West Brom took points off another one of the big teams after they beat 10-man Manchester United 1-0 at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
- West Brom 0 Manchester United 1
- Mata sent off early on
- Baggies on top in first half
- United better after break
- Rondon seals long-awaited win
Juan Mata’s first-half dismissal for two yellow cards hardly helped matters for the visitors, who held on until the 67th minute when Salomon Rondon scored what turned out to be the winning goal.
The Baggies – who beat Arsenal earlier this season and held Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester to draws – moved up to 11th place in the standings, a comfortable 15 points clear of the relegation zone.
As for the Red Devils, their Champions League hopes suffered a blow as they were overtaken in the table by West Ham and are three points adrift of the top-four in sixth spot.
United managed just one shot on target all evening, which came early on when Anthony Martial’s weak effort from outside the area was easily dealt with by home goalkeeper Ben Foster after just two minutes.
Tony Pulis’ side, meanwhile, were a constant threat and they went close to breaking the deadlock on nine minutes as Craig Dawson headed wide from Rondon’s clipped delivery.
Mata picked up his first caution on 23 minutes for encroaching on a free-kick and the playmaker received his marching orders three minutes later for a mis-timed challenge on former United team-mate Darren Fletcher.
The visitors held on for the remainder of the half, with a half-volley from Dawson that flashed wide of goal the closest Albion came to taking the lead.
Louis van Gaal’s team made a bright start to the second half and Martial set up Marcus Rashford following a dazzling run down the left flank, but the teenage striker’s shot was deflected wide.
Jesse Lingard went even closer with a curling effort from the edge of the area that just cleared the crossbar, while Ander Herrera drilled a free-kick into the wall from a dangerous position.
But United would eventually be undone on 66 minutes as Sebastien Pocognoli received the ball out on the left flank and he whipped a cross into the middle for Rondon to score his fourth goal in six league outings.
There was no way back for the Red Devils as they suffered a first league defeat at the Baggies’ ground since 1984.