English Premiership

United shine on WBA return

2014-03-08 18:01
David Moyes (AFP)

London - Manchester United kept their fading hopes of Champions League qualification flickering with a breezy 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

Goals from Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck gave United back-to-back league wins for the first time since December, following their 2-0 success at Crystal Palace last month.

Victory took the defending champions to within nine points of fourth-place Manchester City, although they have played two more games, while Pepe Mel's West Brom remain a point above the relegation zone in 17th place.

"I thought our forward play was very good," United manager David Moyes told BT Sport.

"I thought both Robin (van Persie) and Wayne were excellent today, and Juan Mata and Adnan (Januzaj). But it also needed a good defensive performance as well, so all round we were pleased."

United's last game at The Hawthorns had been Alex Ferguson's last as manager and his successor, Moyes, was looking for a reaction to his side's shock 2-0 loss to Olympiakos in the Champions League.

After Marouane Fellaini had seen a header cleared off the line and West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster had tipped a header from Rafael da Silva onto his crossbar, United broke through in the 34th minute.

A free-kick wide on the right gave Van Persie an opportunity to whip a cross into the box and Jones stole in front of a clutch of defenders to beat Foster with a glancing near-post header.

In reply, Claudio Yacob and Victor Anichebe each went close for West Brom, but Foster was fortunate to escape censure after he miscalculated an attempt to control a lofted pass from Mata outside his area and the ball struck him on the hand.

West Brom forced United onto the back foot early in the second half, with Zoltan Gera testing David De Gea at his near post and Mata hooking away a low cross from Anichebe.

However, United tightened their grip on proceedings in the 65th minute, with Rooney nodding in a cross from Rafael at the back post to claim his 11th league goal of the campaign.

Gera worked De Gea again as West Brom probed for a path back into the game, but Welbeck killed off the home fans' hopes of a comeback in the 82nd minute when he ran onto Rooney's through ball to curl a shot past Foster.

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Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 18:30
17 August 2014
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 14:30
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 17:00
18 August 2014
Burnley v Chelsea, Turf Moor 21:00
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