That’s it for tonight - I’ll leave you with Jamie Jackson’s match report. Goodnight!
Full time: Man Utd 1-0 West Brom
Peep peep! Manchester United move up to ninth after a laboured victory over West Brom. As usual, it was all about VAR. West Brom were awarded a penalty which was controversially overturned on review; a few minutes later, Bruno Fernandes scored a twice-taken penalty at the other end. It’s United’s first league win at Old Trafford this season, but it was an underwhelming performance.
90+2 min Martial is denied a goal by a brilliant last-ditch tackle from one of the West Brom defenders. I’m not sure who it was but well done them.
90+1 min Cavani is booked for leaving some on Gallagher.
90 min Four minutes of added time.
88 min The match is petering out. If West Brom do equalise, United will regret their laziness in possession in the last 10-15 minutes. They’ve been playing at walking pace half the time. This has been a very odd game.
85 min United’s last home win in the league was a thrilling 5-2 defeat of Bournemouth. It feels a long time ago, and not only because it was a long time ago.
83 min United make their final change. Scott McTominay, penalty king, comes on for Fred.
80 min “The West Bromwich body language,” says Ian Copestake, “seems to reflect an absence of the will to live.”
Ian, what have I told you about projecting.
79 min West Brom make their final change - Filip Krovinovic replaces Branislav Ivanovic. And Manchester United bring on Donny van de Beek for Marcus Rashford.
78 min Some 1-0s feel safer than others. This is somewhere in the middle. A West Brom goal wouldn’t be a shock, but it would be against the run of play.
77 min Fernandes and Telles try the old Beckham/Scholes corner. Fernandes angles the ball back to Telles, who blooters a volley over the bar.
76 min Fernandes drives a beautiful pass over the defence towards Rashford, but his first touch is poor and the ball runs away from goal. Gallagher was booked for a foul on Fred just before that.
75 min After a good move from United, Bruno Fernandes’s first-time shot from the edge of the area is blocked.
74 min Conor Gallagher, on loan from Chelsea, has had a fine game in midfield for West Brom. He’s only 20 and could become a really good player.
72 min Bartley blocks another Cavani shot, this time after a nice through pass from Fernandes.
71 min Fernandes’s corner is flicked on by Cavani and comes to Maguire at the far post. He drags a shot into the ground that bounces up and is palmed away by Johnstone. That was a more comfortable save for him, though still a decent one.
70 min Martial crosses low to Cavani, whose first-time shot is well blocked by Bartley.
67 min: Johnstone makes another brilliant save! He’s having a blinder against his old club. Fernandes’s low ball across the area reached Rashford at the far post, six yards out. He dummied to shoot and then sidefooted the ball back across goal. It looked certain to go in, but Johnstone flew to his left to make an outstanding reaction save.
66 min “I would love it,” says Ian Copestake, “if a ref stopped Fernandes doing his penalty hop citing ungentlemanly conduct and human rights violations.”
65 min: Robinson hits the bar with a glorious effort! Oh my. Robson-Kanu lost three players on the halfway line with a Cruyff turn (hello Belgium) and found Gallagher on the left. He gave the ball to Robinson, who whipped an extravagant curling shot from the edge of the area that beat de Gea and clattered off the bar. I think those were Robinson’s first touches of the game.
63 min “I don’t understand why that penalty against Fernandes was overturned,” says J.R. in Illinois. “Did they think there was no contact? Or did they think he got some of the ball first? As opposed to the call in the Villa game where Solly March clearly got the ball before making slight contact, the only thing I saw Fernandes make contact with was Gallagher’s shin. And though I can’t prove it, I’m not just saying that because I’m a West Brom fan. Totally bogus, man.”
He touched the ball first - only slightly, but there was a touch before he followed through into Gallagher. Whether that’s enough to overturn the decision... I haven’t a clue anymore.
62 min And United bring on Edinson Cavani for Juan Mata. Martial moves to the left and Rashford to the right.
62 min Both teams are going to make a substitution. West Brom first: Hal Robson-Kanu and Callum Robinson replace Grady Diangana and Karlan Grant.
58 min That’s twice this season that Fernandes has missed a penalty and then scored the retake. The same thing happened at PSG in the Champions League.
57 min West Brom will feel pretty aggrieved, and you can understand why. The decision against Furlong was correct under the new interpretation of the handball law, but that interpretation is horse pucky.
