacking midfielders, with Kagawa sub for these three (until he leaves at the end of the season).

    RVP or Welbeck up front.

    Fellaini looking better in the middle.

  4. As usual Evra got beat more than once. His defensive errors could have been converted into goals.

    Whoever said Mata doesn’t do enough defensively? He does not need to be tackling or dispossessing opponents. As an attacking player he just has to be challenging for the ball, getting behind and jamming the passing lanes, and just be another body between the goal. Plus, he made a goal saving block. He did very well.

    Smalling and Jones at the back kept the clean sheet. Although they made mistakes, they recovered. The best part was they had speed. If it was Ferdinand and Vidic, they surely would have been outpaced and surely a goal would have been conceded. With pacey center backs, the full backs can join in the attack.

    Both Carrick and Fellaini slow the game down. But I’d put more blame on Carrick for the walking pace. I think last year when both were injured, ManU played a fast paced passing game. Fellaini did more running, box to box, more like end to end. He helped in both attack and defense.

    Januzaj is the best crosser in the team.

    Rooney’s goal was vintage ManU. 1-2 with Mata, cross by Rafael, header by Rooney. Goal!

    After the 2nd goal, ManU didn’t want to attack anymore. Thank goodness for the substitutions.

    Welbeck’s goal was a slow pace tiki-taka. It was a nice finish.

    In the first half, there was no movement in attack. No 1-2 passing. ManU players just standing around. So clear in the 23rd minute. Also ManUs attack and counter attack were slow paced.

    • very good points! personally i believe the main issue is our full backs have to be sooooo attacking. granted we did get a goal from this, but its rare this happens for us.

      let defenders defend is what i say. evra rafael need to support the CBs, let everyone in front of them actually attack.

      carrick was a wasted man on the pitch, if RVP was sent off, we would have been down to 9 not 10.

      people keep including rooney as a no 10 or attacking midfielder, but hes terrible at this. he needs to be a striker that mingles with the midfield. yes hes good at getting back to provide that extra number, but hes best suited pushing the defense of the opposition.

      fellaini has shown he has much to offer as that holding midfielder. he gets back and presses high up, good physical presence that should get better.

      kagawa is a master dictator, he is a xavi/iniesta that we need to utilise.

      de gea
      rafael smalling jones evra (all keeping back and concentrating on keeping a strong back 4)
      fellaini (holding a being a strong influential presence)
      mata kagawa janujaz (interchanging and passing around the opponents
      rooney/RVP/welbeck/hernandez (strikers but doing what they ned to with the midfield to really create levelled and clever passing attacks)

      this is the formula for an unbeatable team, yes unbeatable! but moyes needs to have the balls to see past carricks history and realise he is a mere shadow of all his hype.

  5. Fellaini finally started proving his worth. I know he just need time. Now u will see he will start scoring goal too

  6. If van persie want to go then let him. They can make a swap deal with arsenal and bring ozil to us! Just imagine mata,kagawa,januzaj,ozil,rooney

  7. Carrick MOTM? More like Man On The Middle. I don’t think he was. He didn’t do any match winning moves. He did do some defensive goal saving blocks. I think a computer program chooses MOTM made by EA sports. hahahaha

    I’m thinking Fellaini, Rafael, De Gea for MOTM.

    Useless MOTM is RVP… hehehe Mercenary bought by SAF to win the league in his last season. Not loyal to ManU. Has no love for ManU, just plays for pay. History and experience has shown that players that love and are loyal to ManU are ones that bring in the trophies. Even when they leave, they have genuine love for ManU. Just look at the old players, coaches, management, etc. they show support when the times are tough.

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