Palace 1 – United 2. Before the game my question was, which Crystal Palace side would turn up today? More to the point, which Alan Pardew side would turn up? In his recent Newcastle United management days his teams could go on regular small winning runs of three, maybe four games. Then not win or even pick up a point for a few games, it’s the same with Palace now. Then I had to wonder about United and the possibility of four straight defeats.
Turns out both teams turned up and gave it a go but it was very cagey for most of the first half. In United’s last three game they’ve dominated all the possession but have been unable to score. Strange then that it was quite even in this game but yet we did finally manage to score. New penalty taker Juan Mata from spot. Our first goal since Chris Smalling’s header in the Derby on April 12th.
The second half started with Palace well on top, Pardew made a tactical change, Puncheon for Ledley. The change worked well, more so as United were still trying to cope after having two forced injuries around the break.
Five minutes before half-time Shaw had gone off once again, this time for Evans. The big blow though was Rooney, without him who would be our leader on the pitch? For the first time in a long time no one out there stood out as a captain to me, Smalling was handed it but it could of quite easily gone to Jones or Evans.
With Selhurst Park now booming it wasn’t long until the equaliser and no surprise it was the sub Puncheon who got it. For the second week running we’d conceded from a free kick and a deflection off our own wall.
I don’t normally pick out individual performances as such in my match reports, but once again this season David De Gea deserves a special mention. No clean sheet but a couple of good saves that could of gone in if he wasn’t positioned correctly, along with one truly outstanding save.
Palace had kept the ball alive, United couldn’t clear their box and with quite a few bodies in there the ball landed at Glenn Murray’s feet. In no time at all De Gea came charging off his line towards Murray who was about eight yards out. De Gea spread himself, Murray read his body movement and dinged the ball wide of him towards goal. All the Palace fans behind that goal must have been ready to celebrate until De Gea’s right arm reached out and with a strong hand stopped it.
Relief for United. They’d weathered the storm and gradually came back into the game. Then twelve minutes from the end, Fellaini nodded in a Young cross and the victory was ours. In recent years we’ve been so reliant on our forwards scoring all the goals with the midfield hardly chipping in at all. This season so far, Fellaini and Herrera have seven each with Mata out on twelve. Along with a couple each for both Young and Blind.
If Chelsea hadn’t already clinched winning the Barclays Premier League then I’d be confident they’d win against Liverpool this afternoon. This then confirming United’s Champion League qualification, whether that be via a play off or not. I now just see Chelsea not wanting to lose this game and hopefully staying unbeaten at home all season. It has a draw written all over it, over to you Liverpool to prove me wrong.