Manchester United ended a miserable day for Manchester City with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford to go top of the table.
With City suffering a shock defeat away to Swansea, United knew that a win would take them top of the table and goals in either half from Wayne Rooney, the second a penalty, achieved that aim.
West Brom made a good start to the game with Keith Andrews’ twice going close with efforts, the second a thunderous drive from distances that saw the much improved David De Gea make a fine save.
That woke United up and in particular Ashley Young who had a shot saved by former United keeper Ben Foster before his clever cross caused havoc in the West Brom defence.
United were in the ascendancy and took the lead on 35 minutes when Rooney timed his run to perfect to tap home Javier Hernandez’s cross.
Just before half time Peter Odemwingie thought he has won a penalty after a clumsy tackle from Patrice Evra however his claims were waved away.
United’s response was again impressive as Hernandez hit the post, Rooney fired an effort straight at Foster and Welbeck, with the best chance of the three, put an effort wide when it looked easier to score.
West Brom were feeling the pressure, and it increased further on 66 minutes when Jonas Olsson was sent off for a second booking, Andrews’ moving to right back.
The Irish man has impressed since joining the Baggies however he struggled in the unfamailar defensive role and it was his tackle on 70 minutes which led to Rooney scoring his second from the spot.
That goal killed the game for United and with Wolves up next, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side could be four point ahead by next Sunday with Manchester City not scheduled to play again until the 21st March.
Speaking after the game, WBA manager was full of praise for his side saying “We made a good fist of the first half until Rooney’s goal,”
“We were working hard to contain United.
“I didn’t think we were attacking them well during that period. When we won the ball back, we tended to lose it quickly and too easily. But certainly we were making life difficult for United and keeping them at bay.
“But when Rooney scored that was always going to change the complexion of the game to some extent.
“The second half was going to be harder and then going down to ten men, and while being down to ten men having to change our back-four by putting a midfield player in at right-back, we ended up conceding the second goal.
“To be frank, after that it is just a question of making sure you don’t go away from here with a really heavy defeat, because at 2-0 with ten men, United, with the quality they have and their ability to keep the ball, it was always going to be an uphill task.
“I think I can commend the West Brom players for the effort they put in.