Match report: Manchester United 1 West Brom 0

Manchester United held onto a crucial 1-0 victory to ensure Ole Gunnar Solskjær gained his first home win of the season, after a controversial penalty was converted by Bruno Fernandes.

United’s Portuguese hero was the catalyst that spurred his team to victory, being involved in two major periods of the game.

The first half saw a game lacking energy, with West Brom controlling much of the tempo despite United having the better opportunities.

Former United player, Sam Johnstone, was the busier goalkeeper in the game, producing several fantastic saves to deny the men in red.

In the first half, Anthony Martial had two efforts kept out, being denied by West Brom’s outstanding performer. The Frenchman’s first effort was repudiated after flicking on a header from Bruno Fernandes’ wicked ball into the 18-yard box. His second was stopped from point-blank range, Johnstone keeping out a low-driven shot to his lower left-hand side from five yards out.

The midlands side settled comfortably in the game and had two good opportunities to take the lead.

Branislav Ivanovic fired a header just over the bar from a dangerous cross by Matheus Pereira. Defender Kyle Bartley was narrowly close to converting from a whipped in corner, with David de Gea glaring at the ball go over the bar.

United’s midfield maestro, Bruno Fernandes, found himself calling for the ball on regular occasions, but looked frustrated to not receive possession in dangerous areas. The Portuguese International was finding positions in deep areas and produced elements of class, picking out beautiful passes to both Martial and Juan Mata.

Fernandes was lucky to get away with an overturned penalty he gave away at the start of the second half, making contact with Connor Gallagher’s shin. Although he seemed to touch the ball, the followthrough on the opposing player was clear to see, only for the referee to reverse his decision.

West Brom were unlucky on various occasions, and their best chance of the match fell to Callum Robinson, who smashed the crossbar from a wonderful curling effort on the edge of the area.

Manchester United got their penalty after a handball controversy at Old Trafford. Darnell Furlong was deemed to have raised his hand, despite appearing to not look at the ball when the cross was made by Mata.

Sam Johnstone denied Bruno Fernandes first time round, diving low to his left to claw the ball away. However, the spot-kick was ordered to be retaken after the goalkeeper was caught off his line. Fernandes confidently dispatched the second penalty, firing high and powerfully into the roof of the net.

Whilst the performance wasn’t tidy and efficient, it was a crucial three points for United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who will be relieved to get a first Premier League victory at Old Trafford this season. Despite his team not being at their best, he will be hoping this result can act as a platform to go on a run of positive results in a crucial winter period.

The Norwegian will be tested as to how he manages the fitness levels of his side in the coming month, having to play 13 matches in six weeks. United find themselves needing to pick up crucial points in both Europe and domestically. The next game against İstanbul Başakşehir will be an opportunity to write the wrongs of the recent past, and leave the club in a good position to reach the knockout phase.

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