Manchester United 0-1 West Brom: Jay Rodriguez seals Manchester City's title triumph
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 16/04/18 6:20am
West Brom secured the Premier League title for Manchester City and boosted their faint survival hopes with an unlikely 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Jay Rodriguez headed the title-winning goal from close range on 73 minutes as a lethargic United failed to prolong their rivals' wait to be crowned champions, a week on from doing so in dramatic fashion in the Manchester derby.
West Brom remain nine points from safety at the foot of the table but a timely first win in 11 leaves them with the slimmest of chances of avoiding relegation with four games to play.
Knowing defeat would all-but secure their relegation to the Championship, West Brom created the better chances and frustrated United as Old Trafford bore witness to another underwhelming first half.
The visitors nearly took the lead on 13 minutes through a low Jake Livermore shot but David de Gea, as he has done all season, came to United's rescue with a fine save.
Man Utd: De Gea (5), Valencia (5), Lindelof (5), Smalling (5), Young (5), Herrera (4), Pogba (5), Matic (6), Mata (5), Sanchez (5), Lukaku (6).
Subs: Martial (5), Lingard (5), Rashford (4).
West Brom: Foster (8), Nyom (7), Dawson (8), Hegazi (7), Gibbs (6), Phillips (6), Livermore (6), Brunt (6), McClean (7), Rodriguez (8), Rondon (6).
Subs: Yacob (n/a), Sturridge (n/a), Krychowiak (5).
Man of the Match: Jay Rodriguez.
United were unfortunate not to win a penalty after Craig Dawson brought Ander Herrera down in the area on 18 minutes, but referee Paul Tierney chose not to point to the spot.
Ben Foster produced a fine double save two minutes later to prevent Romelu Lukaku scoring against his former club and Alexis Sanchez from converting the rebound.
From there on, United were toothless in the final third and West Brom looked the more threatening as Dawson headed Chris Brunt's corner agonisingly across the face of goal on 42 minutes.
Jesse Lingard was introduced by Jose Mourinho at half-time and the substitute so nearly had an immediate impact with a half-volley from 14 yards, but Dawson flung himself in the way of the effort.
Jose Mourinho made two changes to his Manchester derby winning side as Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata replaced Eric Bailly and Jesse Lingard. West Brom caretaker boss Darren Moore named an unchanged side.
It took United until the 67th minute to register an attempt on target as Lukaku's header across goal drew a stunning fingertip save from Foster.
Lingard flashed a shot wide shortly after before Rodriguez won a corner and dispatched Nemanja Matic's inadvertent knockdown to hand City the title, boos from the disgruntled Old Trafford faithful greeting the final whistle.
- West Brom have lost just one of their last five Premier League visits to Old Trafford (W3 D1 L1), with their only loss in this run coming in November 2015 (0-2).
- This was just the second time in Premier League history that Manchester United have lost at Old Trafford to a side starting that day as the bottom of the league club - the other game was a 2-3 defeat to Blackburn Rovers in December 2011.
- Since Jose Mourinho was named as Manchester United manager in the summer of 2016, four clubs have won more points in the Premier League than the Red Devils (140) - Manchester City (165), Chelsea (153), Tottenham Hotspur (153) and Liverpool (146).
- Darren Moore has already equalled Alan Pardew's total Premier League wins (1 in 18 games) as WBA manager in just his second game as boss (1).
- Moore has led WBA to four points in his two games as caretaker manager (W1 D1 L0), the same tally of points that Alan Pardew secured in his final 11 Premier League games as manager (W1 D1 L9).
- Jay Rodriguez has scored as many goals in his last four Premier League appearances (3) as he did in his previous 26 combined.
Jose Mourinho: "We were deservedly punished. Everything was complicated, they couldn't play simple, everything was one more touch, one more flick, one more turn, the ball lost. No fluidity in our football. I don't think we deserved to lose, but we gave them the opportunity to win the match."
Darren Moore: "It was important to come here and give a positive performance. The players and the staff put a real shift in and there is real belief at the club."
Man of the Match - Jay Rodriguez
Rodriguez drew a line under a testing period off the pitch with the winner at Old Trafford. The striker's charge of racially abusing Gaetan Bong was found not proven earlier this week and he visibly played with a new-found freedom. "It's been horrendous for myself, my family," he told Sky Sports. "I'm a great believer in the truth always comes out. For me it was a massive weight off my shoulders."
United head to Bournemouth on Wednesday before contending their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday. West Brom, meanwhile, host Liverpool at The Hawthorns live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday.