Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United: Spirited Palace fall to another defeat
(GettyImages - Peter Cziborra)

Manchester United know that they only need two more wins to secure a UEFA Champions League spot after beating struggling Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Thursday evening.

VAR was at large once again in this fixture with Wilfried Zaha being the first victim to the controversial system. Victor Lindelof clipped the back of Zaha's legs but VAR was not chosen to be used.

Soon after, United grabbed an undeserved lead through Marcus Rashford on the stroke of half-time who sent Joel Ward and Vicente Guaita the wrong way to slot home.

The Eagles then had a goal disallowed just after the break with Jordan Ayew deemed to be offside. United took advantage of that decision in the 78th minute when Rashford smartly found Anthony Martial to slot home and end all hopes of a comeback for Palace.

  • Story of the Match

Palace started the brighter of the two teams and got the first shot on target when Zaha stung the palms of David de Gea early on. The hosts looked likely to score first in the first half and had a penalty controversially ruled out.

Lindelof appeared to clip the back of Zaha's legs and get the ball at the same time but the referee thought nothing of it. This decision swayed the momentum a little bit and United went ahead just before the end of the first half.

Star signing Bruno Fernandes slipped in Rashford who evaded a challenge from Patrick Van Aanholt and left Ward and Guaita on the floor before slotting into a partially empty net to give United the advantage going into the break.

Palace began where they left off in the second half and had thought to have equalised when Zaha hit a low cross towards the back post for Ayew to slide home. Consultation with VAR ruled it out for offside much to the bewilderment of Palace.

The disallowed goal took the wind out of the Eagles' sails and United killed the game off with 12 mins to go. Fernandes yet again started the move and Rashford played a one-two with Martial and the Frenchman finished smartly past Guaita.

  • Key takeaways

United ramp up the pressure on Chelsea and Leicester City

United are level on points with Leicester City who are only higher on goal difference. Leicester play United in the last game of the season that could prove pivotal in the race for the top-four.

Leicester got a good win against Sheffield United on Thursday evening but they will have to win their games against Tottenham Hotspur and United to stand any chance of getting into the Champions League.

Chelsea are in third but they are just one point above United and Leicester. United are undoubtedly in the best form out of the three teams and they will have to do really well to deny United a place in the top-four.

Can Tyrick Mitchell fill the void of Van Aanholt?

Van Aanholt went off with a serious injury right after Martial's goal in the 78th minute. His awkward landing will most likely rule him out for the rest of the season but there is a positive for Palace.

Academy graduate Tyrick Mitchell came on and looked very impressive in his short time on the pitch. He has also featured against Leicester and could prove a worthy replacement in their final two games.

Roy Hodgson did well with Aaron Wan-Bissaka when he was at Palace and he has gone on to become a regular first-team member of the United first-team.

Palace can look at that as inspiration and put their full trust in the young man hoping that he can do a great job in place of the Dutchman.

  • Up Next?

The Eagles finish their season with an away game to Wolves on Monday night and Tottenham on the following Sunday afternoon at home. 

United are in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Sunday. After that, they face West Ham at home and Leicester away in their final two Premier League games.

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