Manchester United rediscovered the old confidence, style and swagger in an excellent 3-0 win at West Brom.
Phil Jones headed only his second Barclays Premier League goal for the club, before Wayne Rooney and substitute Danny Welbeck finished off incisive moves to lift the team into sixth in the table. The Reds were on top in the first half, even if defensive pairing Jones and Chris Smalling both had to make important tackles, with a fourth corner inside the opening 16 minutes leading to Youssouf Mulumbu clearing off the line to prevent an own goal by Chris Brunt.
Ben Foster pulled off a reflex save to tip a Rafael header onto the bar from Adnan Januzaj’s fine cross but had no chance when Jones powered home a header from Robin van Persie’s inviting free-kick. Jones was relieved to see Victor Anichebe fire wide after showing his strength before real controversy when Foster handled outside his box when miscontrolling Juan Mata’s intended pass to van Persie. Referee Jon Moss deemed it unintentional, so it went completely unpunished.
Moss was in the spotlight again when van Persie fouled Steven Reid after already being cautioned but leniency was shown as the Dutchman did get a touch on the ball. Following van Persie’s substitution, Rooney added a crucial second. The striker latched onto Rafael’s centre after being involved earlier in a devastating move to head in. The third goal was also the result of splendid team play as a series of short passes led to Rooney finding Welbeck and the substitute made no mistake with a clinical finish.
Although David De Gea made a couple of saves to deny Zoltan Gera, the Reds were rarely troubled on the way to a third successive clean sheet in the league.