Crystal Palace 0-2 Man Utd: Red Devils boost top-four bid
Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United: Red Devils beat Roy Hodgson’s side to boost top-four bid at Selhurst Park.
Marcus Rashford’s controversial but classy first-half goal left Palace aggrieved after Wilfred Zaha appeared to be brought down by Victor Lindelof in the area just two minutes earlier before Anthony Martial’s second-half strike sealed the match.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah was brought into the side for his first appearance since 2017 with Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw out injured, while Scott McTominay replaced Nemanja Matic in midfield as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted for changes to his starting XI for the first time in six games.
Andros Townsend replaced the suspended Christian Benteke in a Palace side who have fallen to five consecutive defeats, while James McCarhur replaced Cheikhou Kouyate in midfield in two changes for Roy Hodgson.
Palace called for a penalty minutes before the break and perhaps rightly so. Both Zaha and Victor Lindelof hit the deck after a clash of legs, with replays showing the United man got no contact on the ball.
A moment of brilliance from Rashford saw the visitors take the lead just two minutes later, however. The striker broke through the Palace backline before a Cruyff turn fooled two Palace defenders and the goalkeeper before he cooley slotted home into a half-empty net.
Palace thought they’d equalised 10 minutes into the second half, Jordan Ayew tapping home after Zaha brilliantly beat Aaron Wan-Bissaka with a stepover to fire in a perfectly aimed low cross. VAR found the striker to have been marginally offside, however.
A flowing United attack saw off a spirited Palace side with 12 minutes remaining. Bruno Fernandes – a constant threat throughout – found Rashford with a delightful nutmegged pass, who in turn threaded in Martial to open up his body and fire into the far corner.
Palace was dealt a further blow, with Patrick Van Aanholt stretched requiring oxygen after falling awkwardly on his shoulder following an accidental collision with Martial in the build-up to the goal, with United subsequently cruising to the win.
A vital three points keep United’s Champions League aspirations alive after both Chelsea and Leicester secured wins of their own. They remain in fifth place, level on points with Leicester City and just two behind Chelsea – who they face in an FA Cup semi-final clash on Sunday.
Palace produced a gutsy display but ultimately fell to a sixth successive defeat in what has been a troublesome restart to Premier League action. They sit in 14th place with neither a top-half finish nor relegation on the cards.