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Ratings: Zlatan the man in West Brom victory

Manchester United didn’t get out of first gear today, comfortably dispatching West Brom with two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. A composed and classy display was highlighted by the composed midfield performances of Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba, and they controlled the tempo and created chances for Zlatan Ibrahimovic efficiently. Against an in-form West Brom side, United depended on Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, and the two defenders delivered with solid performances to prevent West Brom’s in-form trio of Matt Phillips, Nacer Chadli, and Salomon Rondon from breaching the defence. From wider areas, Jesse Lingard and Wayne Rooney were able to put the icing on the cake, creating two goals and allowing United to win comfortably.

United’s win over West Brom potentially represents a turning point in the season, as it represents the Red Devils’ fourth consecutive win, third in the Premier League and tenth unbeaten. Now, Jose Mourinho has a better win percentage at United than rival Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored and assisted more goals than Sergio Aguero and fringe players are beginning to produce better displays in a more settled side. Manchester City’s match with Arsenal guarantees that United will gain on the top four this weekend, not to mention a potential banana peel derby for Liverpool (because they might slip).

Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 5′, 56′

Assists: Jesse Lingard 5′, Wayne Rooney 56′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Carrick, Herrera (Smalling 90+2′); Lingard (Rashford 77′), Pogba, Rooney (Fellaini 84′); Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Blind; Mata, Martial

Bookings: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 24′, Jesse Lingard 57′, Marcos Rojo 65′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Didn’t have much to do at all, and looked composed when called upon.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Did everything he needed to do but nothing spectacular against the talented Matt Phillips.

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4 Phil Jones

Looked solid again, making matters easy for de Gea and earning a clean sheet alongside Marcos Rojo.

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5 Marcos Rojo

Slowly building United’s best defensive partnership alongside Phil Jones.

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36 Matteo Darmian

Much like Valencia, did everything he needed to do to prevent the dangerous Chris Brunt from crossing the ball.

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16 Michael Carrick

Superb, controlling performance, as Carrick formed a transition outlet with Pogba.

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21 Ander Herrera

Didn’t do anything spectacular, but offered tenacity and impetus once again. I’d like to see Mata given a chance in his role when Mourinho decides to rest him. Replaced by Smalling.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Solid display, but missed a clear chance to score. I still think he looks out of his depth in comparison to United’s other options in these positions, especially considering that was arguably his top form. Replaced by Rashford.

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6 Paul Pogba

Shone brightly in the first half, turning and darting forward, destroying defenders and winning the ball back, but didn’t have anywhere to kick on out of first gear in the second half.

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10 Wayne Rooney

Looked good and earned an assist with a nice pass and run. He seemed a bit rusty at times but his intent was spot on, which is new from the Englishman who needs two more goals to become the club’s all-time top scorer. Replaced by Fellaini.

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9 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Excellent player with another excellent display to take his tally to 10 goals in nine matches.

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Substitutes

19 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Lingard. Made darting runs into the opposition half after United closed up shop, but couldn’t influence the scoresheet from out wide.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Rooney. Again, phew.

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12 Chris Smalling

Replaced Herrera. Good to see him back, but he’s comfortably the worst centre-back in the senior squad and has much work to do.

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