Premier League 2011/2012: West Brom 1 – 2 Manchester United

Well, that was a difficult opening game. I admit, when I saw our first game was West Brom away, I figured it would be easy. I don’t know why; I know how hard Roy Hodgson has worked to change the team around from relegation candidates last year to finishing away from the relegation zone and barely losing a game. But, still, I was rather cocky and figured we’d walk it. I was very wrong.

To be fair to myself, we started the game brilliantly. We were all over West Brom and they couldn’t get the ball, couldn’t get their own game going and we were beating them nicely. We went ahead through Wayne Rooney 13 minutes in and it seemed a case of how many could we score. But we couldn’t get a second goal and West Brom got themselves back into the game and equalised soon after – although De Gea could and should have saved it. It was disappointing from De Gea – he’s got such potential! – and he knew how disappointing it was, but it takes time to find your feet so as long as his clangers don’t cost us games, we’ll be good.

The second half was more even than the first. West Brom were passing nicely and we were failing to get the ball moving, failing to find a decent final ball. Vidic and Ferdinand went off injured (surprisingly, our defensive crises only usually happen in the run-in) and Jones came on along with Evans and both did well. The good thing about Jones is he played for Blackburn last year so he knows the Premier League and should do well should he need to fill in for Vidic or Ferdinand in the coming games. The second half carried on and it seemed as the game would end 1-1 and incur major panic after just one game, but Ashley Young popped up, dodged a few players and shot in a tight angle and it was deflected into the net.

The winning goal was a relief. A major relief. I mean starting the season with a win is always great and it wouldn’t have been good at all to start the season with a 1-1 draw that saw De Gea mess up. As it is, we started with a win and we’ve got the ball rolling. It wasn’t a spectacular performance, although we looked good in the first half, but it’ll get us going. West Brom look decent. I thought they might end up in the relegation battle, but they seem decent. They pushed us today, played well, came back well, didn’t let us steam-roller them.

I can’t wait for the season to get going properly and to see how well we fare once we’re all back into the swing of the pace of the Premier League. Ashley Young hasn’t half settled in at United, you wouldn’t know we only just bought him a month or so ago. He looks destined to wear that shirt. Our defence did well – Jones looks the real deal, I hadn’t seen him until he signed for us, but he looks sturdy and ready to go. It’ll be interesting to see how West Brom do, they could easily have a top 10 finish if that performance is indicative of how their season will go, because despite losing they did really well. Not the best match ever, but it was enjoyable (and nervy).

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