Manchester United produced a sensational second half display to beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney made it three goals in four days for club and country when he got the first goal with a clinical finish early in the second half. He then turned provider when his pass set up Cristiano Ronaldo to put United two up. Dimitar Berbatov also got his first Premier League goal for United when he poked United into a 3-0 lead two minutes later. Nani then added a fourth in stoppage time to complete the win.
With Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal all winning earlier in the afternoon the pressure was on United to stay in touch at the top of the table.
United had the bulk of the early possession in front of the home fans without really threatening the West Brom defence. The best of the early chances fell to Ronaldo but he could not apply the finish to a flowing United attack after four minutes. His tame shot was easily saved by West Brom keeper Scott Carson
Wayne Rooney was looking lively and managed to find the back of the net after 23 minutes, only to have his goal ruled out by referee Mark Halsey for a foul on a West Brom defender. Five minutes later Rooney met a Ryan Giggs corner with a powerful header which was saved by Carson.
United continued to put pressure on the stubborn West Brom defence. They had a hand-ball appeal waved away by Halsey five minutes before the break after the ball appeared to strike the arm of Baggies defender Paul Robinson. Despite the huge amount of possession United were unable to make the breakthrough and West Brom’s resilience was rewarded with a 0-0 half time scoreline.
United’s dominance continued into the second half. Rooney was at the centre of the action once again. His thunderous drive from the edge of the area was brilliantly saved by Carson after 50 minutes. Four minutes later it was Berbatov’s turn to be denied by Carson.
The United fans could sense a goal and they didn’t have to wait long as Rooney finally made the breakthrough three minutes later. He ran through with composure to put United ahead with a neat finish into the bottom corner of Carson’s goal.
Rooney then turned supplier as his pass found Ronaldo unmarked. Ronaldo made it look easy as he guided the ball past Carson and into the centre of the goal. Two minutes later Barbatov scored his first Premier League goal for United when he poked in from six yards after the West Brom defence failed to deal with a cross. With the result no longer in doubt substitute Nani added a fourth in stoppage time after a quick United counter attack to round off a fantastic second half display from United. They now move up to fourth in the table.
Based on this performance can United challenge Chelsea and Liverpool for the title? What do you think? Please use the comments box to send us your thoughts.
Chris also writes on the Footie Blog.