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United 2 West Brom 0: Swansea Win Puts United Top!

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As expected Manchester United defeated Roy Hodgson’s West Brom at Old Trafford yesterday, unexpectedly though Manchester City’s defeat away to Swansea ensured United in fact went one point clear at the top of the table.

West Brom to their credit started well and went close to taking the lead after five minutes but Keith Andrews couldn’t poke the ball in from close range following Liam Ridgwell’s enterprising ball into the area.

David De Gea was forced into a smart save shortly afterwards doing well to tip Andrews’ free-kick, which took a deflection of Jonny Evans, past his near-post and away to safety. Eventually though, United found their feet.

Welbeck was looking bright and shortly after heading a tough chance from a Young corner over the bar linked up brilliantly with his club and England team-mate with the winger seeing a shot blocked after the forward had released him with a back-heel.

Young was seeing more of the ball and it was hardly a surprise when after linking up well with Patrice Evra that he whipped in a ball across the box creating a chance for Rooney who could only flick the ball into the hands of Foster at his near-post.

That was a warning sign for West Brom and on 35 minutes United finally took the lead when Paul Scholes found Javier Hernandez in space out wide and the Mexican’s low-cross found Rooney who guided the ball past Foster for his 19th league goal of the season.

After the break, West Brom came out looking to find an equaliser and came close to winning a penalty when Peter Odemwingie tumbled to ground under an Evra challenge. However there was minimal contact and Lee Probert waved away the appeal from the visitors.

Straight away United broke forward and but for the inside of a post, Hernandez would have put United 2-0 up with his powerful strike unfortunately rebounding of the woodwork after beating Foster’s scrambled dive.

United were now dominating and shortly after Rooney saw an ambitious overhead kick saved by Foster, Welbeck guilty of missing a sitter against Norwich last month contrived to miss another fairly easy chance after edging past Foster poking a shot wide of an open goal

Any chance West Brom had of getting a point evaporated when their skipper Jonas Olsson already cautioned for a foul on Rooney was given a second booking for a foul on Hernandez. United as you’d expect took full advantage and doubled the lead.

Young burst into the area and despite going down slightly weakly under a challenge from Andrews, referee Probert awarded a penalty which Rooney struck into Foster’s bottom right-hand corner for his 26th goal of the season.

Paul Pogba came on for Scholes and made an impression, circling rumours that the French starlet had finally signed a new contract. West Brom had one more chance to get a consolation but De Gea kept out substitute’s Shane Long’s low strike

Young had a chance to get the goal that he deserved but couldn’t quite stretch enough to head in an Hernandez cross as mumbles inside Old Trafford confirmed that Swansea had gone 1-0 up against Manchester City through a Luke Moore header.

At full-time, United returned to the top of the league, but the hard-work now has begun to extend a one-point lead into a bigger margin and ultimately a margin that will become too big for Roberto Mancini’s side to claw back come May.

United: De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Jones, Young, Scholes (Pogba), Carrick, Hernandez, Rooney, Welbeck (Cleverley).

Star Man

Despite not getting on the score-sheet Hernandez was a threat and is looking back to the kind of form he was in during the second-half of last season when time and time again his goals won points. His cross for Rooney’s first was exceptional and on another day he could have scored twice and set up at least two more goals, but for bad finishing and the woodwork.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87