Manchester United got back to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday.
After long spells of fruitless first-half pressure from the Reds, the breakthrough finally came early in the second period when Jesse Lingard fired home a super finish, bagging his first goal for the club as his star continues to rise. Juan Mata then secured the victory from the spot in injury time as United stayed fourth in the league, notching a sixth clean sheet in seven in the process.
Louis van Gaal named an unchanged side from the XI that had overcome CSKA Moscow in midweek, although Cameron Borthwick-Jackson became the latest youngster to be included in the Dutchman’s 16, following Axel Tuanzebe’s appearance on the bench against Crystal Palace last week.
Keen to build on the aforementioned Champions League win, the Reds started brightly and dominated possession, though did little to trouble Boaz Myhill’s goal in the opening 10 minutes. The first chance of note came just after the 15-minute mark, when Michael Carrick found Wayne Rooney, who turned well and was able to prod ball into the path of Mata. The Spaniard arced his body to curl a shot past the reaches of Myhill, but also narrowly past the post.
Meanwhile, West Brom, who fielded a side containing Old Trafford old boys Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans, continued to defend with the tirelessness and commitment that those players had come to embody during their time at United, frustrating the home side for long periods. With the Baggies happy to sit back and soak up the play, the onus was on United to break them down, yet, despite the relentless pressure and possession, few clear-cut chances were created.