Manchester United players
Wikimedia commons/Ardfern

United edge past Palace

Manchester United demonstrated their improved defensive resilience as their 10 men held on for three points against Crystal Palace to move into third place.

The afternoon looked set to be a comfortable affair when Rashford doubled United’s advantage, following an early penalty converted by Bruno Fernandes. However, a Casemiro red card and a goal for Schlupp led to a tense final 20 minutes at Old Trafford.

The afternoon started with Fernandes scoring from the spot and a dominant United controlled the first half an hour, albeit without creating clear-cut chances, a sign of what life may look like without Eriksen. Fred was efficient in winning turnovers for United but he lacks the ability to keep the game ticking over in the way his Danish teammate does.

Crystal Palace improved after the opening half an hour but rarely troubled De Gea, before a well-worked team goal doubled United’s advantage. Rashford scoring for United is becoming a standard point when watching the Red Devils.

With the game cruising towards a United victory, there was a flare point which sparked a mass brawl. After a lengthy VAR check, Casemiro was sent off for grabbing the throat of Will Hughes. The murmurs around the ground were of how this would impact United in their next three games, but Palace had other ideas.

If Lisandro Martinez does not end his United career with a cult status established, I would be astonished.

From one corner, De Gea made an excellent to save a free header from Guehi. From the following corner, Schlupp scored to give Palace a lifeline. Without Casemiro, United appeared to have lost control of the game and Palace continued to probe.

Ten Hag responded by moving to a back five and bringing Sabitzer on for his debut to partner Fred. The midfield duo to provide the energy in closing down the spaces an extra man was giving Palace, whilst the back five would help in dealing with crosses from Palace.

Palace did create some good chances but United did what they failed to do at Selhurst Park and held on for the three points to the delight of a vibrant Old Trafford.

If Lisandro Martinez does not end his United career with a cult status established, I would be astonished. For a man whom many doubted could play in the Premier League due to his height, he has been exceptional all season and was the man of the match yet again at Old Trafford.

In all aspects of the game, he excels. He rarely loses aerial duels, his progressive passing is consistently of high quality and when he finds himself going to ground, he rarely loses out. He has already developed a special relationship with the United fanbase, with regular renditions of “Argentina, Argentina, Argentina” resonating around Old Trafford.

Martinez, Varane and Casemiro have formed a core to this United side which simply was not there when Maguire, Lindelof and Pogba took those positions. The quality of the former is undisputed, but it is their work rate and passion in which they excel.

For Crystal Palace, they look to be missing Wilfried Zaha. Until the Casemiro sending off, they offered minimal attacking threat. Olise, who grabbed the equaliser at Selhurst Park failed to influence the game from a central position.

Despite having 20 minutes against a 10-man United, they struggled to test United and allowed themselves to be drawn into United’s time-wasting. Viera will be disappointed as to how Rashford found himself in so much space for United’s second goal.

For a game which after five minutes had the potential to become an uneventful encounter, it was far from that. United win another home game, and Palace fall just short yet again.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.