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Premier League

  • 14 August 2011
  • • 20:30
  • • The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 25360

West Brom 1-2 Manchester United: Champions Recover From De Gea Error As Ashley Young Forces Late Own Goal To Settle Entertaining Clash

Premier League

West Brom 1-2 Manchester United: Champions Recover From De Gea Error As Ashley Young Forces Late Own Goal To Settle Entertaining Clash

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The English champions are left to count the cost of victory as both Ferdinand and Vidic limp off injured as Rooney and Young score to claim the three points.

Manchester United new boy Ashley Young helped spare the blushes of fellow new signing David de Gea as the winger scored late on after the Spanish goalkeeper had blundered to give West Brom a first half equaliser.

The victory came at a cost for the English champions as they lost both central defenders Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic on their way to claiming an early advantage over their title rivals, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, who all dropped points.

Roy Hodgson handed debuts to former Manchester United keeper Ben Foster and Republic of Ireland international Shane Long, who was signed from Reading during the week, while striker Peter Odemwingie failed to recover from an ankle problem in time to face the champions.

The visitors handed first Premier League starts for the Old Trafford side to summer signings David de Gea and Ashley Young, while Tom Cleverley and Danny Welback started after returning from loan spells at Wigan and Sunderland respectively.

Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez, Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia were all absentees for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, while Dimitar Berbatov, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Park Ji-Sung all were forced to settle for places on the bench along with new central defensive signing Phil Jones, who arrived from Blackburn during the summer.

Last season’s champions started off the brightest, with Young exploiting the left wing, supported by Fabio, as the former Aston Villa winger looked to get off the mark for his new employers

But rather than becoming goalscorer, Young became goal maker just after the ten minute mark as he was found by fellow England international Wayne Rooney as he broke the West Brom offside trap of the left wing, he in turn repaid the compliment to the Manchester United striker, giving him the ball just outside the area, before Rooney turned and placed the ball beyond Foster’s outstretched right hand and into the bottom corner.

Manchester United should have gone two ahead as a top quality passing move involving Welback and Rooney cut open the West Brom defence, before the latter found Nani wide open in the Baggies penalty area, but unfortunately for the Portuguese winger, his shot landed with home fans behind the goal occupied by Foster.

His winger then had another golden opportunity minutes later, after Foster failed to properly deal with a Young corner from the left wing, allowing Nani to receive the ball on the penalty spot, but once again it was the same outcome for the 24-year-old as his strike went over the bar.

With ten minutes left in the half, Manchester United’s new keeper De Gea was forced into his first piece of real action as a long ball arrived at the feet of Long and he found the onrushing Paul Scharner, who rifled a shot that was palmed away for a corner by the Spanish stopper.

But a minute later de Gea was left which his head in his hands and his teammates questioning him as Long received the ball on the left before beating Manchester United right back Chris Smalling, before hitting a shot towards the back post which crept through the keeper’s hands and into the net.

The Manchester United keeper’s confidence seemed to be dented by the Long strike, as firstly Chris Brunt came close, then de Gea was forced to clear a Somen Tchoyi cross with almost went into the back of the visitors net before the stopper intervened to save his side from going behind at the break.   

Long shot | Irish international claims his first goal for the Baggies

Five minutes after the start of the second half the visitors were forced into a change as Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic was forced to limp from the field with an injury that he’s picked up earlier in the game, to be replaced by Jonny Evans in the centre of the visitors defence.

As the visitors were dominating possession, but failing to find a way past the West Brom defence or Foster in the Baggies goal, United boss Ferguson decided to make a change to his frontline, taking off Welback and replacing him with Dimitar Berbatov in an attempt to claim all three points for the defending champions.

The home fans were starting to become frustrated with referee Mike Jones and his two assistants as they felt that they were not receiving the rub of the green when it came to certain incidents, such as when a Long shot seemed to be deflected for a corner, but Jones deemed it as a goal kick.

With just over a quarter of an hour left the visitors were to change their second centre half of the day as Rio Ferdinand, as the England international limped off with what seemed to be hamstring injury to be replaced by Jones in the new look United defence, while their two regular centre halves were forced to look on from the sidelines.

With just over ten minutes left de Gea’s uncertainty crept back into the game as a free kick from the right wing arrived at the back post and once again the Spanish stopper looked fragile as he failed to stop the ball going out for a corner.

United finally claimed a winner with less than ten minutes left as impressive new signing Young raced in from the left wing and his shot deflected off of both Gabriel Tamas and then Steven Reid, before finding the bottom left hand corner of Foster’s net.

The visiting defence managed to stay solid for the remainder of the game, protecting their under pressure keeper de Gea at all costs to secure a valuable three away points, which could come in crucial for the rest of the season.

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