Manchester United 0-0 Crystal Palace: Corner turned for Reds? Think again
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

Manchester United 0-0 Crystal Palace: Corner turned for Reds? Think again

Jose Mourinho's side created little against a team who have performed poorly this season. That's a common theme of this season and of this Mourinho side at Old Trafford.

harry-robinson
Harry Robinson

Faced with a mediocre Premier League side, Manchester United put in a mediocre performance against Crystal Palace in a 0-0 draw on Saturday afternoon.

If anyone thought Jose Mourinho's side had turned a corner, they'll be forced to re-think. This was a performance hardly deserving of a point, let alone three, let alone praise.

Both sides had goals disallowed for offside. The most exciting player on the pitch was ex-Man United man Wilfried Zaha, a game-changing player. Jose Mourinho watched on waiting for one of his many talented forwards to change the game. None did.

This was a must-win game for United as they seek to heave themselves up towards the top four. Palace have only beaten Huddersfield and Fulham so far this season. Still, United could hardly test Wayne Hennessey. 

Story of the match

Roy Hodgson's Palace have been immensely frustrated by their inability to score this season. They've been unfortunate with injuries, but the tale of their season continued at Old Trafford.

The Eagles could have easily taken all three points back to London.  Zaha was threatening from long range and tore United apart at times.

He teed up Patrick van Aanholt for a sitter halfway through the first period, but the Dutchman's shot dragged wide of the left post. Nemanja Matic had given possession away in the Palace half. He has been guilty of such a sin with such frequency this season that it's baffling how he remains in the United side ahead of £52 million summer signing Fred.

Pogba and Lingard had combined well at times before van Aanholt's chance. So too had Pogba and Martial, who saw the ball smothered by Hennessey in the Palace net when he received the ball in the six-yard box after five minutes. 

His France teammate Pogba saw a curling shot sail wide after Lingard had chested a Mata cross down in the penalty area with his back to goal.

United defender Chris Smalling didn't quite have the ability to push a header back across goal as he rose up at the left post to meet a free-kick from the right flank. Had he done, Hennessey would have been beaten. Lingard saw a first time finish from an Ashley Young cross saved by the Palace goalkeeper and the Welshman bounced straight back up to deny Martial's follow-up header.

Both teams could have been in front by the half-hour mark, but United's regular sloppiness began to show. A Pogba mistake is so often indicative of United's complacent approach to games such as these. With such great quality, Pogba miscontrolled the ball to let it go out for a throw-in and the groan around Old Trafford for that has been heard so many times in the last four seasons.

Before the break, a stray arm or a shoulder too far forward from Kouyate meant his header was ruled out for offside despite it nestling in the back of the net. It was marginal.

Palace continued their occasional threats after the break. United pushed heavily in the final moments, but Lukaku saw a goal ruled out for offside. It was the correct decision, but just like van Aanholt's in the first half, it was so tight.

Andros Townsend shrugged off a few United defenders in the box before missing the golden opportunity to give Hodgson a monumental victory.

United had won nine of their 10 games against Palace since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager. This is a poor Palace side, worse than some of the other versions of this team that previous United sides have faced. Yet they couldn't finish chances, they couldn't create, they couldn't avoid defensive lapses in concentration. A must-win game and a draw. Classic.

Takeaways from the match

Reds reliant on French duo
Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba both have their faults and fail to perform, sometimes. That does not, however, excuse Jose Mourinho's side's inability to create without the French pair being in form.

Pogba and Martial are the creators in the team, 

Captain out in the cold
With Luke Shaw ruled out of this game through suspension (after five yellow cards in the Premier League this season), it was thought that Man United's captain Antonio Valencia could return. Instead, Matteo Darmian came into the side, meaning it's now 53 days since Valencia played for the Reds.

It's a trait that used to make Arsenal a laughing stock: club captains playing once or twice a season. It's a trait that is indicative of United's acceptance of mediocrity and simultaneously representative of the dearth of leaders at Old Trafford.

Still no structure
Jose Mourinho's side constructed some nice moves at Old Trafford on Saturday, but there's no attacking structure to United. Every move is different; whatever the players fancy at that moment

Palace can't score

The Eagles had chances and they could have won. They didn't finish them, and it's no surprise given what we've seen this season.

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