Man City win Premier League title as West Brom stun Man United at Old Trafford

0
SHARE

Manchester United lost to bottom side West Brom in a result which saw Manchester City crowned as Premier League champions.

West Brom secured the victory at Old Trafford thanks to a Jay Rodriguez header from Chris Brunt’s corner as United failed to clear their lines.

City now have an unassailable 16-point lead over Jose Mourinho’s side at the top of the table.

United’s best chance of the game was a Romelu Lukaku header, which was superbly saved by Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster.

City manager Pep Guardiola had claimed he would be on the golf course on Sunday afternoon and would not watch the game.

The win was West Brom’s first since a 2-0 success over Brighton on 12 January and only their fourth all season.

However, Premier League survival still looks unlikely for the Baggies, who are nine points adrift of 17th-placed Swansea with four matches to play.

Last weekend saw United complete a stunning comeback victory over City as they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium.

In that match, Mourinho’s side produced a poor first-half display before they rallied to deny City what would have been the sweetest of coronations as champions.

United should have been surfing the crest of the wave following that victory, but instead they fell flat against West Brom.

With the exception of the chance for Lukaku – and a penalty appeal when Ander Herrera was caught by Craig Dawson – it was a soporific first half for the home fans.

It is hard to imagine United would have approached a home game against the bottom club in such a way under Sir Alex Ferguson’s management.

In situations such as these – with United being second in the table – Ferguson may have trusted his players to play with more freedom and blow West Brom away, which begs the question of whether Mourinho has the same faith in his squad to deliver.

“Attack, attack, attack” was the call from the Stretford End in the second half and while United were more purposeful with the directness of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial, they could not find an equaliser.

Perhaps the only comfort for United supporters is that City were denied the kind of thrilling champagne moment that fans crave.

Instead, the title was decided on a wet Sunday afternoon when the new champions were not playing. It is hard to imagine City’s players and Guardiola being too bothered by that, though.

Caretaker boss Darren Moore is a popular figure at Albion and has quickly introduced the kind of togetherness and organisation so stark by its absence under Alan Pardew, who was sacked at the beginning of the month.

The Albion board may want a more experienced hand at the tiller next season, while the fans will probably crave a bigger name in management terms.

However, Moore has done his reputation no harm whatsoever as his players produced a performance which married commitment with tactical discipline.

West Brom finished with their backs to the wall but had chances of their own in the game, and Jake Livermore had earlier tested David De Gea with arguably the best opportunity before the break.

This was West Brom’s first league away win in 16 attempts and ended a 12-match streak without a victory – a run which included 11 straight defeats.

It also emphasises how misguided the appointment of Pardew now appears.

If Moore was able to coax such a performance out of these players, then what could he, or an alternative choice, have done with more time?

Paul Pogba’s two goals against City felt like a defining moment for the France midfielder during a season which has had more downs than ups.

However, United’s record £89m signing followed it up with a underwhelming display on the left of midfield in a 4-3-3 system.

Pogba was substituted by Mourinho in the 58th minute and the player departed proceedings with an air of resignation rather than annoyance at the decision.

It will inevitably lead to more questions over whether Pogba and United are such a good fit, given the sense he has yet to fully display his ability on a consistent basis.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.