Ashley Young celebrates after his cross is knocked in by West Brom defender Gareth McAuley

Man United   2

McAuley (OG 9), van Persie (90)

West Brom   0

Saturday 29 December 2012 Old Trafford | Attendance: 75,595

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Man United
1De Gea
12Smalling
15Vidic
6Evans
3Evra
7Valenciayellow card
16Carrick
23Cleverleysub22
18Young
26Kagawasub20
19Welbeck
Subs:
13Lindegaard
5Ferdinand
11Giggs
14Hernandez
20van Persiesub26goal
22Scholessub23
28Buttner
West Brom
1Foster
28Jones
23McAuleygoal
30Tamas
6Ridgewell
15Thorne
11Bruntsub7
8Rosenbergsub20
17Dorranssub32
24Odemwingie
9Long
Subs:
13Myhill
20Lukakusub8
7Morrisonsub11
10El Ghanassy
18Jara
25Dawson
32Fortunesub17

Report

29/12/2012 16:45, Report by Adam Marshall
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United 2 West Brom 0

As the rain started to cascade down again, the match remained in the balance with Foster barely tested until clawing away a Valencia attempt seconds before Kagawa made way for top scorer van Persie. Clarke made a change of his own by introducing Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku to the action and the substitutions added punch to both attacks.

There was a let-off when McAuley almost atoned for his own goal by heading against the bar but referee Jon Moss rightly awarded a free-kick as the defender was climbing over Smalling to get to the corner. Nonetheless, it was another warning, if any was needed, that the high-flying Baggies were capable of getting something out of the encounter.

Sir Alex restructured the side in a bid to hold onto the lead with Valencia dropping to right-back and Smalling switching to the middle to form a five-man defence. It left United short of options going forward as the crowd became increasingly nervous, with this tension transmitting itself to the players.

A chance was finally carved out when Evra threaded the ball through to van Persie but the Dutchman's shot was saved by the legs of Foster. Vidic, excellent throughout, unconvincingly helped an Odemwingie drive out for a corner as the pressure continued with the leaders only capable of occasional breakaways led by the isolated van Persie. Yet the Reds' leading scorer still managed to have the final say after Welbeck's shot had forced a corner through Foster's diving stop.

Subsitute Paul Scholes had a shot blocked before helping it on to van Persie via Valencia and the deadly striker did the rest, biding his time before bending a brilliant effort over Foster to double the advantage and finally sink the brave Baggies.

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