United give Moyes cheer with West Brom stroll
Goals from Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck eased the pressure on manager David Moyes as Manchester United won 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
In what was United's first game since their 2-0 defeat by Olympiakos in the Champions League, Moyes saw headers in each half from Jones and Rooney put the visitors in control before substitute Welbeck added gloss with a clinical late strike.
United striker Robin van Persie was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card after a reckless challenge in the second half, but overall it was a rare satisfying afternoon for Moyes, whose side climbed to sixth place in the Premier League table.
Pepe Mel's West Brom, meanwhile, remain perilously placed above the bottom three, and with just one win in their last 18 matches, look increasingly in grave danger.
Moyes made five changes to the side beaten by Olympiakos 11 days previously, with Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj among the players recalled at The Hawthorns.
West Brom were indebted to goalkeeper Ben Foster in the 29th minute when he reacted superbly to tip Rafael da Silva's header against the crossbar after the right-back met Januzaj's cross at the back post.
By the 34th minute United were ahead, though, as a Van Persie free-kick was headed home emphatically by Jones after a Chris Brunt foul on Rafael on the right-hand edge of the area.
But United's defensive frailties were apparent again seven minutes before the interval when Claudio Yacob headed Jonas Olsson's flick-on inches over the United crossbar.
Yacob was forced off three minutes later after a Fellaini challenge left him with a nasty gash on his thigh, with James Morrison introduced in his place.
The Scotland international almost made an immediate impact when he found Anichebe, who spun sharply, only to drill his low shot inches past the post.
There was still time for a moment of controversy before the half-time whistle.
Mata's probing long ball prompted Foster to dart to the edge of the area as Van Persie closed in, but the goalkeeper swung and missed with his attempted clearance and the ball struck him on the arm.
United vehemently protested for Foster to be penalised, but referee Jonathan Moss elected to wave play on in what appeared a lucky escape for the England international.
Van Persie was cautioned five minutes after the restart for an ugly tackle from behind on Morgan Amalfitano that left the Frenchman in a heap.
The Baggies always looked capable of a goal and they threatened two minutes later when a neat one-two between Zoltan Gera and Anichebe sent the former Fulham player through, but with the angle tight, his effort was comfortably saved by David de Gea.
Van Persie's let-off arrived moments later, when what appeared a bookable offence -- a late lunge on Steven Reid that sent the right-back tumbling -- went unpunished by Moss.
The Dutchman was replaced soon after and cut a disconsolate figure as he trudged off, reacting to a pat on the back from Moyes with a rueful shake of his head.
The hosts were forced into another change when Brunt had to go off, but the Baggies' delay in getting Saido Berahino on the field was punished in the 65th minute when a pinpoint Rafael delivery was headed home by the unmarked Rooney at the back post.
Rooney turned provider with eight minutes left when he threaded a pass through to Welbeck, who coolly dispatched a shot beyond the advancing Foster.