A late Robin Van Persie goal sealed a 2-0 victory for Manchester United over West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford today, after a Gareth McAuley own goal had given United a first-half lead.

Van Persie started the game on the bench, one yellow card away from incurring a automatic one-game suspension, as Sir Alex Ferguson opted to pair Danny Welbeck with Shinji Kagawa.

The Japan international has recently recovered from injury, and the game was his first start since September, but the former-Borussia Dortmund player acquitted himself well in a familiar role behind the striker.

Manchester United did much of the early running, and were rewarded on 9 minutes when McAuley diverted an Ashley Young cross into his own net.

Ferguson’s side pushed for a second – Young hit the post – but West Brom had chances of their own - Gabriel Tamas wasted the best of the bunch. And it wasn’t until the 90 minute when Van Persie – on as a second-half substitute – wrapped up all three points for United.

The Premier League pace-setters sit seven points clear of rivals Manchester City heading into the New Year – well placed in their bid to reclaim the Premier League title.

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