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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
August 14, 2011
• The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 25360
West Bromwich Albion
S. Long 37'
W. Rooney 13'
S. Reid 81' (own goal)
From Wayne Veysey: "United become the only club among the traditional top four to take all three points from the opening weekend, by doing what Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea could not. They were good value for their win against a battling West Brom and could have been out of sight in the opening half hour but for some lame finishing. David De Gea's bad mistake handed the home side an ill-merited lifeline and the injuries to Vidic and Ferdinand will be of concern, but, on this evidence, United are overwhelmingly the team to beat. Whoever finishes above them will be champions."
It's all over at the Hawthorns and it's a good start to the season for Manchester United, who triumph 2-1. Rooney opened the scoring, only to see Long score on his debut after Premier League debutant de Gea let a low shot evade him. However, Young provided the winner as his low cross was turned in by Steven Reid
90' + 3'
One last chance for the hosts as Brunt sends a free-kick just inside the United half towards Foster. Yes that's right, Ben Foster had gone up, but the ball only loops up to de Gea, who takes a simple catch underneath his bar and resists the chance to try and score at the other end
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Simon Cox
90' + 1'
United defenders, including Rooney, get in the way of long range West Brom shots, before Cox is rightly booked for diving
There are four minutes of stoppage time for West Brom to snatch an equaliser
The impressive Tchoyi has a chance to shoot, but he delays and is closed down by a posse of red shirts. Brunt then fashions a shot from the edge of the area, but slightly off balance he can only hit a tame shot straight at the keeper, who gratefully holds on
Time running out for the home side, who respond by bringing on Simon Cox for goal-scorer Long
Yellow Card Paul Scharner
The goal came after a good spell of West Brom pressure and it will be interesting to see how the visitors' young defence hold out in the final few minutes. Tchoyi tries an ambitious volley which flies over
Own Goal Steven Reid
Assist Ashley Young
It's 2-1 to United! And it's all down to Young again. He again gets into the West Brom area down the left and his low cross hits Tamas and Reid before dropping into the corner. It will end up as an own goal, but all credit should go to Young who has been brilliant all game
Yellow Card Anderson
Cleverley is now frustrated after being penalised for blocking off Long on the right. This time the cross is overhit, but de Gea under pressure can only push it wide for a corner. A goal-mouth scramble is ended by a blow from the referee's whistle and the Spaniard is left clutching his face. West Brom sense a winner here
Ferdinand joins Vidic in hobbling off, leaving a back-line of Smalling, Evans, Jones and Fabio. Not much experience there, especially with de Gea behind them
United feel aggrieved. Firstly, Ferdinand is holding his hamstring and is set to be replaced, but West Brom are allowed to take a throw-in which sees Nani penalised for blocking a cross with his arm
From Wayne Veysey: "United are continuing to dominate possession as they hunt down the winner, while West Brom are doing what they know best, defending in numbers and hitting the opposition with the occasional counter-attack. The injured Vidic and Welbeck have been replaced by Evans, surprisingly preferred to Jones, and Berbatov. The last 20 minutes should be fun."
