Jesse Lingard lights up Old Trafford as Manchester United beat West Brom
Jesse Lingard gave the home support inside Old Trafford something to cheer as he helped Manchester United to a 2-0 victory over 10-man West Brom with his first goal for the club.
On Friday, five of United's most famous academy graduates enjoyed success by watching Salford beat Notts County in the FA Cup.
At Old Trafford on Saturday it was the turn of another United youth product to shine.
Lingard, who joined United when he was seven, rounded off a perfect week by planting the ball into the far corner of Boaz Myhill's goal from the edge of the box to open the scoring.
Earlier this week he supplied a deft assist for Wayne Rooney on his first Champions League start at Old Trafford.
And on Saturday, the Warrington winger was the best player on the park, testing West Brom's defence before finally ending their stubborn resistance in the 52nd minute.
When Gareth McAuley hauled down Anthony Martial in the box late on, Mike Dean had no option but to send the defender off and Juan Mata converted the penalty to seal the win.
On the whole, United only offered glimpses of champagne football, but unlike of Tuesday night, there were few dissenting voices in the crowd as Louis van Gaal's side recorded the win that kept them in fourth.
It was a familiar story for the hosts in the first half. Plenty of passing and possession but no end product against an opponent who parked the bus.
Mata curled a shot inches wide, but otherwise United could not fathom a decent chance. Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger shot woefully wide.
On the rare occasion United prised open West Brom's back four, McAuley and Jonny Evans were there to deny Rooney and Lingard.
There was a brief moment of panic when David de Gea spilled Evans' header from a corner at the other end, but Marcos Rojo came to the rescue.
The first chants of "attack, attack, attack" from the frustrated home support came from the Stretford End in the 39th minute and not until five minutes later did United to register a shot on target. Unfortunately for the home fans, Myhill easily saved Martial's effort.
United enjoyed 76 per cent of possession in the first half, but they desperately needed a goal.
Thankfully for them it came seven minutes after the restart. Chris Brunt's headed clearance landed at Lingard's feet. He took one touch before curling a perfectly-placed shot into the far corner.
United started to play with more freedom. Lingard continued to run at the Albion defence while Rooney attempted to thread Martial in behind.
Tony Pulis finally abandoned his defensive tactics and brought on Saido Berahino and Rickie Lambert.
The move almost paid off when Craig Dawson found Berahino unmarked in the box, but he headed over. His manager was furious.
Van Gaal, meanwhile, brought on 18-year-old Cameron Borthwick-Jackson on for his debut.
Lingard was still very much the star of the show, however. The winger tricked his way past two defenders inside the Baggies box but could not make it past a third.
Mata then sealed the win in injury time when Martial won a penalty after being brought down by McAuley. Dean sent the defender off and Mata beat the Baggies goalkeeper.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
You little Jesse! Things are livening up as Lingard puts Manchester United ahead with a delightful goal. - Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) acknowledges the class of Manchester United youngster Jesse Lingard.
DAVID DE GEA: 6
ASHLEY YOUNG: 6
CHRIS SMALLING: 7
DALEY BLIND: 6
MARCOS ROJO: 7
MICHAEL CARRICK: 7
BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER: 6
JUAN MATA: 7
WAYNE ROONEY: 6
JESSE LINGARD: 8
ANTHONY MARTIAL: 8
PHIL JONES (on for Young, 62mins): 6
CAMERON BORTHWICK-JACKSON (on for Rojo, 76mins): 6
ANDER HERRERA (on for Rooney, 82mins): 7
BOAZ MYHILL: 6
CRAIG DAWSON: 6
GARETH MCAULEY: 5
JONNY EVANS: 6
CHRIS BRUNT: 5
CLAUDIO YACOB: 6
DARREN FLETCHER: 6
JAMES MORRISON: 6
STEPHANE SESSEGNON: 5
JAMES MCCLEAN: 5
SALOMON RONDON: 6
RICKIE LAMBERT (on for Rondon, 72mins): 6
SAIDO BERAHINO (on for Morrison, 72mins): 4
CALLUM MCMANAMAN (on for Brunt, 85mins): 5
Jesse Lingard: The man on the pitch who was more willing to take risks than the rest. The Warrington winger tried to take on his man at every opportunity and the Baggies often had to double on him to stop him. He deserved his goal, which he converted well, calmly steadying himself before whipping the ball into the far corner.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Saido Berahino's miss: Lingard's finish was something of beauty, but this was the key moment in the match. Soon after Lingard had broken the deadlock, Berahino found himself free in the box. Craig Dawson found him with a perfect cross, but the Burundi-born frontman headed over.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
One of the biggest challenges Louis van Gaal has struggled with since he took over is beating teams who park the bus at Old Trafford. Tony Pulis came looking for a draw and he got his tactics perfect. Just like last season, West Brom set up defensively in a 4-5-1 formation and they frustrated the hosts for large parts. It was only Chris Brunt's poor clearance that allowed United to break the deadlock.
MOAN OF THE MATCH:
Van Gaal's tactics. Van Gaal persists with his 4-2-3-1 formation regardless of the opponent. While continuity is important, is there really any merit in playing two holding midfielders against a one-man attack. There were times when West Brom outnumbered nine to four at the back because of Van Gaal's tactics.
WHO'S UP NEXT
Watford v Manchester United, November 21 (Premier League)
West Brom v Arsenal, November 21 (Premier League)