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West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United: 8th March 2014

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United: 8th March 2014

West Browich Albion v Manchester United

Manchester United kept their slim hopes of a top-four Premier League finish alive with victory over the Baggies.

A Rafael header was tipped onto the crossbar before United took the lead when Phil Jones powered in a header.

The Baggies exerted some pressure in search of an equaliser and striker Victor Anichebe angled a shot wide.

However, United secured the win when Wayne Rooney headed in from close range and Danny Welbeck provided a cool finish after a well-worked move.

Moyes praises ‘creative’ United

It was a comfortable victory for the visitors as they restored some pride after the 2-0 Champions League defeat by Olympiakos in their previous game, and avenged a 2-1 defeat by the Baggies in the reverse fixture in September.

The Red Devils are nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have two games in hand, and 11 adrift of both Liverpool and Arsenal, who – like United – have played 28 matches.

West Brom, meanwhile, are still searching their first win under Pepe Mel, who after seven matches in charge sees his side only above the relegation zone on goal difference, having won just once in 18 league games.

The Spaniard is coming under increasing pressure, with games against fellow relegation rivals Swansea, Cardiff and Norwich to come in the next month.

The first piece of goalmouth action came when United midfielder Marouane Fellaini’s header was nodded towards his own goal by Baggies skipper Chris Brunt, but Youssouf Mulumbu cleared off the goalline.

United soon went close again as Adnan Januzaj crossed to the far post, where the unmarked Rafael’s header was tipped onto the crossbar by Ben Foster.

The home side failed to heed the warnings and went behind when Robin van Persie whipped in a pacy free-kick and centre-back Jones powered a header past Foster.

The goal belatedly stirred Albion into producing a greater attacking threat, and Claudio Yacob sent an effort just over from close range, the ball flying off his shoulder.

Anichebe then held off Jones before turning and angling a shot wide as the home side went close again.

But Albion, who felt Van Persie should have been shown a second yellow for a challenge on Steven Reid, could not make the most of their chances and were punished when Rafael crossed for Rooney to head in at the far post.

Van Persie should have been off – Mel

Welbeck put the finishing touch to the victory when, after Fellaini and Rooney combined to tee him up, he controlled expertly before slotting past the advancing Foster.

West Brom boss Pepe Mel:

“Manchester United is a big club and a strong team but today, for us, it is about luck.

“We had three players come off injured and Van Persie not getting a second yellow is very important in the match.

“It is a yellow, but the referee is the boss.”

Manchester United manager David Moyes:

“It was more like it. We were more creative and played well. It’s never the easiest of places to come and we had lost to them earlier in the season so it was good to get a good result.

“We earned the right to be in front. When we did, we sort of controlled chunks of the game.

“I think the [Van Persie] tackle is a foul but not a second booking. If it is, we are all going soft.”

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