Romelu Lukaku got back on the scoresheet again with a signature header, while Jesse Lingard’s deflected shot gave Manchester United a commanding lead going into half-time. However, Mourinho’s men made hard-work of the game, allowing West Brom back in with a soft goal. Nevertheless, the Reds hung on and took all three points back to Manchester.
David De Gea: 6
The in-form goalkeeper was fairly untested for the majority of this game, with West Brom’s biggest threat coming from their aerial service. De Gea looked flustered when the Baggies started to launch the ball in the box. He could’ve been more commanding with the corner that led to Gareth Barry’s goal, and he was lucky to hang onto the ball after flopping at a cross later in the game.
Antonio Valencia: 7
The captain was his usual steady self, dealing with the occasionally tricky James McClean with relative ease. He came off shortly after the hour mark with a seeming pulled hamstring. Valencia has been a rock for the Reds all season, so his injury will be a massive concern for Mourinho.
Chris Smalling: 6.5
Smalling has emerged as the trusted choice of center-back after Eric Bailly’s injury troubles were confirmed earlier this week. He was assured at the back for the majority of the night, yet West Brom tested the center-back partnership with an increased aerial bombardment.
Phil Jones: 7
With Bailly confirmed out, United will need to rely on Jones staying healthy. After coming back from injury himself last week, he looked solid and confident at the back alongside Smalling. A rock performance throwing his body on the line on multiple occasions.
Ashley Young: 7
West Brom’s offense was fairly nonexistent in the first half, which allowed Young to get forward. However, after United sat back more in the second-half, he was called upon defensively. Could have given a penalty away after shrugging off McClean in the box.
Ander Herrera: 6
Herrera has adapted his role as a nuisance to the opposition in breaking up play. His creative style that we saw last year appears to be dwindling. He worked hard alongside Matić and was disciplined, but he gave the ball away too often. His place looks under threat when Paul Pogba returns.
Nemanja Matić: 7.5 (Man of the Match)
Gave United the spark to connect defense to attack, something that he has had to take on with the absence of Paul Pogba. He broke up play effectively and was composed on the ball; a solid performance.
Juan Mata: 6.5
Mata was United’s creative hub in the first-half, with most of United’s chances coming through him. He grabbed an assist for Lingard’s goal. He faded off in the second-half.
Jesse Lingard: 7
Jesse’s current run of form has been rewarded with more game time from Mourinho. He started brightly in this game, looking to penetrate through the middle of West Brom’s defense. He caused problems all afternoon, grabbing himself another goal, albeit after a lucky deflection.
Marcus Rashford: 6.5
Rashford came up against the experienced Nyom and struggled to get past the defender, who made it his role to wind the young forward up all afternoon. On multiple occasions he was manhandled by the physicality of the Baggies backline, reacting to an apparent elbow from Hegazi. Had moments where he looked to impact the game.
Romelu Lukaku: 7
The Belgian striker found the net again, making it two-in-two with a spectacular rising header. After Marcus Rashford whipped in an excellent cross, Lukaku rose up above Gibbs, overpowering the left-back and finding the top-right corner. He looked very energetic in the first-half as United pressured West Brom, yet as they sat back more in the second-half he struggled to find much of the ball. Nevertheless, he still looked dangerous on the break. Promising signs after much criticism from his recent performances.
Marcos Rojo (Sub, 66’): 6
Came on for the injured Valencia after 66 minutes. Apart from swiping at a clearance that led to a corner, he had a solid performance.
Anthony Martial (Sub, 79’): 6.5
Came on for Marcus Rashford with ten minutes left. He helped United see the game out, providing tricky footwork and drawing multiple fouls to wind the clock down.
Scott McTominay (Sub, 86’): N/A
Too late for a rating.
José Mourinho: 6.5
Mourinho seems to be adapting the side based on Paul Pogba’s absence, playing a much more defensive shape. The last two games have focused less on the possessive side of the game, and relying on United’s explosive speed up-top. United controlled the game in the first-half, yet failed to capitalize in the second-half, instead dropping back and trying to hold onto the lead. There will be a dissatisfaction by many United fans at the inability to punish a mediocre team.