Manchester United just about got the job done against relegation strugglers West Bromwich Albion, battling to a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.
The hosts had the better chances in the first half, with Anthony Martial forcing a brilliant low save from Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone early on. David de Gea then produced an equally impressive stop to deny Karlan Grant, and the two sides entered the dressing rooms level at the break.
The second half began with plenty of drama, as the Red Devils survived a controversial penalty scare, before being awarded one of their own for a handball offence. Bruno Fernandes’ first attempt was saved, but he was given a second chance due to Johnstone coming off his line – and he did not make the same mistake twice.
West Brom kept on fighting though, and substitute Callum Robinson almost found the equaliser with a lovely curling effort from distance that rattled De Gea’s crossbar. The Baggies pushed to claim a point, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men saw out the final minutes to earn their first home win of the season.
Right, chat over, player ratings time!
David De Gea (GK) – 8/10 – Made a smart save to tip a low strike round the post in the first half. Fantastic second-half stop with his feet from Townsend to keep the scores level. Match-winning.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – 6/10 – Needed to get forward more and cause more problems down the right. His lack of attacking instinct left Man Utd searching down the left flank more often than not.
Victor Lindelof (CB) – 6/10 – Stepped out with the ball and tried to lend a hand. Did his centre-back duties well, although he had little to do, in all honesty.
Harry Maguire (CB) – 7/10 – Enjoying his exaggerated role as manic free roamer when on the attack. Almost beheaded Bartley with a thunderous volley.
Alex Telles (LB) – 7/10 – So assured in possession and loves a bombing run up the pitch. Little to do defensively, so focused on trying to break down the stubborn opponents.
Nemanja Matic (CM) – 6/10 – Stroked the ball about calmly and mopped up when needed. Not sure his expertise were entirely required. Overkill?
Fred (CM) – 6/10 – Worked hard across the midfield and covered lots of ground. Felt surplus to requirements with the defensive-minded Matic alongside him.
Bruno Fernandes (CM) – 8/10 – Constantly looking forward in possession, trying to pick locks. Found Mata with a delightful diagonal, which deserved a better end. Looked on a different wave length to his teammates at times. Got lucky enough to take his spot-kick twice, but made no mistake (second time round).
Juan Mata (RW) – 5/10 – The perfect opportunity for Mata to use his craft to unlock a low-block defence. Didn’t really happen. Drifted infield in search of possession, but struggled to create. Subbed.
Anthony Martial (ST) – 6/10 – Should have broken the deadlock with a simple scoring chance early on, but couldn’t fire past Johnstone. Kept under wraps for the rest of the game.
Marcus Rashford (LW) – 6/10 – Showed some nice link up play with Telles on the left side, but was unable to get in behind.
Edinson Cavani (ST) – 6/10
Donny van de Beek (CM) – 7/10
Scott McTominay (CM) – N/A
Sam Johnstone (GK) – 8/10 – Made a brilliant low stop to deny Martial early on. Superbly saved Fernandes’ penalty, but came off his line and couldn’t stop the retake. Thems the rules. Kept Rashford and Maguire out, too. Busy.
Darnell Furlong (RWB) – 6/10 – Kept Rashford quiet in the first half, rarely losing his man and sticking to his duties. The unlucky party to concede a penalty for handball. Harsh, but again, the rules.
Semi Ajayi (CB) – 8/10 – Commanding in the first half, denying Man Utd any joy on his side of the defence. Headed everything, nullified the forward line superbly. Bravo.
Branislav Ivanovic (CB) – 6/10 – Provided the experience needed on a difficult evening. Looks to still be getting used to the pace of the top flight.
Kyle Bartley (CB) – 7/10 – Stuck his head on the line when it mattered, stopping Maguire’s goal-bound volley. Almost put his noggin to good use with a header from a corner, but couldn’t hit the net. Couple of great second half blocks on Cavani.
Conor Townsend (LWB) 7/10 – Tasked with stopping the guile of Mata rather than blistering speed. Almost gave his team the lead, but his drilled shot was excellently saved.
Matheus Pereira (RM) – 7/10 – Provided that sparkle and touch of class that the West Brom midfield required. Did not shy away from the dirty work either, pulling his weight in a disciplined display.
Conor Gallagher (CM) – 7/10 – A talented, exciting player. Plenty of industry, but blessed with the glide of a top midfielder. Brought in teammates with neat one-twos and worked space in the final third.
Romaine Sawyers (CM) – 6/10 – Struggled in comparison to his midfield partner, but did his bit in loosening Fernandes’ grip on the game.
Grady Diangana (LM) 6/10 – Plenty of pace and clever feet, but never really got into the game in tough conditions. Subbed.
Karlan Grant (ST) – 6/10 – Worked De Gea with a nice first-half effort which was heading for the bottom corner prior to the Spaniard’s intervention. Ran the channels and dug in for his team. Subbed.
Callum Robinson (LW) – 7/10
Hal Robson-Kanu (ST) – 6/10
Filip Krovinovic (CM) – 6/10