Manchester United made light work of West Brom at Old Trafford with a comfortable 2-0 victory. Helped by the sending off of Jonas Olsson with 25 minutes to play, they passed their opponents into the ground with constant threat from the flanks.
David De Gea – 7/10 – The Spaniard had very little to do today. A good save on 17 minutes, and several decent catches in the second half ensured that he finally kept the clean sheet that his last few performances have deserved.
Phil Jones – 7/10 – Jones was always a good outlet for his team-mates. His surging runs up the right where always dangerous and he understandably got more and more space after Olsson was sent off.
Jonny Evans – 8/10 – United’s often criticised centre-back (wrongly in my opinion) was superb today. Admittedly he didn’t have his toughest afternoon, but he dealt with the strength of Fortune very well and was always confident enough to bring the ball out into the West Brom half – usually picking a good pass.
Rio Ferdinand – 7/10 – Ferdinand is forming a very good partnership with Evans at the moment. He was comfortable on the ball and dealt with what little he had to do, with ease.
Patrice Evra – 7/10 – The French left-back was perhaps a bit lucky not to give a penalty away in the second half, but apart from that he was pretty solid defensively. His supporting runs from left-back were important in United’s dominance and he was in the opponents penalty area more than in his own half.
Danny Welbeck – 8/10 – Welbeck started in an unfamiliar right-wing role today, but was flexible with his positioning, swapping with Hernandez on occasion. The England striker came inside often to devastating effect. His dribbling and pace, as well as his movement off the ball gave the West Brom defence a nightmare. The only thing missing was a goal, which he should have scored on 59 minutes, but he missed the an open target from eight yards out.
Michael Carrick – 8/10 – Carrick was superb in the first half, as he and Paul Scholes epitomised United’s dominance. His first time passing and confidence in possession was noticeable. Things became a lot easier in the second half.
Paul Scholes – 7/10 – To be honest Scholes was just as good as Carrick for much of the game. He controlled possession and was always available for his team-mates to pass to. His subtlety around the box was a joy to watch.
Ashley Young – 9/10 – The England international was the best player on the pitch on Sunday afternoon. He put in some very dangerous deliveries and had Gabriel Tamas tied in knots throughout the first half. In the second period, he continued to torment West Brom as his confidence grew and won a penalty with a neat step-over in the box after 70 minutes. He will be disappointed he didn’t get on the score-sheet, but this was a very impressive performance.
Wayne Rooney – 9/10 – Rooney was probably just pipped to the Man of the Match award by Ashley Young despite his two goals. Rooney grew into the game and linked up with Hernandez brilliantly at times. He was always looking for the ball and in the second half he exploited the extra space after Olsson’s sending off, to great effect.
Javier Hernandez – 7/10 – This was a very good performance from Hernandez. His movement and link-up play with Rooney kept the opposition on their toes throughout, and he was always a threat in-behind. All that was missing for Hernandez today was a goal, which he should definitely have got in the second half, after several good chances.
Paul Pogba (on for Scholes, 73) – 6/10 – The United youngster looked assured and confident in possession. His appearance today hopefully means that he may still sign a new deal at Old Trafford, but it is a case of wait and see.
Tom Cleverley (on for Welbeck, 77) – 6/10 – Cleverley didn’t really have enough time to influence the game, but he did get into some good positions in and around the box. His one and two touch play is very impressive and it was a good cameo from the youngster.
Ben Foster – 7/10 – United didn’t create many clear-cut chances in the first half, but a few good catches from Foster would have given his defence confidence. After the break, a couple of very good saves kept it at 1-0 for a while, before United inevitably added a second. Not much more the West Brom goalkeeper could have done.
Gabriel Tamas – 5/10 – The Romanian international had a torrid time dealing with Ashley Young throughout the game, particularly in the first half. At the beginning of the second period he managed to escape and help out the attack on a couple of occasions, but after West Brom were reduced to ten men, it was back to his defensive duties, which he carried out okay.
Gareth McAuley – 6/10 – McAuley held his concentration well as wave after wave of United attack rained down on West Brom’s goal. A couple of good blocks and interceptions will have given him confidence, but the movement of Hernandez and Welbeck was troublesome and he wasn’t helped by his central defensive partner’s sending off midway through the second half.
Jonas Olsson – 5/10 – Olsson, like McAuley, wasn’t doing too badly in dealing with United’s attack in the first half. A needless foul on Rooney earned him a yellow card, and a silly lunge on Hernandez as the Mexican turned him, saw the Swede given his marching orders – effectively ending West Brom’s slim chances of a fight-back.
Liam Ridgewell – 5/10 – The former Birmingham defender was good in the first period. He was always willing to support the attack and dealt with Welbeck when the United man stayed wide. In the second half though, he was bypassed time and again, as simple one-twos between Rooney, Welbeck and Jones allowed United to burst down the right flank time and again.
Peter Odemwingie – 5/10 – The Nigerian international failed to ever really get into this game. For ten minutes at the beginning of both halves, he tried to dribble at the United defence and was marginally successful but it was difficult for him as West Brom were on the back foot throughout. He was a bit unlucky not to get a penalty after Evra appeared to trip him inside the box, in the second half.
James Morrison – 6/10 – Morrison put a lot of effort into this game. In the first half, he got into some good attacking positions and caused United a few problems, but as the home team’s dominance grew, it became harder and harder for him.
Keith Andrews – 4/10 – The game completely bypassed Andrews. Despite playing three centre-midfielders, West Brom never really got a hold of the ball for a prolonged period. Andrews was almost anonymous apart from fouling Ashley Young in the penalty area, to give away the second-half penalty which sealed the United win.
Youssuf Mulumbu – 5/10 – Mulumbu also worked hard in this game, protecting the back four as much as he could, but after Olsson’s sending off, it became an impossible ask.
Chris Brunt – 4/10 – Brunt had a poor game by his standards. He is coming back from injury and it showed, as he tired in the second half. Even his set-piece delivery wasn’t very good.
Marc-Antoine Fortune – 5/10 – The former Celtic front-man did his best to hold up the ball and bring team-mates into play. In the second half he struggled more and more to get into the game as Jonny Evans started to dominate him, and he was eventually subbed.
Paul Scharner (on for Andrews, 72) – 5/10 – Scharner came on to try and sure up the defence and in keeping the score to 2-0, you could say he did that, but United were playing in second gear by that time.
Nicky Shorey (on for Brunt, 72) – 5/10 – Shorey couldn’t really do much by the time he came on. Phil Jones had the right hand side to himself for the last half hour.
Shane Long (on for Fortune, 77) – 6/10 – Long did well when he came on. His movement and pace gave United something different to thing about and he was a willing runner. He did well to get a shot away and force a decent save from De Gea late on.
Man of the Match: Ashley Young
Goals: Rooney, 35, pen. 71.
Referee: Lee Probert
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