Manchester United continued their resurgent form this season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over in-form West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns in what was at times a feisty affair.
Players were sent-off in both matches between these two sides last season as Gareth McAuley and Juan Mata saw red, but while there were not any dismissals this time around, there were plenty of tussles and off-the-ball incidents to keep an eye on.
One of them involved United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but not before he had put United ahead with a clinical header that came from a lovely cross from the recalled Jesse Lingard.
Ibrahimovic’s next act was to charge recklessly into West Brom defender Craig Dawson and send the right-back crashing to the turf. The Swede picked up a yellow card for his efforts, and while it was probably the right sanction, it was still a stupid and needless decision.
Yet Ibrahimovic would get back to what he does best after the break as he scored United’s second to kill of the game, via a deflection from Dawson, and the win moves United level on points with fifth-placed Tottenham, who do not play until Sunday.
David De Gea – 6 out of 10
Had very little do throughout – remained untested.
Antonio Valencia – 6 out of 10
Held his position well at the back and it was all around disciplined performance.
Phil Jones – 6 out of 10
He made his presence known throughout and he made a number of crucial tackles/interceptions.
Marcos Rojo – 7 out of 10
His movement off the ball created width and influenced how the whole game was played.
Matteo Darmian – 5 out of 10
It was a mediocre performance from him today. He did his job, but looked lost at times.
Michael Carrick – 6 out of 10
He created a number of chances going forward, but defensively he was caught out on the occasion.
Ander Herrera – 6 out of 10
He lost possession on a number of occasions, but aside from that his work rate was faultless
Jesse Lingard – 7 out of 10
His assist for the first goal was exceptional and his movement off the ball throughout was faultless.
Paul Pogba – 6 out of 10
Made a nuisance of himself throughout. Was tackling, running and attacking well.
Wayne Rooney – 6 out of 10
It was a steady display from him today, with one glimpse of brilliance when he struck the crossbar.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 9 out of 10
He stole the show today. With two goals, his confidence reflected throughout and he was a joy to watch.
(© Independent News Service)
Chelsea turn it up to 11, in results, if not quite performance. Without being brilliant against Crystal Palace, Antonio Conte's side kept this sensational winning streak going. Their 1-0 win ensured it was 11 in a row, a club record and the joint second highest - along with five other sides - in a single English season since 1945. They are now two off Arsenal's run of 13 from 2001-'02, and next up? Bournemouth and Stoke City at home over Christmas.