United hand point to West Brom

Edwin van der Sar spills easy catch to gift visitors equalising goal while Arsenal come from behind to beat Birmingham.

West Brom keeper Scott Carson celebrates a valuable point against Man Utd at Old Trafford [EPA]

Manchester United threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion for their fifth draw in eight English Premier League games this season.

United, who started with Wayne Rooney on the bench, move to 14 points, the same as Arsenal, who came from behind to beat Birmingham City 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Fulham’s unbeaten start ended with a 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, who also have 14 points.

There was late drama in two other games as Fabricio Coloccini scored in stoppage time to earn Newcastle United a 2-2 home draw with Wigan Athletic while Ivan Klasnic scored in injury time to give Bolton Wanderers a 2-1 win over Stoke City and was then sent off for two yellow cards.

Chelsea drew 0-0 at Aston Villa to go five clear at the top with 19 points.

Rooney played in England’s goalless draw with Montenegro on Tuesday and said after the West Brom match that he was fully fit, contrary to the claims of United manager Alex Ferguson.

Fit or not, his form has been way off that of a year ago and his last United goal in open play came back in March.

Tapped in

Ferguson looked to have got it right when Rooney’s replacement Javier Hernandez tapped in after goalkeeper Scott Carson dropped a Nani free kick in the fourth minute.

The Portugal winger got the second on the counter attack after a slip by Nicky Shorey left West Brom horribly exposed.

West Brom, who won at Arsenal last month, had barely threatened in the first period but with 10 minutes of the restart they were level.

Nemanja Vidic was inches away from making it 3-0 when he headed against a post but moments later it was 2-1 with a Patrice Evra own goal. Then Edwin van der Sar, faced with the simplest of catches, dropped the ball at the feet of Somen Tchoyi who gleefully equalised.

Rooney eventually joined the fray for the last 20 minutes, but played on the left wing and made little impact as West Brom ended the game looking the more dangerous side.

“It’s gone from a fantastic first-half performance to giving the game away really, it should have been for or five by halftime,” Ferguson told Sky Sports News.

“We’ve made some glorious chances and it’s frustrating we are not killing teams off. It’s not acceptable for the supporters or me.”

Of Van der Sar’s blunder, he said: “Inexplicable, it’s a mistake that Edwin probably would make the only time in his life, the last time he made a mistake like that was probably at Primary school.”

Arsenal had lost their last two league games and fell behind to a Nikola Zigic header.

They levelled with a Sami Nasri penalty and had the best of an undistinguished second half to take the points with Marouane Chamakh’s impressive run and shot.

The win was spoiled at the end with a straight red card for Jack Wilshire after a wild tackle that will have embarrassed Arsene Wenger, who used his programme notes for Saturday’s match to bemoan the decline in tackling standards.

“I think he mistimed the tackle because his first touch let him down and he isn’t complaining about it (the red card),” Wenger told Sky Sports News.

“There was no intention to harm the player. He’s not a dirty player and so with one tackle let’s not single him out.”

Spurs also trailed at Fulham after Diomansy Kamara marked his first start for a year with a goal after half an hour only for Roman Pavlyuchenko to level within a minute after a lovely chip by Rafael van der Vaart.

Tottenham won it with a crisp low shot by Tom Huddlestone, with Fulham furious it was allowed to stand after the referee ignored a linesman’s offside flag against William Gallas.

On Sunday Everton play Liverpool and Manchester City visit Blackpool.

Source: Reuters


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