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Report: West Brom beat Manchester United 1-0, crowning Manchester City as the champions

Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by West Bromwich Albion, the worst team in the Premier League this season. They said the team were playing with pride, but if they had any of that, they would not be relegation fodder. United were abject, there was no atmosphere at Old Trafford, the team were not quick enough and just did not want the victory – even after a weeks rest from their last game.

The match started well for the home side, who in the first two minutes were pressuring the Baggies with Nemanja Matic allowing his teammates some time in the midfield. Alexis Sanchez, when given the ball, attempted a diagonal ball to Juan Mata on the far right but the ball ran out of play. Sanchez, keeping himself busy in the early stages had a shot from ten yards, lofting the attempt on goal.

In the sixth minute of the match, Jay Rodriguez caught Matic napping in midfield, looked to break into the box but slipped just in front of Victor Lindelof, who seemed to be limping after the slip. Both the Swede and Matic seemed to be able to continue the game. Paul Pogba, in the eighth minute, from range but Ben Foster, who does not like to stay in hotels, made the save to deny the Frenchman.

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The Baggies had a chance in the tenth minute with James McClean on the break, passing to Jake Livermore, who passed to Chris Brunt who then fed Rodriguez. The latter lost the ball as Chris Smalling stepped out of his defensive line to thwart the attack. Two minutes later, Mata was one-on-one with Foster after Ashley Young flicked the ball through to him, the Spaniard flagged for offside.

West Brom had another chance a few minutes later with Livermore spreading the ball out to McClean, who put in a great cross for Salomon Rondon, rising to win the ball but heading it over the crossbar. The Baggies seemed to hold off any fear for United in the early stages with Lindelof looking to be the weak link – something the Baggies may try to take advantage of.

The tempo of the game seemed to slow with United failing to move the ball around at pace, which is something Jose Mourinho would perhaps like. Mata, Pogba and Ander Herrera were picking the right passes but not getting through to the final third quickly enough. United had a shout for a penalty denied as Herrera seemed to be brought down in the box, the referee nowhere near it, giving nothing.

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United then had a few attempts on goal in quick succession after the penalty appeal with Romelu Lukaku having perhaps the best chance of the half so far, being played in by Mata but Foster doing enough to deter his side from conceding the first goal of the game. Sanchez had the opportunity to shoot on the rebound, Foster denying his shot also. Some good play from United.

In the 25th minute of the match, Rondon had another chance to score from a header after being set up by McClean but David De Gea made another cool save, not that the shot had tested his ability or anything. It was a pretty clinical header and save. In the 29th minute of the match, Sanchez put in a great cross for Pogba, who was advancing. He handled the ball like Diego Maradona and was booked.

United had a chance on the break in the 36th minute of the match with Lukaku on the ball and running into the box to score what could have been the opening goal of the match but Foster came out off his line to gather, thwarting the Belgian’s attempts to score his 27th goal this season. Pogba attempted from long-range minutes later, putting the ball into the stands rather than the back of the net.

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Pogba seemed to be playing with a bit of confidence after his brace last week, looking to bust a gut to get into advanced areas, also put some speed into his running when he marking players on the attack, putting his defensive duties to use. The Baggies had a chance in the 42nd minute with nobody in the box to attempt to score. United broke on the attack after collecting the ball, to no avail.

In the final few minutes of the half, the game started to stagnate with neither team looking to press forward and seek that elusive goal. United aimed to maintain possession with Herrera making a pass to Valencia on the right, the ball heading towards the box with the Frenchman shooting, finding a deflection and winning a corner, which came to nothing. A minute of added time was played.

Mourinho made a change at the start of the second half with Jesse Lingard replacing Herrera. Straight away, Lingard had a chance to break the deadlock but the attempt was thwarted after the ball fell kindly for him and put out for a corner, which came to nothing. The Baggies had another chance after Pogba lost the ball with Rondon getting another header which was saved by De Gea.

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In the 49th minute, Lukaku worked well on the right to pick Mata out with a low cross but the Spaniard was unable to connect with the ball at the near post, which was unfortunate. United seemed determined to get something early in the second half, whether they get or not remains to be seen. In the 53rd minute, Mata, after some good play by United, had a shot from distance, which was well wide.

In the 55th minute, Pogba was adjudged to have fouled McClean with the Baggies winning a free-kick at the edge of United’s area. Brunt took the free-kick but was unable to cause any damage with the ball being blocked by United’s defence. United won a free-kick after Sanchez was fouled with Young wanting to take it quickly. Young put the ball into the box with Mata making the run – nothing.

Mourinho was getting Anthony Martial ready as the second substitution with the match approaching the hour mark. Martial FC will be pleased to see the Frenchman out of the cold and in contention to play again, but will he put in a performance to be remembered? Martial replaced Pogba in the 58th minute of the match.

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United had 65% of the ball in the second half until the 62nd minute but were not actually doing much with it. United had a great chance in the 66th minute with Lukaku heading towards goal but Foster making the save. The ball did not go out of play and United collected and went on the attack again, achieving nothing. It seems like it could be one of those days at the office.

In the 69th minute, Antonio Valencia played a good ball into the box but not one United player was in the box to collect. Moments later, Lingard had a shot, which was touched by Brunt and deflected out for what should have been a corner. The referee gave a goal kick though, which continues the poor refereeing this afternoon.

Lingard tried to fee Martial in the 71st minute of the match with Foster collecting the ball to avert the danger. United seemed to be frustrated at this late stage in the game but the Baggies were starting to tire, which could be where United’s fitness and experience come into fruition. From a United attack, the Baggies broke forward, United thwarting the danger and conceding a corner.

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The Baggies took the lead in the 73rd minute of the match with Jay Rodriguez beating De Gea. It could be the day Manchester City win the league, needing United to lose to be crowned the Premier League champions. Mourinho made his third change of the match in the 75th minute with Marcus Rashford replacing Young. Allan Nyom was booked for a bad foul on Martial in the 78th minute.

With ten minutes remaining, United were still trailing to the worst side in the Premier League this season. The substitutions seemed to give the Baggies more to contend for, especially after both Herrera and Pogba were replaced by attacking players. The fans will probably blame Mourinho when many of them on Twitter were calling for attacking replacements.

There were four minutes of added time at the end of the second half with United 1-0 down. It seems a distant memory that United overcame a two goa deficit against City last week and cannot seem to get a goal against the worst team in the league this season. That 200th goal of the Mourinho era is still forthcoming.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young (Rashford 75′); Herrera (Lingard 46′), Matic, Pogba (Martial 58′); Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez

Substitutes Not Used: Pereira; Jones, Rojo; McTominay

Bookings: Paul Pogba 29′

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