Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion  2 - 0

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Premier League: Manchester United 2 West Brom 0

11 March 2012 17:36

Manchester United cruised to the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion thanks to a Wayne Rooney double.

A fairly one-sided affair at Old Trafford was dominated by the champions, who were wasteful for much of the game.

A moment of pure opportunism and a coolly taken penalty from Rooney secured all three points for Alex Ferguson's side, while the visitors were thwarted by David de Gea on the few occasions they managed to break out of their own half.

Despite an early spell of dominance from the home side, it was Roy Hodgon's men who created the first clear-cut opportunity.

After Liam Ridgewell had done well to reach the byline down the United left, the defender cut the ball back to the unmarked Keith Andrews who somehow managed to prod wide from six yards out.

United responded with both Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young coming close before Andrews stung the palms of the ever-improving De Gea from a free-kick.

The hosts enjoyed nearly 70 percent possession in the opening half-hour and it was not long before their dominance was transformed into a half-time lead.

After an assist from Javier Hernandez, Rooney produced a superb piece of opportunism to sneak ahead of Ben Foster and put hid side into the lead.

United started the second half on top as Hernandez produced a powerful effort that fired back off the woodwork.

There was to be no respite for the West Brom defence as the United onslaught continued, with Welbeck firing inexplicably wide with just Foster to beat.

Any chance of a fightback from Hodgson's side dissipated when Jonas Olsson was sent off for a second yellow card, before Andrews felled Young in the penalty area.

Rooney stepped up and coolly slotted home his 20th league goal of the season, sending Foster the wrong way.

Hodgson introduced the energetic Shane Long with 20 minutes to go and the Irishman almost made an immediate impact, forcing De Gea into a smart save at his front post.

United saw out the comfortable victory to move top of the table after rivals Manchester City lost 1-0 at Swansea.

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Premier League preview: Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion

10 March 2012 01:48

Manchester United will hope to forget their Europa League defeat to Athletic Bilbao when they host West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

United went down 3-2 at home to Spanish club Athletic in the Europa League round-of-16 on Thursday.

The English Premier League champions were largely outplayed by the visitors to Old Trafford, and needed a late Wayne Rooney penalty to stay in touch in the two-legged tie.

United do have a chance to make amends when they travel to Estadio San Mames for the second leg next Thursday.

For now their attention turns to domestic matters, and West Brom could find themselves in the firing line if manager Sir Alex Ferguson demands an immediate response from his players.

United have been in impressive league form of late.

They registered a 3-1 win over third-placed Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday, and sit just two points behind cross-city rivals Manchester City.

With the league leaders facing a potential tricky fixture away to Swansea City, United could have a chance to make up more ground in the title race.

West Brom however may have designs on springing a surprise at Old Trafford.

Roy Hodgson's team have managed to win their last three matches in succession, with two of those results prompting the sacking of the opposition manager.

A 5-1 derby thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers saw Mick McCarthy relieved of his duties, while last week's 1-0 victory at home to Chelsea led to the departure of Andre Villas-Boas.

Sandwiched between those two results came an impressive 4-0 win over a resurgent Sunderland team.

Hodgson will be without the experience of versatile player Steven Reid, who is sidelined with an ankle injury, but defender Billy Jones could return from an ankle problem.

For United, goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard will not be available until later this month, also due to an ankle injury.

Young midfielder Tom Cleverley is close to returning, but hamstring trouble will prevent winger Antonio Valencia from featuring this weekend.

The loss of Nemanja Vidic (knee) and Darren Fletcher (illness) for the rest of the season remains a blow to United.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +64 89
2 38 +56 89
3 38 +25 70
4 38 +25 69
5 38 +5 65
6 38 +19 64
7 38 +10 56
8 38 +7 52
9 38 -3 52
10 38 -7 47
11 38 -7 47
12 38 -14 47
13 38 -1 45
14 38 -17 45
15 38 -20 43
16 38 -16 38
17 38 -23 37
18 38 -31 36
19 38 -30 31
20 38 -42 25