A hard fought win for Manchester United




Robin van Persie’s 17th goal of the season ensured Manchester United claimed yet another scalp on their march towards what they hope will be a 20th league title at Old Trafford.

A hard fought win for Manchester United

A hard fought win for Manchester United

It was also a good defensive performance from United as they managed to keep the clean sheet only for the fourth time this season. Skipper Nemanja Vidic who was plagued by injuries from the past 16 months was restored to the line-up for only the second time after his recent knee operation, Vidic used all of his experience to ensure that the hosts were not made to pay for a lackluster display in the second-half.

Gareth McAuley’s early own goal had given hosts the lead but it was Robin van Persie who  curled home a brilliant effort in the 90th minute to ensure that the seven point lead at the top of the table is preserved.

After all the furore around Ferguson’s confrontation with Mike Dean on Boxing Day, mascot “Fred the Red” probably approached the United boss with a degree of trepidation as the pair met on the touchline prior to kick off.  Referee Jon Moss did little to get the United manager vexed, beyond an inexplicable free-kick against Tom Cleverley when the midfielder had been looking at a dropping ball on the edge of his own box when Billy Jones crashed into him.

United where already leading at that point courtesy of McAuley’s own goal who deflected Ashley Young’s pin-point cross into his own net. United almost extended their lead to two when Ashley Young sweetly half volleyed Antonio Valencia’s cross, only for the former United keeper Ben Foster to superbly deflect it over the bar.

Danny Welbeck – after recovering from illness and Shinji Kagawa –  back from the knee injury since October sparkled for the hosts in the first half. The presence of Vidic offered some degree of comfort for the United’s defense who have already conceded 28 goals in the premier league this season. His bravery was unquestioned as he blocked a number of efforts from a good looking West Brom side. Robin Van Persie was introduced mid way through the first half after the away side started dominating the game. Van Persie was denied by Foster with eight minutes remaining but the West Brom keeper could do nothing about the dutchman’s  late curler into the top corner from Paul Scholes’s pass.

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