Bruno Fernandes was heavily involved at both ends as the Portuguese playmaker’s all-action performance helped secure a critical three points for Man Utd over West Brom.
The Red Devils crafted the game’s first opportunity, with ex-Man Utd stopper Sam Johnstone called into action early.
Bruno Fernandes’ whipped free kick was glanced on by Anthony Martial, but the West Brom keeper was equal to the task to preserve the deadlock.
The hosts’ superiority was on full show, and the aforementioned duo once again combined to come close in the 16th minute.
Fernandes’ deft lay-off from an incisive Marcus Rashford path was perfect for Martial. But the Frenchman’s powerfully hit shot was expertly kept out by the strong left palm of Johnstone.
West Brom finally found their feet, and came close to opening the scoring through Karlan Grant.
Set free by Matheus Pereira, the frontman hared down on goal before his low effort drifted narrowly wide aided by a slight deflection off a Man Utd defender.
Fernandes was quickly back into the action for Ole Gunnar’s Solskjaer side, carving open West Brom’s defence with a sublime through ball.
Juan Mata latched on to the delivery, but his delicate cut-back was cut out to leave Martial exasperated at the far post.
Kyle Bartley then put his head where it hurts by blocking a full power volley from Harry Maguire with his face.
The strike took the Baggies defender completely off of his feet, but crucially, the ball remained out of the net.
The centre-back then missed a decent opportunity to make his mark with his head at the other end, nodding a corner narrowly over the bar onto the roof of the net.
As half-time approached, Man Utd unceremoniously brought up the five-hour mark since they last scored a Preier League goal at Old Trafford.
Man Utd have now gone 5 hours, 13 minutes without scoring a Premier League goal at Old Trafford.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 21, 2020
The second half started with a bang when Bruno Fernandes felled Conor Gallagher to concede a penalty.
As with Aston Villa’s clash with Brighton earlier, the referee was advised to check the pitch-side monitor. After several looks, the decision was reversed in what appeared to be a harsh blow on the Baggies.
Nevertheless, Slaven Bilic’s side were now firmly in the contest, and forced David de Gea into a fine near-post save to deny Conor Townsend.
Within seconds, Man Utd broke up the pitch and were awarded a penalty when Juan Mata’s cross struck the arm of Darnell Furlong.
The responsibility fell to Fernandes, who saw his spot-kick saved, but Johnstone had left his line too early.
A re-take was awarded, with Fernandes this time dispatching the penalty to hand Man Utd a vital breakthrough.
◉ A West Brom penalty is overturned by VAR
◉ Man Utd are then awarded a penalty of their own
◉ Bruno Fernandes’ initial effort is saved but a re-take is awarded and Bruno Fernandes scores
Just another afternoon at Old Trafford. pic.twitter.com/1z02zOGz2D
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) November 21, 2020
West Brom’s spirits remained high, and within seconds of his introduction off the bench, Callum Robinson rattled the woodwork with a fierce dipping drive.
Chances continued to flow at both ends as the game became ever more frantic. Rashford and Maguire both went close to doubling the hosts’ lead.
Fernandes continued to pull the strings, and but for the wastefulness of the forwards around him, the three points could’ve been wrapped up sooner.
Nevertheless, West Brom’s attempts to secure a point ran out of steam as Man Utd ran out 1-0 winners at Old Trafford.