Saturday, September 30, 2017 3:00 PM
Sir Matt Busby Way, Central, Manchester, M16 0RA, United Kingdom
Homeground of Manchester United
Manchester United 4 Crystal Palace 0
Match Report - 30th September 2017
This was a match which highlighted the gulf between teams at either end of the Premiership. Both were hit by injuries, notably the Manchester stalwart, Paul Pogba, while Palace were without regular players, Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha. However, United could still command a domineering performance, sweeping aside their demoralised opponents, leaving them languishing at the foot of the table without points or goals, while they gained the top spot over their rivals Manchester City.
United were in fine form from the start as they chased their seventh win in as many matches. After only three minutes, Spaniard, Juan Mata, marked his 200th league appearance by scoring his first goal for seven months. Marcus Rashford, United's rising young star, had outpaced Joel Ward on the left before slotting the ball back to Mata who found the back of the net with a decisive left foot shot from a range of 12 yards.
Manchester's pace subsequently slowed enough to give Palace a run of the play, resulting in several corners for the Eagles. Bakary Sako, deputising out of position for the injured Benteke, had Palace's best chance to draw level, but saw his determined shot palmed away by the United goalkeeper David de Gea.
Then on the 35th minute, Manchester overturned Palace's brief advantage by scoring their second goal. Out on the left side of the pitch, former Aston Villa winger, Ashley Young, crossed perfectly leaving Marouane Fellaini to volley the ball home inside the far post. The last ten minutes before the half time whistle witnessed a resurgent Manchester piling the pressure on Palace's beleaguered goalkeeper, Wayne Hennessey. United defender, Chris Smalling had a header fly just wide of the goal before Hennessey made a magnificent save from Rashford near the post.
Half-Time Score: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0
Manchester began the second half in the same determined manner and were rewarded with their third goal just four minutes later. Referee Mike Dean had awarded United a free kick on the left following a foul on Young by Luka Miliavojevic. Rashford launched his free kick into the box with pin-point accuracy leaving Fellaini to guide the ball in with a glancing header from just two yards out. As Belgian Fellaini celebrated his second goal with the Old Trafford faithful, its hard to believe that just a year ago the afro-haired striker was so seriously out of favour.
In a late burst of energy, Crystal Palace made attempts to salvage a goal with Jeffrey Schlupp visibly annoyed to be denied a penalty after being brought down by Smalling. Play then veered to the other end of the pitch with Hennessey saving a shot from Young, followed by a poorly aimed shot from Romalu Lukaku that went wide of the mark.
Crystal Palace's best chance of finding the net in the second half fell to Andros Townsend whose free kick was just inches wide. Manchester's Anthony Martial, who had come on as a substitute for Rashford in the 71st minute, came close to scoring, but his determined shot was saved by Hennessey.
Then in the 86th minute, United sealed Palace's fate with a fourth goal, courtesy of Lukaku. Substitute Herrera, who had only been on the pitch for nine minutes, initially created the opportunity by setting up Martial to provide Lukaku with an easy shot from six yards.
Manchester's manager, Jose Mourinho applauded Palace's efforts, while Roy Hodgson blamed his team's losing form on a catalogue of injuries. Once again, the strength of United's squad made all the difference.