Manchester United know they need a win against struggling Crystal Palace to stay alive in the Premier League top-4 race. The first-half was an extremely scrappy one for the Red Devils but they improved towards the end and got their lead minutes before the half-time break, when Marcus Rashford linked up well with Bruno Fernandes before putting the ball inside the net through a sea of bodies.
The Red Devils were saved by VAR when Jordan Ayew seemingly equalized in the 56th-minute, only for it to be ruled out due to offside. United then kept going for that killing strike and Anthony Martial doubled the lead in the 78th minute with an emphatic strike, capping off a beautiful move. United could’ve scored a few more had they been more clinical towards the end, but this win is enough for them to move equal in points with 4th place Leicester and one point behind 3rd place Chelsea again.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.0) –
Solskjaer was forced to make changes to his team due to injuries & fatigue and he was bold doing so, giving an opportunity to Fosu-Mensah who hadn’t made a start for United in 3 years! But it eventually worked out well, with United seeing out a clean sheet and battling through a storm. Ole did well to reignite his players’ fire whenever they showed signs of sloppiness, inspiring them to be more clinical going forward and getting the job done in the end.
David de Gea (8.0) –
Forced into work early on, saving a menacing shot from Zaha’s shot in the 2nd minute. Punches out another strong effort in the 40th. Pulls off another stunning save off a swerving free-kick before the break. Showed great reflexes again for a great stop of Zaha’s stinging attempt in the 89th minute. Superman Dave was back at it today and deserved his clean-sheet after a superb performance to save United’s blushes.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.0)-
Wan-Bissaka’s back to his old hunting ground today. Struggling to keep Zaha quiet up until the first-half. Was bailed out by VAR in the 55th minute when Zaha’s cross went through him allowing Ayew to equalize, only for it to be ruled out. Much better moving forward as a willing attacking figure, but he needs to work on regaining his defensive fortitude now.
Harry Maguire (7.0) –
Got a few prominent chances to score early on, but only one of that went blazing above the target. Flicked another crunching header agonizingly wide in the 39th. But on the other side of the pitch, Maguire led by example. Won 9 aerial duels, made 2 interceptions and some crucial clearances to frustrate Palace. Kept a very close check on Ayew, making it difficult for him to operate freely.
Victor Lindelof (6.5) –
Looked a bit shaky on occasions in the first-half, almost conceding a penalty with a dodgy challenge on Zaha before United’s opener. But he was rock-solid apart from that, covering a lot of ground to tighten up his defence and close down space for Palace to penetrate through. Covered for the overlapping Wan-Bissaka really well and put in a few great challenges in another composed performance.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (7.0)–
A surprising start for the Dutch defender, making his first league appearance for United since 2017! He put in a pretty solid shift at the back, keeping a close check on the dangerous Townsend and not allowing him to cut into the box. Made a few clever tackles and kept his side of the field pretty clean. Must’ve impressed Ole with a tenacious defensive performance.
Scott McTominay (6.0) –
McTominay’s playing the Matic role today as the deepest lying midfielder. Highly proactive as usual, demanding the ball and trying to get things started. Worked hard to win defensive duels, but not as commanding as Matic in controlling the midfield. Subbed after the hour-mark for the Serbian.
Paul Pogba (6.5) –
Pogba isn’t finding it easy without Matic doing his defensive duties, not working hard enough to recover the ball for United. He grew more influential as the game progressed, demanding the ball more often to get things created from deep. Linked up well with his fellow midfielders and worked hard to help United dominate the game.
Bruno Fernandes (7.0) –
Fernandes’ set-piece delivery has been spot on in the initial stages. Forced himself into the game as it went on and found Rashford cleverly to assist his opener. Had a big chance to score in the 74th, but his shot unluckily struck the post. But made up with a great pass to Rashford leading up to Martial’s strike.
Despite a few errors with his passes, Bruno still showed a lot of hunger to score or create something special throughout, despite looking a bit tired.
Mason Greenwood (5.0) –
Passes a late fitness test to start his 5th consecutive league game. Scuffed an ideal scoring opportunity wide around the half-hour mark – one he should’ve scored! Couldn’t get a proper shot in goal today either, showcasing a very damp end product with his passes as well. Subbed after the hour-mark.
Anthony Martial (8.0) –
The Frenchman is oozing with confidence, showcasing great movement. Picked out a great ball for Greenwood’s chance around the half-hour mark. His intelligent movement inside the box allowed Rashford to score his cheeky goal. He continues the friendly competitiveness of ‘you can score one, I’ll get one too’ with Rashford in the second-half, linking up well with the Englishman before scoring brilliantly from close range.
He was unplayable towards the end with his venomous dribbling and toyed with the defenders as he liked. Another prolific performance from the Frenchman.
Marcus Rashford (8.5) –
Rashford didn’t have his partner-in-crime Luke Shaw with him today, but use that to his advantage, moving all around the frontline to cause trouble. Had to wait for his chance, but beautifully put it away at the end of the first-half by fooling multiple defenders before tapping it into the net. Linked well with Martial to strike another shot after the hour-mark, but saw it saved easily.
The Englishman also cleverly found space on the left in 74th before sending a perfect pass to Bruno, only to see him hit the bar. Found his assist by spotting Martial superbly for his strike. Could’ve gotten his second in added time, but his swerving shot was saved well. He tormented Palace’s defenders with his pace and penetrativeness, opening them up at will.
Nemanja Matic (6.0) –
Added an extra layer of protection with his experience and helped United dominate the latter parts of the game with his bullish presence.
Jesse Lingard (5.5) –
Showed little motivation to create something special, but still worked hard to help United romp forward towards the end.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rashford & Martial were on song once again, but Rashy was on fire with his movement, creativity and overall finishing product. His goal+assist guaranteed the win and he gets my MOTM for today.