Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by West Brom, despite dominating the game, and a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League remains in the balance.

Chris Brunt’s free-kick deflected off Jonas Olsson to stun Old Trafford and Robin van Persie passed up a golden opportunity to equalise when his penalty was saved by Boaz Myhill, and the keeper was magnificent throughout.

A sedate opening period, which saw the Reds fail to muster a shot in the first 10 minutes, included an effort by the returning Darren Fletcher that flew over the bar. For all the hosts’ possession, Joleon Lescott then headed straight at David De Gea after wrestling Antonio Valencia to the deck from a corner.

Van Persie, back in the starting XI after injury, spun to force an overly dramatic save out of Myhill but Ashley Young could not capitalise on the rebound, seeing his drive deflect off target via Craig Dawson. Myhill gathered another drive by van Persie safely enough and De Gea’s stop from Youssuf Mulumbu’s header was equally routine.

United’s best effort of the first half came when Young picked out van Persie but his instant left-footed shot whistled wide of Myhill’s right-hand post. Jonas Olsson blocked another van Persie attempt at source and, although a Valencia cross-shot thudded off Myhill, with Ander Herrera spectacularly firing the loose ball into the East Stand, there was precious little for the crowd to get excited about.

The fans did pay their respects to Rio Ferdinand’s family on a number of occasions, following the sad death of the former defender’s wife Rebecca, and saw more pressure applied after the interval but with no reward. Wayne

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