Buoyant Baggies deserved OT win

Tuesday 1st October 2013 18:37

Saido Berahino: Hit the winner for Albion

Saido Berahino: Hit the winner for Albion

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West Brom FanZoner Joe Chapman celebrates Saturday's win at Old Trafford, hailing the victory as no major surprise for the buoyant Baggies.

Travelling fans, upon arriving at Old Trafford, must normally prepare themselves for the worst. The stadium is something of a fortress for its occupants Manchester United, and has been for many a year. The great Sir Alex Ferguson himself only lost 114 Premier League games in charge of the Red Devils over a 21-year period, and the majority of those losses didn't even occur at the Theatre of Dreams.

Added to the fact that West Brom previously held an abysmal record at Old Trafford, there wasn't much to get too excited about in the build up to the game. We'd taken only two points from the current champions in our last seven visits prior to the fixture on Saturday, not winning there since the famous 5-3 victory in '78. Goals by Robert Earnshaw and Somen Tchoyi have been treated as winners rather than equalisers in recent years, such is the dominance of United over the Baggies.

But Fergie's gone; not before a 10-goal send-off between the two clubs on the final day of last season, of course. Handpicked David Moyes has had a shaky start, although trips to Liverpool and Manchester City would be a challenge for any team. Little old Albion, on the other hand, well they should roll over and concede defeat.

Thankfully for Baggies fans, that thesis isn't in Steve Clarke's makeup whatsoever. The injury list meant the Scot's line-up was almost automatic, with the bench making up the rest of a depleted squad. David Moyes' selections were more questionable, however.

With Danny Welbeck, Robin Van Persie and Antonio Valencia sitting on the bench, and Nemanja Vidic not in the squad, the former Everton boss gave rare starts to Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez, as well as Anderson. Clearly thinking of the daunting trip to Ukraine on Wednesday.

While the reliable pair of Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson, shielded by Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob (who looked back to his best) held firm, Stephane Sessegnon, Morgan Amalfitano and Saido Berahino, who early on had replaced an injured Scott Sinclair, were able to cause havoc.

Every single player enjoyed a good game, something that is rare, but simultaneously a feat that must be produced if you are to achieve a result at United. After a solid first half, it was a relief our efforts were rewarded with a classy goal from Amalfitano, who left Rio Ferdinand in his wake.

It only took a couple of minutes for United to draw level, a fantastic free kick from Wayne Rooney that had Boaz Myhill troubled. What now? A point for the opposing team at Old Trafford at any time is a good one, especially when you consider our aforementioned injuries and the gruelling two hours endured by the likes of Sessegnon and Mulumbu midweek. The Beninese international didn't show it, as he provided a man of the match performance that Ferdinand is still having nightmares about.

But Clarke was bold, and for that he must be praised. His players seized the initiative once again, quietening the crowd in the process. The winning goal was beauty, Sessegnon's delicate chip in towards Amalfitano, the Frenchman flicking it on to youngster Berahino who struck it perfectly into De Gea's far corner. It's the Burundi-born forward's seventh goal for club and country this season, and is now the subject of a contract renewal.

Despite a scare when Marouane Fellaini bundled in an offside goal late on, Albion held on. Most of our fans certainly won't agree with me when I say this, but I was glad to see Villa beat the other half of Manchester to set up a Midlands double. Our region can be overlooked by the nation at times, so it was a great battle to be victorious in.

Two wins on the bounce, with rampant Arsenal next on the agenda: should be a cracker!

Come on you Baggies!

You can follow Joe on Twitter at @jcwba16 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.



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