Manchester United made it three Premier League wins on the bounce with a 2-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
José Mourinho’s side are now ten games unbeaten in all competitions as they look to recover from a slow start to the season and nail down a Champions League place at the very least this campaign.
Tony Pulis’s West Brom had only suffered defeat once in the past six games – a 1-0 loss at Chelsea – but in truth they never really got going here. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s header after just five minutes took the wind out of the home sails, and although they showed more fight in the second half, most of that happened after Ibrahimovic had doubled Man United’s lead.
Man United now move level on points with Tottenham, with Spurs playing against Burnley tomorrow, and have clawed their way back into the thick of the top four race.
But how did each individual player fare?
West Bromwich Albion Player Ratings
Ben Foster – 7: Could do nothing for either goal, and made a decent stop from Rooney in the first half.
Craig Dawson – 6.5: Energetic, and took advantage of the time and space afforded to him offered by Darmian and Rooney.
Gareth McAuley – 6: Perhaps at fault for Ibrahimovic’s first goal, but the veteran recovered well in the second half.
Jonas Olssson – 5: Nearly scored himself at one point, but Olsson’s contribution defensively was average at best. The defence badly missed Jonny Evans.
Allan Nyon – 5: Struggled to find his feet on either side of defence. Not a nice evening for the former Watford defender.
Darren Fletcher – 6: Never stopped trying and running, but was dominated by the Man United trio. The former Red Devil didn’t stand a chance.
Claudio Yacob – 6.5: Limited Herrera’s influence, which is a success in itself. Sat deep in the West Brom midfield and broke up a number of attacks.
Chris Brunt – 6.5: West Brom’s versatile midfielder looked a threat from his crossing and set-pieces. On another day he could have had an assist or two.
Nacer Chadli – 5.5: Looked rusty in the number ten role. Started ahead of James Morrison but perhaps the Scottish international would have been the better option.
Matt Phillips – 7: Arguably West Brom’s best player on the night. Was a constant threat to the Man United defence, and if his end product was slightly better he could have had a major influence on the result.
Salomón Rondón – 6: Looked to be a threat in the air, but after his hat-trick in midweek Jones and Rojo were prepared for that. Slightly unlucky at times, and will have much more fruitful matches than tonight.
James Morrison (Dawson 74) – 5.5: Struggled to get a feel for the game upon his introduction.Perhaps that would have been different had he started, but his cameo wasn’t at all productive.
Hal Robson-Kanu (Phillips 82) – N/A: Had little time to make an impact.
Jonathan Leko (Chadli 82) – N/A: Showed brief glimpses of quality, but as with Robson-Kanu, not enough time to make a significant impact.
Manchester United Player Ratings
David de Gea – 6: Quiet, though that was more down to West Brom inactivity and a strong central defence than anything in his own performance.
Antonio Valencia – 7: Disciplined, but rarely moved above that. Played a fine ball for Lingard in the lead-up to the opening goal, but keeping Matt Phillips and Chris Brunt quiet seemed to be his primary objective.
Phil Jones – 7.5: Impressive at centre-back yet again, though his partnership with Marcos Rojo still has that “backup” feel about it (which it is, to be fair). Kept Rondon quiet for the most part, save for one free header.
Marcos Rojo – 7.5: Was just as solid as Jones, and didn’t put in a red card-worthy foul which is always a bonus. Jones might be doing enough to scare Smalling and Bailly, but Rojo will still need to up his game.
Matteo Darmian – 6: One or two awkward moments from the Italian international, and West Brom focused on him at times. With everyone fit, Mourinho will have options at left-back – but Darmian should probably not be one of them.
Michael Carrick – 8: Offers much-needed stability in the Man United midfield. Composed, disciplined, a facilitator to those in front of him. Absolutely vital to this team.
Ander Herrera – 7: Energetic, but Herrera wasn’t as influential as perhaps he would like to have been. That said, his mere presence was helpful for his side today, especially in mopping up West Brom attacks.
Paul Pogba – 7: Heavily marked by the home side, but still but in a solid display regardless. Had more touches than any other player on the pitch (as was the case against Crystal Palace) but, in accordance with his age, is still capable of one or two mistakes per match.
Jesse Lingard – 7.5: A surprise starter ahead of Martial and Mata, but justified it with a brilliant cross for Ibrahimovic’s opening goal. Looked lively thereafter, though he missed a great chance to score himself, but one gets the sense that Martial needs to be restored to the starting eleven for the next match.
Wayne Rooney – 6.5: Unlucky to see an effort saved by Foster onto the bar, but other than that the Man United captain didn’t offer much (aside from being credited with an assist with a pass that Ibra single-handedly made a goal from). Gave the ball away on a few occasions and just looked uncomfortable.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 9: His barren spell seems like a distant memory now. Received a bit of luck for the deflection for his second, but those shots hit the net when your and luck are in. Led the line superbly for Man United this evening.
Marcus Rashford (Lingard 77) – 5.5: Lively during his late cameo, but looks off the pace in recent appearances.
Marouane Fellaini (Rooney 84) – N/A: Not enough time to make an impact. Hence the victory.
Chris Smalling (Herrera 90) – N/A: Didn’t even touch the ball.
Read More About: allan nyom, Antonio Valencia, ben foster, claudio yacob, craig dawson, Darren Fletcher, david de gea, gareth mcauley, Jesse Lingard, jonas olsson, Man United, marcos rojo, matteo darmian, nacer chadli, paul pogba. ander herrera, phil jones, Premier League, salomon rondon, tony pulis jose mourinho, Wayne Rooney, west brom, zlatan ibrahimovic