By Chris Wright
Reigning champs Manchester United got their title defense off to a winning start with a 2-1 win over West Brom at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring, nutmegging a shot into the far corner in the 13th minute before Shane Long pulled one back for the Baggies on his debut – with a relatively tame shot trundling past David De Gea and nestling in the inside side netting.
United won it ten minutes from time with a little help from their wily old striker, with all-time record scorer O.G poking home from close range after getting a double ricochet on Ashley Young’s low cross.
Wayne Rooney attempts to squeeze between Youssouf Mulumbu and Jonas Olsson
Tom Cleverley and James Morrison tussle for possession
Shane Long runs down Rio Ferdinand
Tom Cleverley and Nani close down James Morrison
David De Gea looks on as Shane Long’s tame equaliser nestles inside the far post
Shane Long celebrates after getting the Baggies back on level terms
Nicky Shorey shields the ball from Chris Smalling
David De Gea struggles to deal with a high cross under heavy pressure from Jonas Olsson
Ashley Young checks up on Shane Long as the West Brom striker lies injured on the ground
Rio Ferdinand limps from the pitch after picking up a hamstring injury. United also lost Nemanja Vidic during the game (calf) with the two centre-backs set to miss six weeks and a fortnight respectively.
Ashley Young tears away from Chris Brunt…
…and sees his cross from the by-line take two deflections off Steven Reid and Gabriel Tamas before pinging past Ben Foster to win the game for United
A relieved David De Gea offers praise to the gods of the crossbar after having his blushes spared