Date:Monday March 20 2006
WEST BROM: Kuszczak, Albrechtsen, Watson, Curtis Davies,Robinson, Greening, Kozak (Carter 69), Inamoto,Kamara (Ellington 59), Wallwork, Campbell (Kanu 45).
Subs Not Used: Kirkland, Clement.
MAN UTD: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Silvestre,Ronaldo, O'Shea, Richardson (Fletcher 89), Giggs, Rooney, Saha.
Subs Not Used: Howard, Evra, van Nistelrooy, Rossi.
Louis Saha is certainly providing the evidence to push our strong words down our throat as he continues his battle to keep Ruud van Nistelrooy sitting on the bench.
Personally I thought Ruud was the man to tear the heart out of the Barcodes last week, as Fergie sat and watched Saha miss chance after chance. But ... who am I to doubt the great man? Saha took his tally for the campaign to 13 with two goals that took the points at the Hawthorns and piles the pressure on ex-United skipper Bryan Robson.
As you would expect from a Robson side, West Brom were spirited at the very least, and forced their way back into the game through Nathan Ellington late on. And Sir Alex Ferguson again decide to keep Van Nistelrooy shivering on the bench.
Van Nistelrooy made the trip home to attend the funeral of his wife's grandfather this week, so perhaps we are reading too much into the situation. But it has been a strange week, Park Ji-sung headed back to Korea following a family bereavement - and Sir Alex went to Jimmy Johnstone's funeral.
Fergie insists Saha adds extra pace and strength that the Dutchman lacks, but does Ruud lack anything? The man would get into any side in the country ... if not the world.
Saha scored with a 16th-minute header as West Brom's defence was at full stretch almost constantly.
Robson's chances of finding an equaliser after the interval were hindered by the reshuffles caused by the departures of Kevin Campbell and Diomansy Kamara, and as West Brom searched for some fluidity, Saha appeared to knock the stuffing out of them.
There was still plenty of work for Saha to do when Ronaldo flicked a pass into the area, but the Frenchman took the ball down with one brilliant first-touch before steering it into the bottom corner with an equally effective second.
However, substitute Ellington gave the home fans fresh hope 12 minutes from time when he rose to nod home Jonathan Greening's corner in the same clinical manner Saha had done earlier.
West Brom threw everything forward looking for a priceless equaliser but in the end it was United who came closest to scoring again as Ronnie Wallwork denied Saha a hat-trick with a fine close-range block.
Date:Monday March 20 2006
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|Man Utd||1||-||0||Crystal Palace|
|Man City||1||-||0||Man Utd|
|3. Man City||12||7||3||2||11||24|
|4. Man Utd||12||5||4||3||4||19|
|6. West Ham||12||5||3||4||4||18|
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