Monday 16 April 2018

Match report: United 0-1 West Brom

United again proved the epitome of inconsistent as a solitary goal from Jay Rodriguez saw the Baggies emerge victorious from Old Trafford for the third time in five seasons.The Reds lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous as doomed bottom club Albion - under the temporary tutelage of caretaker boss Darren Moore - prolonged their relegation and handed the title to City in the process.

After the high octane drama of a magnificent climb off the canvas victory in the derby last time out, United were overwhelming favourites for a far more routine win against a West Brom side who will be a Championship side next season. But the team never got going and struggled for fluidity throughout as the visitors won for only the fourth time all season. The Reds almost exclusively dominated possession and territory, but were unable to make this superiority count in key areas and paid the price as the Baggies stole a shock smash and grab win.

David de Gea saved well from Jake Livermore before United had a strong shout for a penalty waved away by Paul Tierney when Ander Herrera went down under a challenge from Craig Dawson. Former Red Ben Foster was then called into action twice in as many minutes as United finally began to threaten. He first denied Romelu Lukaku in an orthodox manner with his face, before he blocked well with his leg from Alexis Sanchez on the rebound. United's threat disappointingly petered out and allowed Albion to recover.

United boss Jose Mourinho was clearly frustrated by the team's first half showing and made a change at the interval as Herrera was replaced by Jesse Lingard. It was a switch that almost paid dividends within minutes as the lively Lingard collected the ball and drove forward, only to see his shot blocked by Ahmed Hegazi from close range. Foster tipped a Lukaku header to safety with a superb reflex save and Nemanja Matic went close from distance, but - with Marcus Rashford brought on in a final throw of the dice - WBA stunned Old Trafford and took a shock lead on 73 minutes.

Dawson and Matic contested a high ball from a Chris Brunt corner, and the Serb could only inadvartently flick the ball back into the six yard box into the path of Rodriguez, who stooped to nod in from five yards. Come from behind victories have proved a common occurence for United of late, but this time there was to be no late twist in the tale as the Baggies held on for a first win since January. It will come too late to save them, but nevertheless it was another win at OT and they are quickly becoming our 'bogey' side.

Overall team performance: 6/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku 

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