It was a hard watch, in truth, but Manchester United just about managed a first home Premier League win of the season. Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal of the game, a re-taken penalty, to see off relegation-threatened West Brom.

Bruno Fernandes provides goal again

It wasn’t a vintage Fernandes display. He scored at least. That’s often how it is with United’s Portuguese influencer. He did miss his first attempt at a penalty but Sam Johnstone was well off his line and the retake was converted well. His composure to score the second is impressive.

As at Everton, Fernandes’ work rate in midfield was outstanding too. He tracks back well – something which hasn’t always been the case – and is strong in the tackle. It’s a crucial help to the United defence and to Nemanja Matic.

Harry Maguire continues solid form

It was hardly a noticeably dominant display from United’s captain. It was the continuation of some decent form building from Maguire. He was good for England in the break, excellent in the win for United at Everton and then one of United’s better players against West Brom.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates with teammate Harry Maguire after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on November 21, 2020 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

He almost scored on two occasions, once being denied by a rattling head in the West Brom defence and then later by a good Sam Johnstone save. His influence in the opposition box has been better recently.

 

In defence, he’s been pretty impassable and clean in his efforts. It’s a real positive for United who were crying out for a solid defender in that backline. Maguire has been it for a couple weeks now. It has to continue.

David de Gea grounds himself

David de Gea was under enormous pressure at the end of last season. For many, Dean Henderson was the natural replacement and the changeover couldn’t happen sooner. Solskjaer stuck with De Gea and his show of faith has been repaid by a string of good performances.

He’s not been stunning in goal, but he’s done what he’s required to do. That was the same against West Brom, with two important saves. Nothing more is needed from United’s ‘keeper but at least De Gea is providing it now.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: David De Gea of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on November 21, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

It’s telling that there is no talk at all anymore about the challenge of Henderson towards De Gea. And that’s probably a positive for United.

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