Long is causing the United defence some problems and is aggrieved for being penalised after a slight push on Evans. At the other end Nani heads wide from 12 yards when off-balance
United continue to probe through Young and Rooney but West Brom are looking better defensively. Young has been a menace so far and another cross/shot just goes over the bar
West Brom are much more compact in defence, blocking Nani and Rooney from working a shooting position, but Young on the left tricks his way past Brunt who can only bring him down on the edge of the area. Nani's free-kick just evades Smalling
The tempo off the first-half has not been reached yet., but there's a big cheer when de Gea slices a back-pass out for a throw-in just inside his own half
Another set-piece after a foul on Cleverley and Tamas does well to clear with Rooney lurking
Yellow Card Ashley Young
United keep attacking down the left and it is up to Brunt to get back to Fabio as he sneaks into the area. The corner is cleared and the ball picked up by Long nipping in ahead of Young. The winger is then harshly booked for tripping the Irishman, who he hadn't even noticed
Young is blocked off by Olsson and his free-kick is flicked on Rooney but it goes wide of the far post
Anderson is robbed by Mulumbu who feeds Long, but his touch is slightly heavy and Vidic gets across to rob him in his last act before coming off
Jonny Evans is stripped and waiting to come on, most probably for Vidic
Another run down by the left from Young results in a corner after Reid blocks his cross, but the ref sees an infringement in the area
The teams are out and West Brom will get us underway
From Wayne Veysey: "All eyes are on David De Gea (or 'David Oh Dear as one Tweeter dubbed him) following West Brom's surprise comeback here. The Spaniard was besieged with chants of 'dodgy keeper' from the home fans, who urged their players to 'shoooot' whenever they had the ball, following his bad mistake for the equaliser, when he allowed Long's rather tame shot from the edge of the penalty area to squirm under his grasp. De Gea made an athletic save soon afterwards to paw away a Tchoyi effort, but the feeling is that he has handed West Brom a lifeline that their play barely merited. United completely dominated the first half, with Rooney, Young and Cleverley particularly impressive."
It's half-time at the Hawthorns and it's 1-1. Rooney struck early on, before Long's debut goal embarrassed de Gea. It's been a breathless encounter so far, full of great attacking play and some unconvincing goalkeeping
There's a completely different atmosphere now. Brunt gets in behind Fabio and his cross is hit wide by Morrison after the United defence fail to clear. Then Tchoyi's cross from the left almost lobs de Gea, who can only claw the ball on to Long. Fortunately for him nothing comes of it. At the other end, Young curls a shot wide
Yellow Card Steven Reid
United try to hit back immediately and earn a free-kick as Reid is booked for a nasty sliding challenge on Young
Assist Chris Brunt
Goal Shane Long
It's 1-1! What a dramatic two minutes at the Hawthorns. Firstly Long holds off Ferdinand and plays in Scharner, whose shot is clawed away by de Gea. Then United break with speed and Cleverley nearly gets on the end of Rooney's cross. But the Baggies hit back, with Long cutting in from the left past Smalling and curling a tame shot past the Spaniard goalkeeper. Breathless football here!
From Wayne Veysey: " Following the lively atmosphere of earlier, it has quietened down a little here as United exercise almost total control of the match. The home side's best chance of summoning an equaliser appears to be at set pieces, where United's goalkeeper David De Gea has looked a little unconvincing so far. A small pocket of West Brom fans are lustily belting out the 'Roy Hodgson's barmy army' refrain but there has been little for them to get too excited about."
It's terrific from United, who are passing the ball around with supreme confidence. All the forward players are getting on the ball, in particular Young, who sees his cross blocked by Reid
A flick by Young, similar to Rooney's for the goal, gets Fabio going down the left and he wins a corner, which is flapped at by Foster. The ball drops to Nani but he can only send his shot wide. More unconvincing goalkeeping and another decent chance for the Portuguese
Half a chance for Baggies' record signing Shane Long, who has been relatively quiet so far, but he snatches at a shot 25 yards out and it dribbles harmlessly wide
A Brunt free-kick from the right finds its way to Reid on the edge of the area but his shot is deflected wide. Good end-to-end football here
Should have been 2-0! It's delightful play by United as Rooney combines with Welbeck and Nani around the West Brom area. Eventually, the striker tees up Nani eight yards out in front of goal but he spoons his shot over
Vidic looks like he is hobbling a bit, but that doesn't stop Anderson going on a barnstorming run past several West Brom players before feeding Young again on the left. His first cross is deflected, but he gets another chance and this time whips in a brilliant cross which is just cleared by Tamas
West Brom have once again calmed down the United storm and continue to pass it around nicely
From Wayne Veysey at the Hawthorns: "Ashley Young showed great intelligence in the build-up to United's opener. Some wide players would have crossed in his inside left position, but Young showed why United paid the money for him by cutely playing the short pass to to Rooney, who turned with his back to goal and effortlessly guided it into the corner. You can't say it has not been coming. United have bristled with intent since the start and completely dominated the opening exchanges. Rooney, with his new closely cropped haircut, has started off where he finished last season."