GOAL! Man Utd 1-0 West Brom (Fernandes 56 pen)
Fernandes scores this time, sidefooting the ball high to his left. Johnstone went the right way but couldn’t reach it.
FERNANDES' PENALTY IS SAVED - BUT IT WILL BE RETAKEN!
54 min Fernandes did his usual skip but Johnstone went the right way, to his left, and pushed it away. It was a brilliant stop - but replays showed that he was off his line when the kick was taken.
54 min: Penalty given.
54 min Furlong’s hand was away from his body, though he wasn’t even looking at the ball. It’s being checked by VAR. I doubt this will be overturned.
53 min: Penalty to United! This one is for handball against Furlong.
52 min: Good save by de Gea! West Brom have been the better team since half-time. A right-wing cross found its way through to Townsend beyond the far post. He controlled the ball on the chest and hit a low drive that was brilliantly saved with his legs by de Gea.
49 min Rashford’s wobbling long-range strike is palmed round acrobatically by Johnstone.
No penalty! On BT Sport, Glenn Hoddle and Peter Walton both think the decision should not have been overturned - Hoddle thought it was a foul, Walton thought it wasn’t a clear and obvious error. I can see both sides!
The referee David Coote is going across to look at the monitor. This is very similar to the one that was overturned in the Villa game this afternoon.
Bruno Fernandes has been penalised for a tackle on Conor Gallagher. I thought he got the ball, and it’s being checked by VAR.
PENALTY TO WEST BROM!
46 min Peep peep! West Brom begin the second half. If they’re not very careful, they could end up winning this game.
“Evening Rob,” says Neil Carter. “No BT Sport so following the blog whilst watching Strictly (whilst keeping an eye on the Strictly blog). Saturdays are strange these days mate, much like a Manchester United home performance. My God it’s tedious. I literally don’t know what to say any more other than this doesn’t surprise me at all [pours another G&T].”
The one thing I don’t understand about games like these is the absence of van de Beek.
Half time: Man Utd 0-0 West Brom
Peep peep! Another 45 minutes of frustration for Manchester United. Sam Johnstone made one outstanding save and one decent one, both from Anthony Martial, but that aside United struggled against a dogged West Brom defence. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
45 min One minute of added time.
42 min: Chance for Bartley! Gallagher’s inswinging corner is headed onto the roof of the net by Bartley. It was a really clever effort - he was facing away from goal, under pressure from Maguire, so he improvised a backheader that almost sneaked in the net. United fans have seen that one before.
41 min The confident Gallagher does well to find Diangana on the edge of the area. His shot hits Wan-Bissaka and deflects behind for a corner.
40 min West Brom are really well organised defensively. They are limited, we know that, but their spirit is admirable. I don’t think they’re nailed on to be relegated.
39 min “Looking through all the old Twin Peaks vids now,” says Bill Hargreaves. “That’s happening again. Seemingly wide open league this year. Please that’s being returned to, too.”
I think Liverpool will retain the title it at a canter, though I would love Jose Mourinho to win it and turn his acceptance speech into a breathless five-hour score-settler.
38 min Telles threatens to get round the back for the first time in the match, but Ajayi recovers well and forces him away from goal.
36 min Fernandes’s corner flashes across the face of goal and eventually reaches Maguire, whose stinging volley flattens Kyle Bartley. It hit him straight in the coupon. I think Maguire’s shot was going in, although there was probably a push from Maguire on Ivanovic just beforehand.
34 min It’s now five hours since United scored a league goal at Old Trafford. In that time they also beat Leipzig 5-0 in the Champions League. I have no idea.
33 min Fernandes drives a stunning angled pass over the defence to find Mata on the right edge of the six-yard box. His cushioned volley towards Martial is intercepted by Townsend, and Johnstone nips in front of Martial to push the loose ball to safety. The pass from Fernandes was glorious
30 min It’s 0-0 after half an hour. All bets are thus off.
29 min “Every minute that passes without a United goal just tightens the noose around Ole’s neck,” says Mary Waltz. “Unfair but reality.”
28 min Pereira pulled Martial’s shirt for a split-second, which is why he went down and appealed for a penalty. Sometimes they’re given, sometimes not.
27 min: No penalty. We haven’t seen a replay yet.
27 min That penalty appeal is being checked by VAR. Play continues for now.
