5 things we learned from Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United

Rashford screaming after goal
Rashford screaming after goal against Crystal Palace and has finally found much needed consistency. (Image from Getty Images)

Summary:

It was a roller coaster ride as Manchester United emerged victorious over Crystal Palace by two goals to nil. The match was a test for the Red Devils as they had to play without a proper left-back in the lineup as Timothy Fosu-Mensah operated as a stand-in left back with Shaw and Williams both injured. Eagles started the game excellently and kept De Gea on his toes throughout the match, but at the end of the first half, it was Marcus Rashford who opened the scoring with a brilliant goal showcasing fantastic composure on the ball. The second half felt similar, but then a sharp counter-attack saw Anthony Martial slotting in the second goal of the game to put it to bed.

Here are 5 things we learned from our game at the Selhurst Park –

1. No Luke Shaw, no party

Luke Shaw was absent from the game due to an ankle injury, and we got to know why he’s an absolute necessity for the squad. I’m not saying Timothy Fosu Mensah played awfully. He did the job when needed, but Shaw is a much better player who covers the defensive as well as the offensive part of the left back position with ease. He offers a lot more in attack as well as defence and he was missed yesterday night.

2. Dalot falling out of favor at Manchester United

While Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams missed out on the game due to injuries, it was expected that Ole Gunnar Solksjaer might start the Portuguese fullback in their place. But as fate would have it, Dalot was nowhere to be seen and was instead benched for Fosu-Mensah. This speaks a lot about the faith gaffer has in him, and sadly enough, his days at United look numbered now. He was brought in during the summer transfer window of 2018 under the manager Jose Mourinho and is reportedly on his way out to either PSG or Dortmund. 

3. Marcus Rashford evolving as a more complete player

Marcus Rashford had an excellent game against the Eagles, where he was involved in both the goals of the night. He scored one and set up another for Martial to hand Manchester United with 3 points. It has been evident since his return from the injury, he has changed his playing style a lot. He now likes to get involved a lot more in the game and make passes that create chances for his teammates. His post-lockdown form has shown better vision, composure, and passing, making him a more complete player than he ever was. This visual sums it up perfectly -


4. Manchester United out of squad depth for FA Cup tie against Chelsea.

While the Red Devils clinched a victory yesterday night, it remains to be seen what plans have they got against Chelsea on Sunday in the crucial FA Cup tie. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Paul Pogba for the whole game. Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that they’ll feature in the starting lineup, leaving us to rely on a shaky defensc and a fatigued or inconsistent attacking unit. Maybe it’s a sign that we are prioritizing the Champions League over a domestic cup.

5. VAR is highly inconsistent and needs a change next season

VAR needs to go. Period. Although the technology was brought into the game for the greater good, it rarely serves that purpose. Be it the foul against Mason Greenwood in the match against Saints, or Rashford’s goal against the Cherries, decisions don’t seem to be fair, and this was witnessed last night as well, luckily in our favor. 

Jordan Ayew’s goal was denied due to his toe in an offside position, and Eagles were also denied a penalty when Wilfried Zaha was brought down by Victor Lindelof. The system is in dire need of being more consistent and efficient, and needs to be sorted out next season.

Conclusion:

The game got harder than it was supposed to be due to injuries and fatigue, but the Red Devils managed it excellently. Credit has to be given to Ole Gunnar Solksjaer for making the right decisions to extend Manchester United's unbeaten run to 19 games and get 3 crucial points to keep hopes alive for the Champions League spot. If the team maintains this form alongside replenishing the squad with some depth, we might challenge for the title next season and get back the long lost glory days.

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