Albion are up to fourth in the Premier League table after another statement victory, this time at Old Trafford.
Goals from Danny Welbeck, Pascal Gross – remarkably his seventh against the Red Devils – and substitute Joao Pedro earned Albion a fully merited fourth successive Premier League win against United.
All this with a team containing six changes to the side which beat Newcastle last time out. It could have been more with Ansu Fati and Kaoru Mitoma brilliantly denied by Andre Onana in the closing stages as our squad depth was amply demonstrated.
There was so much to admire in Albion’s performance, not least at the back where Jan Paul van Hecke and Joel Veltman dealt superbly with the threat of Marcus Rashford.
United had started strongly and Jason Steele showed good reflexes to block Rashford’s angled effort, but Albion began to settle, and Tariq Lamptey dragged a shot well wide the deadlock was broken in the 20th minute with a well-worked goal.
Welbeck, with his back to goal, found Simon Adingra. He broke down the right, Lallana dummied his cross and Welbeck steered a low left-footed shot past Onana from six yards. Welbeck had another sight of goal 12 minutes later when Mo Dahoud’s simple pass found him 25 yards out but his effort curled over.
Joel Veltman produced a superb block to deflect Rashford’s shot onto the corner of post and bar and Rasmus Hojlund had a goal disallowed after Rashford pulled a cross back from behind the line, but Albion had defended diligently in the first half.
Eight minutes into the second half Gross made it 2-0. Mitoma found Lamptey on the left and when United failed to cut out his short pass the German sidestepped Lisandro Martinez with nonchalant ease and arrowed a right-foot shot from 12 yards flew into the bottom corner.
Steele got right behind Bruno Fernandes’ 25-yarder but United seemed to be running out of ideas and Albion carved them open again to make it 3-0 after 71 minutes. Lamptey did superbly down the left and Joao Pedro held his run and when the ball was played into him on the edge of the box he side-footed it precisely past Onana.
United hit back two minutes later when substitute Hannibal beat Steele with a powerful strike from distance into the bottom right-hand corner. It brought the home crowd to life and Victor Lindelof headed Fernandes’ cross over. Albion were still a threat though and Mitoma burst into the box but Onana blocked his shot.
Onana saved superbly from Ferguson and Fati in the closing stages and more than 3000 Albion fans lapped up the celebrations at the final whistle. This was some start to a standout week for the club which continues with a Europa League debut on Thursday.
Albion: Steele, Veltman, van Hecke, Dunk, Lamptey (Milner 77), Dahoud (Gilmour 77), Adingra (Ferguson 80), Mitoma, Gross, Lallana (Fati 64), Welbeck (Joao Pedro 64).
Unused subs: Verbruggen, Webster, Julio, Baleba.