Manchester United fend off West Brom in drab Hawthorns clash

Manchester United survived a late scare to clinch an uninspiring victory at West Brom.

Romelu Lukaku’s 15th goal of the season and Jesse Lingard’s deflected effort sealed a 2-1 win at The Hawthorns.

They were made to sweat after Gareth Barry’s second-half strike but held on to close the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City to 11 points.

Tweet of the Match

“6812 – Gareth Barry has scored his first @premierleague goal as a substitute in 6812 days, with his previous one coming for Aston Villa in April 1999 (v Nottingham Forest). Eternal” – @OptaJoe pulled out the stat of the weekend.

Star man – Barry

The 36-year-old might have finished up on the losing side but his influence after coming on as a half-time substitute almost turned an uninspiring game on its head. The man with the most Premier League appearances proved he was still up for the fight by poking home the Baggies’ opener and contributing to a much-improved second half display by the home side which could have snatched them a point.

Moment of the Match

Lukaku ended Manchester United’s frustration by firing their opener in the 27th minute – but the repercussions may be more about his lack of celebration in front of the travelling fans. The former Baggies star earned criticism on social media and may have more explaining to do to his team-mates during the week ahead.

View from the bench

Jose Mourinho will undoubtedly bridle at the very suggestion Manchester United continue to get the job done in a manner which provides a stark contrast to their high-flying city rivals. Despite winning, their chances of overhauling Pep Guardiola’s men – and their continued dependency on deep defence – seem as distant as ever. Conversely Baggies boss Alan Pardew can take plenty of encouragement from defeat – in particular, with the way his side rallied in the second half under the influence of the talismanic Barry.

Match ratings

West Brom: Ben Foster 6 (out of 10), Allan Nyom 6, Ahmed Hegazy 7, Jonny Evans 7, Kieran Gibbs 6, Jake Livermore 7, Claudio Yacob 6, Grzegorz Krychowiak 6, Oliver Burke 7, Salomon Rondon 6, James McClean 7. Subs: Chris Brunt (for Krychowiak, 72) 6, Gareth Barry (for Yacob, 45) 8, Jay Rodriguez (for Burke, 64) 7.

Man Utd: David de Gea 6, Antonio Valencia 6, Chris Smalling 6, Phil Jones 7, Ashley Young 6, Ander Herrera 7, Nemanja Matic 7, Juan Mata 7, Jesse Lingard 7, Marcus Rashford 6, Romelu Lukaku 8. Subs: Marcos Rojo (for Valencia, 66) 5, Anthony Martial (for Rashford, 79) 6, Scott McTominay (for Lingard, 86) 6.

Who’s up next?

Stoke v West Brom (Premier League, December 23)

Bristol City v Man Utd (Carabao Cup, December 20)

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