By 90Min
April 15, 2018

West Bromwich Albion made the most of a lacklustre display by Manchester United, earning a wholly unexpected but fully deserved win in Sunday's Premier League clash at Old Trafford, thus confirming Manchester City's status as Premier League champions.

The Baggies needed to pull off one of the most remarkable upsets in Premier League history to defeat the Red Devils and preserve their rapidly vanishing hopes of avoiding the drop. Yet after a dour first half performance by the home side, this no longer looked like such an unrealistic ambition.

Despite United's attack-orientated starting lineup, with Juan Mata recalled at the expense of Jesse Lingard, neither side showed any great ambition in the early stages of the match, with West Brom content to sit back and let United retain possession.

Yet it was the Baggies who had the first opportunity of note in the 11th minute, with David de Gea making a fine save low to his right from Jake Livermore, who had been played in by Salomón Rondón.

Two minutes later, the Venezuelan striker headed over from a fine James McClean cross from the left.

After these minor scares, United started playing with greater purpose and dynamism, and West Brom were fortunate not to concede a penalty in the 18th minute when Ander Herrera appeared to be tripped in the box by Craig Dawson.

Barely a minute later, Ben Foster thwarted Romelu Lukaku, who was through on goal after being expertly found by Mata.

Yet West Brom still threatened on the break, with McClean once again crossing for Rondón, whose header was easily held by de Gea.

It was all fairly turgid stuff from the home side in the first half, who were contained with surprising ease by one of the Premier League's most porous defences.

In particular, United's hero of the previous match, Paul Pogba, was mostly conspicuous by his anonymity, except when stupidly picking up a yellow card for handball in the 29th minute.

Despite the penalty not given against Dawson, Darren Moore's side deserved to be level at half time. They could even have taken the lead in the 42nd minute if Dawson had produced a more accurate header, after United had left the defender completely unmarked at a corner.

The home side clearly needed an injection of dynamism and creativity, and Jesse Lingard replaced Herrera at half time. The England man almost vindicated his manager's decision within minutes of coming on, as his goalbound shot was well blocked by Dawson.

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Yet still United failed to create any more than sporadic half-chances, and Pogba's miserable afternoon came to a premature end when he was replaced by Anthony Martial in the 58th minute.

The Red Devils improved after the Frenchman's arrival. and Foster made a brilliant save to keep out a Lukaku header in the 66th minute, after Nemanja Matic had crossed superbly to set up the Belgian.

United continued to press, and Lingard shot narrowly wide in the 69th minute.

Then, in the 73rd minute, the Baggies stunned the home side when Jay Rodriguez bundled home from close range after a catastrophic error by Matic, who headed back across his own goal from a corner.

Still United pressed without creating clear chances, and Allan Nyom picked up a deserved yellow card in the 77th minute for an ugly challenge on Martial. Yet West Brom could have doubled their lead when McClean fired wide in the 80th minute.

By then, José Mourinho had made his last roll of the dice, replacing Ashley Young with Marcus Rashford in the 75th minute as his side desperately sought an equaliser. Yet the Baggies - for whom Dawson and Ahmed Hegazi were outstanding at the back - held on for a magnificent victory.

West Brom's win is unlikely to help them to avoid the drop, as they are still nine points away from safety with just four games left.

However, the Baggies' excellent performance will surely salvage some pride after a miserable season - though their fans may wonder why they couldn't produce similarly disciplined and ruthless performances before it was too late to salvage their Premier League status.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola - who claimed he wouldn't watch the United game today as he'd be playing golf - has just won his first Premier League title, and City's third in seven years - without his side having to kick a ball.

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)