26 min Martial appeals unsuccessfully for a penalty after a challenge by Pereira.
24 min Here’s some footage from a Manchester United supporters’ watch party.
23 min Fred’s through ball towards Martial is crucially intercepted by the last man Ajayi.
20 min: Just wide from Grant! More good play from West Brom. Pereira nutmegs Matic and slides a pass down the inside-right channel for Grant. He drives a low cross-shot that takes a slight touch off Lindelof and drifts just wide of the far post. From the resulting corner, Ivanovic heads over from six yards. He was running away from goal so it wasn’t much of a chance.
20 min That really was an outstanding save from Johnstone a few minutes ago. He’s quite a big lad but he got down so quickly.
19 min Townsend plays a nice give-and-go with Diangana, dances round Maguire in the area but then runs the ball out of play. West Brom will be pleased with how they’ve started this game.
16 min: Brilliant save by Johnstone! That was a lovely move from United. Maguire nicked the ball on the halfway line, surged forward and found Rashford on the left. He fizzed a square ball towards Bruno Fernandes, who was in a bit of space at the far post. Fernandes laid the ball off first time to Martial, who sidefooted a low first-time shot towards goal from eight yards. Johnstone got down superbly to his left to push it away.
15 min United can be such slow starters, especially at home, and tonight has been no different.
13 min Fernandes plays a good pass down the right to Martial. His low cross is slightly behind Rashford, who dummies the ball at the near post in the hope that Fred arrives in the area in time. He doesn’t.
12 min West Brom look quite bright going forward, Diangana and Gallagher in particular.
11 min United are already looking a bit frustrated, Bruno Fernandes in particular.
8 min Maguire moves forward with the ball and finds Rashford on the left. His inswinging cross just evades the stretching Fernandes and goes out for a goalkick. It’s been a scruffy start to the game.
5 min West Brom have had plenty of the ball in the first few minutes. I thought they might park the bus but that hasn’t happened yet.
2 min Martial beats three players down the right before being fouled by Barkley. Mata’s free-kick is headed on at the near post by Martial and pushed away by the diving Johnstone. That was a pretty good save.
1 min Peep peep! Bruno Fernandes gets the match underway for United, who are kicking from right to left.
West Brom are in their evocative yellow and green change strip. United are in red; both teams are wearing black armbands in tribute to Albert Quixall.
“Rob,” says Stig. “Appreciate that Utd are struggling, but would any of the WBA players make it into the Utd team?”
Ten minutes until kick-off. A victory would move United into the top half of the table, perhaps as high as seventh. If West Brom win they will move out of the relegation places.
In other news
Here’s more on a very good night for Jose Mourinho
United have won none of their last six league games at Old Trafford, which I think is their worst run since the bleak winter of 1989-90. They have plenty of incentive to win tonight, not least because it would move them above Manchester City. Solskjaer out!
United’s new left-back Alex Telles makes his Premier League debut. He is returning after Covid-19, as are Branislav Ivanovic and Matheus Pereira in the West Brom side. But West Brom have lost two more players to Covid, with the captain Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs unavailable.
Donny van de Beek is still only on the bench for United, while Paul Pogba isn’t in the squad. He has an ankle injury.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, Matic; Mata, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.
Substitutes: Henderson, Tuanzebe, Williams, James, McTominay, van de Beek, Cavani.
West Bromwich Albion (5-4-1) Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Ivanovic, Bartley, Townsend; Pereira, Sawyers, Gallagher, Diangana; Grant.
Substitutes: Button, O’Shea, Phillips, Harper, Krovinovic, Robson-Kanu, Robinson.
Referee David Coote.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Manchester United v West Brom from Old Trafford. It’s 14th versus 18th in the league - or, if you look at the relevant home and away tables, 19th versus 19th. Both teams have picked up one point in four games, with United scoring two goals and West Brom conceding 10. It’s the resistible force versus the movable object.
Most people will expect a comfortable home win; we always do when West Brom go to Manchester. But they have won three of their five games at Old Trafford since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, including a shock win in 2018 that confirmed Manchester City as champions.
It’s hard to know what constitutes a shock these days, particularly with a team as mercurial as United. They were excellent in their last league game, the 3-1 win at Everton, and if they score early tonight they could win handsomely. But if it’s still 0-0 after half an hour, all bets are off.
Kick off 8pm.