As at the start of the match it's United dominating and Rooney continues to impress. He nearly doubles his tally after running at the Albion defence who retreat back to the edge of their area. Rooney then lets fly with a piledriver which flies wide of Foster's right-hand post
Assist Ashley Young
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! And it's Wayne Rooney! Having weathered a decent spell of possession from the hosts, United take the lead in fine fashion. Rooney's flick reaches Young on the left, who gives it back to the striker to hit in between the legs of Tamas and into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area
Vidic feels like he is pushed by Tchoyi, but the referee gives a corner which troubles de Gea but not his goal. The attacking midfielder then wins another corner off Ferdinand on the right after some neat footwork but it comes to nothing
Scharner decided to try his luck from around 40 yards out, but he in unable to trouble the Premier League debutant
Some respite for the home side as Tchoyi takes on Anderson down the left and is dragged down by the Brazilian just outside the area. Morrison's free-kick goes over de Gea but is headed away by Rooney
It's all one-way traffic at the minute and it's coming from the champions. Foster is being kept busy against one of his former clubs, having to punch a series of set-pieces into the box, but the ball is temporarily cleared
A fast start by the visitors. Young and Fabio combine on the left to get the ball to Rooney's feet, but he is unable to work an opening in the West Brom box. Young then tries a long range curling effort which is deflected over
United get us underway
The teams are out and we await kick-off
More from Wayne Veysey at the Hawthorns: "Berbatov has been a mix of the melancholy and the smiley in the pre-match warm-ups. As he buzzed around in a training drill with fellow subs Giggs, Carrick and Park, he must suddenly have felt very old. The average age of United's starting X1 is 24 years and 161 days, the youngest in the Premier League this weekend. As he showed off his impressive keep-uppy skills at the end of the warm-up, was Berbatov thinking about (a) finding a new club quick a smart or (b) running down his contract and leaving on a free next summer. The latter, me thinks."
This fixture last year was the last time Gary Neville played for United. It proved to be a memorable match with lots of disputed decisions, but Javier Hernandez's goal gave the Red Devils a 2-1 win
From Wayne Veysey at the Hawthorns: "There is a really fresh and exciting look to the Manchester United team that plays their first competitive match since the Champions League final. The stirring Community Shield comeback has clearly had an impact in Ferguson's thinking. Of the starting X1 who lost 3-1 to Barcelona in that one-sided final, only Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio and Rooney start today, although Evra, Valencia and Hernandez are all missing through short-term injuries. Smalling starts at right-back, while Anderson and Cleverley have got the nod over the May 28 central midfield of Giggs and Carrick, who are both on the bench. Young is preferred to Ji-Sung Park, and Berbatov, United's leading Premier League scorer of last season, is overlooked in favour of Danny Wellbeck."
For West Brom, it is a chance to build on their 11th place of last season, but they will have to make do without Peter Odemwingie, although there is a debut for new arrival Shane Long
There is again no place for Berbatov in the starting eleven as Sir Alex Ferguson favours Welbeck alongside Rooney and another player who was on loan last season, Tom Cleverley, also gets his chance. He partners Anderson who is chosen ahead of Giggs and Carrick
With rivals Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea having dropped points, Tottenham having their match postponed and Manchester City not playing until tomorrow, the visitors can temporarily get in front of the chasing pack
WBA, 4-5-1: Foster; Reid, Ollson, Tomias, Shorey; Morrison, Scharner, Mulumbu, Brunt; Tchoyi; Long Subs: Fulop, Cox, Jara Reyes, Fortune, Dawson, Dorrans, Thorne
Manchester United, 4-4-2: De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio; Nani, Cleverley, Anderson, Young; Welbeck, Rooney Subs: Lindegaard, Jones, Evans, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Berbatov
Hello and welcome to the first game of Manchester United's defence of their Premier League title as they take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. Team news to be posted up
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