Manchester United 1 - 0 West Bromwich Albion: Lacklustre United claim all three points at home
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United scores his team's first goal, a penalty which he is retaking following a VAR review that decided Sam Johnstone of West Bromwich Albion (not pictured) was off his line, during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on November 21, 2020 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Manchester United were able to claim a much-needed three points at Old Trafford thanks to a Bruno Fernandes penalty, although only after it was retaken.

The victory takes United above their crosstown rivals Manchester City, who suffered defeat at the hands of Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspurs side. West Bromwich Albion, meanwhile, remain winless so far this season.

Story of the game

With Luke Shaw out injured, Brazilian Alex Telles was given the opportunity to make his Premier League debut. Paul Pogba was absent from the matchday squad with an ankle problem sustained on international duty, which meant Fred was afforded a rare weekend start alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield. 

The teams came out determined to leave their mark on the game, exemplified by an aggressive opening ten minutes from both sides. United gradually gained a foothold, Anthony Martial forcing Sean Johnstone into a fine save after Harry Maguire sparked the counter-attack. 

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Ten minutes before the halftime whistle, Juan Mata made a curving run to the byline, found by Bruno Fernandes with a lofted ball. However, the Spaniard couldn't pull it back to Martial, with Johnstone eventually collecting. 

West Brom's Kyle Bartley saw his backwards header skim the roof of the net in the visitor's best chance of an otherwise lacklustre half, the score level at the break. 

Barely a minute into the second half, a break by West Brom resulted in Fernandes swiping at the shins of Conor Gallagher and referee David Coote pointing to the spot. However, VAR intervened and the decision was reversed.  

Seven minutes later and Mata received the ball in the box, his shot met by the raised arms of Darnell Furlong. This time around, the hosts were on the better end of a penalty decision but saw it saved, Johnstone diving to his left to deny Fernandes. 

However, the keeper jumped off his line and the penalty was retaken and the Portuguese scored at the second time of asking,  his lifted attempt which going above the former United shot-stopper. 

62nd-minute substitute Callum Robinson came on with almost an immediate effect, a floating shot drifting above a scrambling David de Gea but cruelly bouncing off the crossbar. At the other end, Johnstone made yet another excellent save to deny Marcus Rashford what should've been United's second. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will count themselves lucky to take all the spoils in an unconvincing night in Manchester, but the victory sees the climb into the top half of the table, albeit momentarily. 

Teams

Man Utd: de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred (McTominay, 83'), Matic; Mata (Cavani, 62'), Fernandes, Rashford (van de Beek, 79'); Martial. 

West Brom: Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, Ivanovic (Krovinovic, 79'), Townsend; Pereira, Sawyers, Gallagher, Diangana (Robson-Kanu, 62'); Ahearne-Grant (Robinson, 62'). 

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