United 1 - 0 Crystal Palace
Valencia Blind McNair(Fletcher) Shaw
Januzaj(Mata) Carrick Fellaini DiMaria(Wilson)
United dominated the game but did nothing extraordinary. The game was always in our hands from start to finish but we couldn't trouble Palace's goalie. We attempted 23 shots but only 5 were on target. Apart from the goal, there was only one shot that really troubled their goalkeeper and another that hit the post. Fellaini also had a header cleared off the line. If we had those chances vs a top four team I wouldn't be complaining but we were playing a team that is 17th in the league.
Having said that, Palace made it very difficult for us to have a proper sniff at goal as they parked the bus from the first whistle. Their game plan was to defend with a lot of men behind the ball and hope for a mistake by United's defenders. That mistake did happen as McNair and Blind left the ball for each other late in the first half but Campbell shot wide from an ideal position. Phew. De Gea only had one shot to save, if you can call it a shot.
I am quite please with Shaw, McNair, Carrick and Rooney. Shaw had a very good game, McNair defended well and looked good going forward, Carrick was calm and passed the ball excellently while Rooney was all over the place working very hard. Mata was obviously my man of the match because he scored the winner and almost got another but his shot hit the post. I think Mata is a good player to come off the bench but I'm still not entirely sure whether he's a good enough player to start matches in the Premier League. After Mata's substitution, Rooney had to go to the middle of the park and then to left midfield. If I had to choose who'd start off the striker between Roo and Mata, I'd choose Rooney all day.
Di Maria, Januzaj and van Persie disappointed me immensely. Di Maria looked uninterested and, believe me, I'm not saying this because I read Scholes' comments the other day. But he really looked like he was not enjoying himself playing. Obviously, that may have been because he knew he was absolutely shit today and was disappointed with himself. A player of Di Maria's quality should be running circles around these Crystal Palace players who are, as the table suggests, average at best. On the other side, Januzaj couldn't really trouble Joel Ward as he was outpowered by Palace's defender. RVP looked totally off the pace and missed an easy chance to put the game to bed. Wilson should get a look in if RVP's keeps this form. Our academy graduate played for a few minutes but he looked very lively.
So it's another international break, just in time to get some injured players back to full fitness. We'll then be facing Arsenal at the Emirates in a game that is a must win if we intend to keep close to that fourth spot. Come on United!