English Premier League - Match Recap: Manchester United get away with it at Hawthornes
Manchester United travelled to West Brom this weekend knowing they needed to keep their lead up at the top intact with a win. But an away win is something that has been awfully rare for the Manchester side. Sir Alex Ferguson must be dreading United’s away
record where they’ve won just once all season, against Stoke City. And United have drawn all the rest. But they still remain unbeaten throughout the season home and away.
United’s last meeting with West Brom was earlier this season back at Old Trafford. On that occasion, a rare but horrendous error by Van Der Sar let West Brom draw 2-2 after they had fallen 2-0 behind. United have since then eradicated their problems at the
back as the return of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand has strengthened the backline considerably.
Roberto Di Mateo has done an admirable job at The Hawthornes, he has just seen his team come up from the championship; he’s played a bold attacking brand of football, and has achieved big scalps against better more recognized sides. And the one game that
instantly comes to mind is the 3-2 victory he masterminded over Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium.
Sir Alex though was in no mood to admire his opposite numbers work, as he looks to secure another title to his bulging trophy cabinet. For this game, he started Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov upfront and Ryan Giggs and Gabriel Obertan were on the wings.
But the most peculiar selection of all looked to be choosing to play Gary Neville as right back instead of Rafael Da Silva. And it could’ve been a decision which could’ve bore dire consequences had the referee been competent enough.
Rooney gave United the perfect start and the lead after Obertan crossed the ball into the danger area. Rooney headed low into the far corner to get his first goal from open play since last March. And his celebration seemed to vent all his anxieties. But
West Brom replied with one of the sweetest strikes you are likely to see this whole season. James Morrison pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the box and unleashed a powerful swirling right foot volley that was past Kuszczack in a flash. It was a goal
of sheer class and brilliance and it was fair to say West Brom deserved it.
Then West Brom were denied a sure shot penalty as Dorrans was clear on goal, with only Kuszczack between him and the net, and just as Dorrans was about to let fly Gary Neville lunged in and felled Dorrans. Any amount of TV replays will show you it was a
definite penalty and a red card but Neville eluded both as the referee waved play on without registering the foul.
West Brom though were eventually awarded a penalty in the second half when Rio Ferdinand tripped Jerome Thomas, but Peter Odemwingie fired wide. And that miss spurred United on as Javier Hernandez headed home from a Rooney corner to give United the much
needed away win.
This season, United have managed to get away with it even when they haven’t been anywhere near their best. Their results have not been an accurate representation of how they have performed and yet things just seem to go their way. The only question is if
they can keep winning when they play like this? Even against Man. Utd, the baggies were the ones who deserved more from the game.