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Manchester United 14 points behind City after dour draw at Crystal Palace | Premier League

Ole Gunnar Solskjær have to be questioning the place all of the objectives have gone. A 3rd successive goalless draw could have prolonged Manchester United’s unbeaten away document to 21 Premier League matches however one other timid efficiency that yielded one shot on the right track regardless of an array of expertise on show was additional proof that the supervisor nonetheless has loads of work to do.

Now 14 points behind their neighbours as Manchester City’s procession to a 3rd league title in 4 years continues, United laboured in assault all through towards opponents who’re made within the picture of their supervisor, Roy Hodgson. It was one other triumph of defensive organisation for Palace and there was little doubt who left the dugout in a greater temper at the ultimate whistle, with Sunday’s Manchester derby now looming giant.

Solskjær revealed earlier than kick-off that David de Gea’s absence from the matchday squad was on account of “private causes” as Dean Henderson made solely his third league begin of the season – certainly one of 4 adjustments from the facet that drew with Chelsea on Sunday. With Edinson Cavani spearheading an attacking formation that additionally featured a surprisingly subdued Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, it was clear United wished to make up for the Stamford Bridge stalemate. Leicester’s draw at Burnley earlier on supplied additional incentive for United to cement themselves in second spot, even when they know they stand little likelihood of catching City regardless of the outcome at the weekend.

Palace had managed solely six photographs of their previous two matches but nonetheless picked up 4 points in the direction of their bid to outlive for an additional season regardless of the absence of Wilfried Zaha. The Ivory Coast worldwide was deemed not match sufficient to return towards his former membership having scored twice in Palace’s 3-1 victory at Outdated Trafford earlier within the season however Hodgson’s facet have now gone three matches unbeaten with out their talisman. The supervisor made one change from the facet that began the 0-0 draw with Fulham right here on Sunday and it was the hosts who made the extra spectacular begin on a misty night in south London that should have made it arduous for United’s gamers sporting their black and white ‘Zebra’ third package.

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It was a misty evening at Selhurst Park.(*14*)
It was a misty night at Selhurst Park. {Photograph}: Tom Jenkins/NMC Pool/The Guardian

A mistake from Harry Maguire virtually resulted in one other Christian Benteke surprise objective after he was picked out by Andros Townsend however this time the Belgian striker’s effort sailed excessive into the Sainsbury’s Finish. It took a spectacular save from Vicente Guaita to maintain out a shot from Nemanja Matic after it deflected wickedly off James McCarthy, with the Spaniard at full stretch to tip the ball over the bar. Cavani ought to have scored from the ensuing nook after a goalbound header struck Rashford and fell at his toes . Rashford additionally handed up a superb alternative moments later.

Greenwood was subsequent to strive his luck with a shot that deflected broad as United started to dominate possession and territory however Palace additionally seemed threatening when Eberechi Eze or Jordan Ayew had the ball at their toes in superior positions.

United have solely been forward at half-time in six Premier League matches to date this season however Cavani virtually made it seven when an excellent cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka towards his former membership was intercepted at the final second by Joel Ward.

Palace, who knew {that a} victory would transfer them above Leeds into eleventh spot, had been as soon as once more quickest out of the blocks within the second half as one other acrobatic effort from Benteke deflected over for a comer earlier than Ayew stung Henderson’s gloves with a strong shot from simply inside the realm. Hodgson had made clear his unhappiness that this sport was “thrusted” upon his gamers after it was introduced ahead from later within the month to permit United to play their FA Cup quarter-final towards Leicester on 21 March as an alternative. But in the event that they had been feeling the exertions of the backs-to-the-wall performances of their previous two matches, Palace actually didn’t present it.

A volley from Townsend that bobbled simply broad of the put up was one other warning shot for United as they as soon as extra struggled to search out any attacking rhythm. “Transfer the ball. Facet to facet,” bellowed a pissed off Solskjær as one other transfer broke down on the sting of Palace’s field. A heated change between Rashford and Maguire after the ahead was caught offside confirmed pressure was mounting.

It was not till the substitute Daniel James noticed his header deflected over the bar by Patrick van Aanholt that United even seemed like scoring. Greenwood’s effort from simply outdoors the realm that flew narrowly over the bar because the fog descended shortly was the closest they got here, with Van Aanholt then failing to take an opportunity that will have given Palace their first residence victory over United within the Premier League, at the twelfth try, because of Henderson’s save. Solskjær ought to in all probability be glad about small mercies.

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