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Ratings: Matic MOTM in Baggies victory; Smalling and Jones stood out too…

Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the Hawthorns in the Premier League. United opened the scoring through Romelu Lukaku in the 27th minute, assisted by Marcus Rashford, before doubling the lead in the 35th minute through Jesse Lingard, assisted by Juan Mata. The Baggies scored in the 77th minute through Gareth Barry.

It was another one of those matches where United looked good in the first half, took a 2-0 lead, but in the second half they did not play as well. I am not sure why that keeps happening, but welcoming a team to attack for large spells despite having a 2-0 lead is not a good thing. United were lucky on a few occasions, which could have sen their defeat turned into a draw, or worse.

Three players stood out as the Man of the Match; Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic. The Serbian is the player that I have chosen after his first-half performance, in which he battled in midfield and inspired his side to score twice in eight minutes. Matic has been a great buy for United and Mourinho, filling a position United have struggled to fill in recent seasons.

United do need to start pulling out much better performances in the coming matches. Paul Pogba is eligible to face Bristol City in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday after sitting out of the last three matches after the red card in the 3-1 victory over Arsenal a fortnight ago. Mourinho must have seen the problems in the second half, and they need to be dealt with.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unlucky not to keep his eleventh clean sheet of the Premier League season. It was a quiet game for De Gea.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Played well at right-back but came off injured in the second half. Hope it won't be anything too serious.

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4 Phil Jones

Jones seems to be getting back to his best after coming back from injury. One of the contenders for MOTM today.

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12 Chris Smalling

Did what he needed to do to keep Rondon at bay. A MOTM contender for his performance.

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18 Ashley Young

Started at left-back, finished at right-back. Played well both in defence and attack.

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21 Ander Herrera

I don't think the Spanish midfielder has played well in recent matches but today he showed his presence and was a nuisance. No replacement for Pogba though.

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31 Nemanja Matic

MOTM for me. The Serbian played well in the first half and made himself known in midfield and defence at times. Cracking buy for Mourinho's side - still a big loss for Chelsea

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8 Juan Mata

Showed his energy against the Baggies. Got an assist for the second goal. Showed his vision at times. Number ten material for me.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Scored his third goal in four matches. Got stuck into the game and reaped the rewards. Not sure why supporters don't appreciate him.

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19 Marcus Rashford

Got an assist in Lukaku's opening goal of the game. Saw himself booked for an arguement with Hegazi. Nearly scored a goal himself. Good game for the talented 20-year-old.

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9 Romelu Lukaku

Scored his second goal this week. Still didn't celebrate. The stats go against him as he does not score in the big games. That needs to change for him to help United get back into contention.

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Substitutes

5 Marcos Rojo

Replaced Valencia 66'. Did what he needed to do. Glad to see him get involved again.

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11 Anthony Martial

Replaced Rashford 79'. Got stuck into the game, but not enough to get something from it. United did not dominate the second half in an atacking sense.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Lingard 86'. Came on with four minutes plus stoppage time. Did what was asked of him. It will all add to his development.

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