Manchester City clinch title after West Brom shock United
Premier League, Old Trafford – Manchester United 0 West Bromwich Albion 1 (Rodriguez, 73)
Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions after West Brom beat Jose Mourinho’s United 1-0 at Old Trafford, courtesy of a Jay Rodriguez header.
Having denied City a title party at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, United needed to avoid defeat against the bottom club to keep the title race alive – at least mathematically – but were ponderous in their approach to the game.
And the Baggies nearly punished United's malaise early on, with Jake Livermore forcing an excellent save from David de Gea; though Ander Herrera should have had a penalty when Craig Dawson felled him.
The second half settled into a similar pattern and Mourinho introduced Anthony Martial for Paul Pogba with a little over half an hour remaining, as the Red Devils sought a winner. However, it was West Brom who found a way through, with Rodriguez heading past a helpless De Gea following a corner.
That concession should have jolted United into action but they were unable to rouse the required response, handing City a third title in seven years. The result leaves United 16 points adrift of their neighbours with just five games remaining; while West Brom, who last won in early January, are nine points from safety with four games to play.
Paul Pogba of Manchester United looks dejected during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on April 15, 2018 in Manchester, England.Getty Images
Will Manchester United keep faith with Jose Mourinho? The question might seem an overreaction, but Mourinho had asked his players not to be the clowns against Manchester City, yet it seems as if he can't keep them out of the circus for long. He will almost certainly be there at the start of next season, but unless something seriously changes then patience will wear out quickly. The ice isn't thin, but it's definitely thawing.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion): Foster was WBA's best performer, pulling off a few impressive saves in an environment he said he couldn't cope with during his time with the home side. Those nerves had gone in this match, as he was unflappable against a series of threatening headers. It may be a performance that sparks his current side into a bid for survival.
Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) has this shot saved by West Bromwich Albion's English goalkeeper Ben Foster (L) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and West Bomwich Albion at Old Trafford in ManGetty Images
12' - DE GEA SAVE - Rodriguez finds Rondon on the edge of the box after a poor bit of work from United in midfield. He shifts the ball right for Livermore, who aims a low shot to the corner before De Gea leaps to his left to push it away.
18' - PENALTY APPEAL - Lukaku brings down a high ball into the box, he turns and plays it into the path of Herrera in the box, and there's a yelp for a penalty when Dawson challenges him - it's an obvious trip. The ball is worked a moment later to Lukaku, and he fires a left-foot volley straight at Foster from point-blank range.
25' - RONDON HEADER - McClean curls in another deep cross to the back post, Rondon nods down, and De Gea smartly dives to his right to save.
66' - FOSTER SAVE - Matic digs a cross out to Lukaku, who thunders a header across goal, and Foster dives back from where he came to slap away with his fingers.
69' - LINGARD SHOT - Lingard sends a shot flying from the edge of the box. It's deflected just wide off Brunt
73' - GOAL! Manchester United 0-1 West Brom. Rodriguez scores - Brunt curls in a cross, it's headed across the back post by Matic, and Rodriguez finishes at close range.
- West Bromwich Albion 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.
- Rodriguez’s seven goals have won WBA six points this season in the Premier League and have been worth more to his side than goals from Gabriel Jesus (10 goals – 2 points), Roberto Firmino (15 goals – 4 points), Alexandre Lacazette (11 goals – 4 points), Alvaro Morata (11 goals, 4 points) and Jamie Vardy (17 goals – 5 points) to name but a few.