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Man United gift City Premier League title with shock defeat vs. West Brom

MANCHESTER, England -- Three points on West Brom's 1-0 win vs. Manchester United in the Premier League, a result that confirms Manchester City as champions.

1. United gift City the title

In the end, Manchester United did hand the Premier League to Manchester City; it just happened eight days later than everybody expected. Having worked so hard to deny Pep Guardiola's side the trophy at the Etihad Stadium last Saturday, United inexplicably lost to bottom-of-the-table West Brom to crown their cross-city rivals as champions.

Pep Guardiola insisted after City's 3-1 win over Tottenham that he would not watch Sunday's game, choosing instead to play golf with his son. He will have enjoyed the 19th hole.

West Brom became the first team to win a game at Old Trafford, having started the day bottom of the league, since Blackburn in 2011. Jay Rodriguez's goal after 72 minutes was enough to give the travelling supporters something to shout about after a dire campaign.

By the end they were singing: "Manchester City, we won you the league" and they join City as the only Premier League teams to win at Old Trafford since Jose Mourinho took over as manager in 2016.

It might have been different had Ben Foster not made fine saves from Romelu Lukaku either side of half-time; a diving stop to deny the Belgian striker's header from a Nemanja Matic cross was particularly impressive.

West Brom have become something of a bogey side for United, who have not done the league double over them since 2011-12 and the Old Trafford club will perhaps be happy to see them relegated to the Championship, should the seemingly inevitable be confirmed in the coming weeks.

2. Rashford, Martial make their cases to start

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial began the game on the bench, but the players picked ahead of them only made a case for why the pair should start more often.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Martial has become frustrated at a lack of opportunities and will consider his options at the end of the season, amid firm interest from Juventus and Atletico Madrid. Rashford, meanwhile, has found himself left out more often than not since Alexis Sanchez's arrival from Arsenal in January.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba on his knees against West Brom
Paul Pogba and Manchester United lost to bottom-feeders West Brom, gifting the Premier League title to rivals City.

Speaking at his news conference on Friday, Mourinho offered Martial and Rashford no guarantees about more regular first-team football and, as if to prove the point, they had to watch Sanchez and Juan Mata start either side of Lukaku.

Both are fine players but both want to drift inside, leaving United congested whenever they go forward. It was only when Martial and Rashford came on in the second half that there was any pace and urgency but, by then, it was too late.

Mourinho's team have a league game at Bournemouth on Wednesday before their FA Cup semifinal with Tottenham at Wembley next Saturday. With a trophy on the line, it is the biggest game of United's run-in; there is an argument that Rashford and Martial should both start.

3. Moore deserves a chance in the Championship

West Brom have not been relegated but they surely will be soon, even after this result. The fans who travelled up the M6 spent the first-half singing "We're going to Shrewsbury," a nod to the places they could be visiting next season. A first campaign in the Championship since 2009-10 awaits.

Mourinho suggested before the game he was "surprised" West Brom are bottom of the Premier League, but the time for the "too good to go down" debate has been and gone. The table does not lie and West Brom have only won four of their 34 games so far this season. There's relegation form and then there's outright footballing disaster.

The issue now is how they bounce back. The last time they were relegated in 2009, they finished second in the Championship the following season to come straight back up. That will be the test, but it is easier said than done.

Sunderland, who finished bottom of the Premier League last season, are now bottom of the Championship and staring at a future in League One alongside the likes of Fleetwood and Gillingham. Parachute payments do not guarantee anything.

There was enough in Sunday's performance to suggest caretaker manager Darren Moore should stay in charge. His team were well organised without the ball, ambitious in possession and fully deserved to win, even if they needed Foster to be at his best.

The Championship -- hectic and relentless -- has seen off more experienced managers but Moore deserves the opportunity, especially after masterminding an unlikely victory at Old Trafford.

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.


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