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Ratings: Fernandes on spot for United as they defeat the Baggies; De Gea, Telles, Maguire and Fred all did well

Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It was a match that I expected more from but a penalty was all that sealed the victory. Some will say that it was a controversial match with the Baggies’ penalty not being given after consulting with VAR then United winning one, seeing it saved By Sam Johnstone, who had a great game against United, only for it to be retaken. Bruno Fernandes was involved in almost everything against the strugglers with United sealing the win with a clean sheet. They will be back in action in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, against Istanbul Basaksehir.

United started well against the Baggies, who were playing in a defensive formation with players back to deal with the threat of the Red Devils. Former United academy goalkeeper Sam Johnstone played his first match at Old Trafford against United and in the first half, made a few good saves to deny United from taking the lead. United found themselves in some good positions at times, playing some good football but Johnstone’s personal form stopped them from taking something from the match, which was a shame for United. The Red Devils has five shots, three of which were on target in the first half. They need to be better in the second half.

At the start of the second half, the Baggies won a penalty for what seemed like slight contact. The referee then went to look at the replay on VAR and did not give the penalty, to the commentary team’s dismay on BT Sport. Minutes later though, United had a penalty of their own. Bruno Fernandes took it and Johnstone saved it, but he came off his line before the ball was struck, so the penalty needed to be taken again. This time, Fernandes found the back of the net to put United ahead for the first time in the match. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Edinson Cavani replacing Juan Mata.

United had few chances to cement their victory against the Baggies as the away side were getting back in number to avert any damage from United. Solskjaer made his second substitution in the 79th minute with Donny van de Beek replacing Marcus Rashford. That gave United more dominance in the midfield to break through the extra numbers at the back for the Baggies. Four minutes later, Solskjaer made his final substitution with Scott McTominay replacing Fred. It would seem like United have thrown at they can at this match and will have to settle for the victory they got from the penalty, ensuring that they did not concede.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made the odd save to deny the Baggies. He was not really pressured by the Premier League strugglers. He did need to remain aware though, especially with United having a large majority of the possession, pressuring the Baggies themselves.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

He defended well, as he usually does but going forward, especially against teams who defend deep, he needs to work on his delivery of the ball. It is not the best in these situations.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Performed well against the Baggies and was never really pressure defensively. United were poor on attack and need to find out a way to deal with that.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led United well from the off, both vocally and physically. Got forward a lot of the time and looked to find a goal himself from set-pieces. United needed this victory to turn a corner in the league, especially at home.

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27 Alex Telles

Started for United a month ago against Paris Saint-Germain and missed a lot of football because of a positive coronavirus test. Made his Premier League debut and was not too shabby. Definitely an upgrade on Luke Shaw and will be seeking to keep his place even when Shaw is fit.

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31 Nemanja Matic

He played in the anchor position in the midfield, shielding the defence. At times though, he made the easiest decision to offload the ball. He should have perhaps tried more difficult things to get the ball forward.

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17 Fred

Had a lot of involvement in the match in the midfield. Chased a few players and won the ball many times. aiming to get it forward for United's attacking players to get something - which was not happening for much of the match. Played well but was replaced by McTominay in the 83rd minute of the match.

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8 Juan Mata

Played well and tried to offer something creative for United but I think both he and United struggled at times against the Baggies, who were defending in numbers at times. He was replaced by Cavani in the 63rd minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The new talisman for United. He seemed to be all over the pitch at times, doing his best to help United. 19 goals since signing for the club, which is a great show of his talents. He has been linked with both Real Madrid and Barcelona recently, which is good news for United as it shows they have a great player in their midst once again.

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10 Marcus Rashford

He did not offer much for United, which is worrying, especially given the fact he seems to be carrying an injury again. He found form not that long ago by scoring the first hat-trick of his career and that needs to be his mindset again soon. He was replaced by Van de Beek in the 79th minute.

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9 Anthony Martial

It was a frustrating performance for the Frenchman who did not get a lot of service. United should have started Van de Beek, which may have solved this problem from the midfield.

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Substitutes

7 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Mata 63'. Brought one to help United in attack, doing just that but not getting himself a goal to add to the one he scored against Everton.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Rashford 79'. Should have started, or at least have been brought on a lot earlier in the match as he only seems to get warmed up just as the match is coming to a close. I fervently believe that he should be given a lot more time on the pitch for United.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Fred 83'. Came on late in the game to help the midfield keep the ball so United kept the victory. It worked for United.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 56′ penalty

Assists: N/A

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Fred (McTominay 83′); Mata (Cavani 63′), Fernandes, Rashford (Van de Beek 79′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Williams, Tuanzebe; James

Bookings: Edinson Cavani 90+1′; Connor Gallagher 67′

Written by John Walker

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